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- Author or Editor: Shuhao Yu x
Bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.) is one of the most commonly used warm-season turfgrasses in the southern areas and transition zone of the United States. Due to the increasing demand for water resources and periodic drought, it is important to improve the drought resistance of bermudagrass for water savings and persistence under drought stress. This study was conducted to determine whether experimental bermudagrass genotypes have improved drought resistance compared with the standard cultivars Tifway and Riley’s Super Sport (Celebration®) at Stillwater, OK. The trials were designed as randomized complete blocks with four replications in Expt. I and three replications in Expt. II. In each experiment, genotypes were subjected to progressive acute drought conditions using polyethylene waterproof tarps to exclude precipitation over a period of at least 72 d. Bermudagrass entries were evaluated for turfgrass quality, leaf firing, normalized difference vegetation index, and live green cover at least once each week during the dry-down. Substantial drought response variations were found in this study, and all parameters were positively and highly correlated. A turf performance index (TPI) was assembled based on the number of times an entry ranked in the top statistical group across all testing parameters on each date. ‘DT-1’ (TifTuf®) and OSU1221 had the top TPI in both experiments. Most of bermudagrass experimental genotypes had equal or greater TPI than the standard Tifway, showing improved drought resistance through breeding effects. The identification of superior drought resistance experimental genotypes provided useful information to breeders on cultivar release.
Suitable tensile strength is essential for sod harvest, transport, and installation. Thirty-nine bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.) entries were evaluated for sod handling quality (SHQ) and sod tensile strength (STS) during 2014–15. The SHQ (a discontinuous qualitative parameter) was evaluated using a 1 to 5 scale with 1 = complete pad separation during handling and 5 = no cracking or separation in the sod pad with excellent quality. The STS (a quantitative parameter) was determined using the force required to shear/separate the sod pad. Sod harvests were conducted at 14, 22, and 24 months after planting (MAP). The entry, harvest date, and their interaction affected STS and SHQ. Entries OKC 1302 and 12-TSB-1 had greater STS than ‘Patriot’ but less STS than ‘Latitude 36’, ‘Tifway’, ‘Astro’, and ‘TifGrand’. The seeded entry PST-R6T9S had the lowest STS and SHQ. The overall mean STS and SHQ were lowest at 22 MAP, which could be attributed to the slow recovery of the entries after Winter 2014. A strong positive correlation (r = 0.92) between STS and SHQ suggests that SHQ can be used as a rapid field method to estimate suitability for sod harvest. A predictive linear relationship between overall STS and overall SHQ (r 2 = 0.85) found predicted STS values of 8.5, 22.6, 36.8, and 51.0 kg⋅dm–2 for overall mean SHQ ratings of 2, 3, 4, and 5, respectively. The results of this work will help sod producers in cultivar selection and will aid breeders in making commercialization decisions.