Spent mushroom substrate (SMS) is used by the turf industry in the northeastern United States for soil improvement. When tilled into soil at high rates, some turfgrass managers claim that SMS inhibits turf seed germination. The authors’ objectives were 1) to determine whether fresh SMS inhibits turf seed germination and, if so, which species are most adversely affected; 2) to evaluate whether any inhibition incited by SMS is the result of osmotic effects or toxicity of compounds in SMS extracts; 3) to determine whether any negative effect of SMS on germination can be eliminated by leaching the SMS-amended soil before seeding; and 4) to assess the performance of SMS on seedling emergence in the field. Germination of nine turfgrass species was evaluated in mixtures made from fresh SMS (electrical conductivity of saturated paste extract = 11.9 dS·m−1) and a loamy sand soil. Germination inhibition resulting from SMS was most pronounced in the following order: Colonial bentgrass (Agrostis capillaris L.) > sheep fescue [Festuca ovina L. ssp. hirtula (Hackel ex Travis) Wilkinson] > Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) > hard fescue [Festuca trachyphylla (Hackel) Krajina] > creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) > chewings fescue [Festuca rubra L. sp. commutata (Thuill.) Nyman] = strong creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra L. ssp. rubra Gaud.) > slender creeping red fescue [Festuca rubra L. sp. litoralis (Meyer) Auquier] > perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). SMS had a stronger negative effect on germination rates than on final germination percentages. Germination of perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass on blotter paper moistened with SMS extracts or polyethylene glycol of equivalent osmotic potentials showed that the inhibition was primarily the result of osmotic effects. In an experiment with a 50% soil/50% SMS (v/v) mixture, Kentucky bluegrass germinated better in pots that had been watered with 133% or 167% of the evaporation rate for 10 days prior to seeding than in unleached pots. Although the negative effect of SMS on seed germination was not confirmed in a field study in which ECe values never exceeded 4.1 dS·m−1, the authors conclude that incorporation of high rates of SMS represents a potential problem for turfgrass establishment.
Trygve S. Aamlid and Peter J. Landschoot
Tatsiana Espevig, Chenping Xu, Trygve S. Aamlid, Michelle DaCosta and Bingru Huang
Cold acclimation improves freezing tolerance in various plants, including perennial grass species. The objectives of this study were to determine protein changes in crowns of velvet bentgrass (Agrostis canina) during cold acclimation in association with freezing tolerance. Treatments consisted of: 1) nonacclimated (NA) plants maintained at 18/12 °C (day/night); 2) plants acclimated at a constant 2 °C for 4 weeks with a 10-hour photoperiod [A4 (cold acclimation)]; and 3) plants acclimated at a constant 2 °C for 4 weeks with additional subzero acclimation (SZA) at a constant –2 °C for 2 weeks (A4 + SZA2). Exposing plants to A4 significantly increased freezing tolerance, but additional SZA had no further beneficial effects on freezing tolerance, as demonstrated by the lethal temperature for 50% of the test population (LT50). Thirteen protein spots with increased abundance (up-regulated) or with decreased abundance (down-regulated) during cold acclimation were identified for biological functions. Proteins up-regulated after cold acclimation (A4 or A4 + SZA2) included methionine synthase, serine hydroxymethyltransferase, aconitase, UDP-D-glucuronate decarboxylase, and putative glycine-rich protein. Cold acclimation-responsive proteins involved in amino acid metabolism, energy production, stress defense, and secondary metabolism could contribute to the improved freezing tolerance induced by cold acclimation in velvet bentgrass.