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  • Author or Editor: Umberto Ziliotto x
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Winter dormancy is the main impediment to a wide acceptance of warm-season turfgrasses in the Mediterranean countries of Europe due to a loss of color during the winter months. Scalping during late winter or early spring has been recommended anecdotally to enhance spring green-up of bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon); however, information is lacking on the effectiveness of this practice. A study was conducted to investigate the effects of spring scalping on spring green-up of eight bermudagrass cultivars (Barbados, Contessa, La Paloma, Mohawk, NuMex Sahara, Princess-77, SR 9554, and Yukon) grown in a transition zone environment. The trial was carried out in Spring of 2009 and 2010 on plots established in July 2005 at the experimental farm of the University of Padova (northeastern Italy). Half of the plots for each cultivar were subjected to spring scalping, which was applied in both years on 13 Mar. with a rotary mower set at a height of 28 mm. Soil temperatures were recorded hourly during the research period at a depth of 2.5 cm. The percentage of green cover was estimated weekly from 0 to 98 days after spring scalping (DASS). Soil temperatures in scalped plots were greater than in unscalped plots. Among the cultivars tested, ‘Yukon’ showed earliest spring green-up, with no difference between the scalping treatments, reaching 80% green cover by the end of April. For all other cultivars, scalped plots reached 80% green cover 10 to 18 days earlier than unscalped plots. Results showed that scalping enhanced spring green-up, primarily for cultivars that recover slowly from winter dormancy.

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Warm-season grasses are not widely accepted in Mediterranean countries because they lose color during the winter months. A study was conducted at the University of Padova (Padova, Italy) to determine whether fall and spring water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) content in stolons of seeded bermudagrass cultivars (Cynodon dactylon) influenced spring green-up in the first year of establishment. Nine bermudagrass cultivars (La Paloma, Mohawk, NuMex Sahara, Princess 77, Riviera, SR 9554, Barbados, Contessa, and Yukon) were seeded in July 2005, and dry weight and WSC content in stolons were measured in Fall 2005 and again in Spring 2006. The percentage of green cover and days needed to achieve 80% green cover (D80) were regressed against November and March values of stolon dry weight and WSC content to determine if they were good predictors of D80. ‘Yukon’ showed earliest spring green-up by end of April, and ‘Princess 77’ and ‘Riviera’ were slowest, needing 43 to 46 days more than ‘Yukon’ to reach D80. There was a significant inverse relationship between November (r2 = 0.57) and March (r2 = 0.77) WSC content in stolons and D80 for all nine bermudagrass cultivars. These results suggest that bermudagrass cultivars with high WSC in stolons recover more rapidly from dormancy during establishment than those with low WSC content.

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