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F.P. Maier, N.S. Lang, and J.D. Fry

Stolons of `Raleigh', `Floratam', and FX-332 St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze] were sampled from the field between October and March in two consecutive years to evaluate accuracy of an electrolyte leakage (EL) method for predicting freezing tolerance. Lethal temperatures of stolons estimated using EL were compared to those obtained by regrowth tests in the greenhouse. Mean lethal low temperatures for regrowth and EL methods over 12 sampling dates were `Floratam', –4.5C (regrowth) vs. –4.4C (EL); FX-332, –4.2C (regrowth) vs. –4.9C (EL); and `Raleigh', –6.0C (regrowth) vs. –5.4C (EL). A positive correlation (r = 0.81) was observed between EL-predicted and regrowth lethal temperatures for `Raleigh', which exhibited some acclimation during the first sampling year. The EL technique consistently predicted a lower lethal temperature for `Raleigh' than for `Floratam', which corroborates field observations concerning freezing tolerance of these two cultivars.

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H.W. Philley, C.E. Watson Jr., J.V. Krans, J.M. Goatley Jr., and F.B. Matta

The objective of this study was to relate the lethal freezing temperatures of St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze] genotypes, as measured by differential thermal analysis (DTA), to winter survival observed in the field. DTA-predicted lethal temperatures of 14 St. Augustinegrass genotypes ranged from –7.7 to –4.7C. Regression of field winter survival vs. DTA-predicted lethal temperatures resulted in an r 2 = 0.57 for one field trial that evaluated cultivars with a relatively narrow range of expected freezing tolerance. In a second study evaluating cultivars with a greater range of freezing tolerance, r 2 was 0.92 when winter survival was regressed on DTA-predicted lethal temperatures. DTA was successful in measuring freezing avoidance of St. Augustinegrass cultivars.

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Philip Busey

St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze] has low freezing tolerance and suffers winter injury in the southeastern United States. Laboratory methods have determined that the lethal cold temperature of St. Augustinegrass stolons and buds is between -4.5 °C and -7.7 °C. The field survival of St. Augustinegrass to winter freezing is poorly known because most field reports have been based on a single location experiencing a single winter minimum air temperature. The objective of the study was to assess the winter survival of St. Augustinegrass cultivars across a range of winter minimum air temperatures occurring in experimental plantings at 24 Florida counties, following a severe Arctic cold front that moved through Florida beginning 21 Dec. 1989. Except for two counties, the limit for St. Augustinegrass winter survival was a minimum air temperature between -6 °C and -9 °C. Based on a nonlinear estimate using a 3-parameter sigmoidal model (r 2 = 0.70, P < 0.0001), 50% survival of St. Augustinegrass would be predicted at -7.9 °C. Time since planting had no relationship with survival. Differences among St. Augustinegrass cultivars were observed at only two counties.

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Robert L. Green, Ki S. Kim, and James B. Beard

The objective of this study was to determine the effects of two plant growth regulators (PGR) and two soil moisture levels (SML) on the evapotranspiration (ET) rate, leaf extension rate (LER), and visual turfgrass quality of `Texas Common' St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze] grown under glasshouse conditions in black plastic minilysimeters. Treatments included mefluidide at 0.42 kg·ha-1, flurprimidol at 0.84 kg·ha-1, and no PGR, each grown under optimal (– 0.01 MPa) or suboptimal (– 0.8 MPa) SML. Both flurprimidol and mefluidide significantly affected ET rate, LER, and turfgrass quality, whereas the durations of the responses to both PGR treatments were affected by SML. For both SML, the durations of significant reduction in ET rate, LER, and turfgrass quality were longer for flurprimidol than for mefluidide. Application of either PGR at either SML caused a significant reduction in ET rate averaging 18% and a significant reduction in LER averaging 83%. Flurprimidol was more effective than metluidide in terms of ET rate and LER reduction. However, the considerably longer duration of reduced turfgrass quality of flurprimidol-treated turf was a negative effect. Chemical names used: α-(1 -methylethyl)- α -[4-trifluoromethoxy)phenyl]-5-pyrimidinemethanol (flurprimidol) and N- [2,4-dimethyl-5-[[(trifluoromethyl) sulfonyl]amino]phenyI] acetamide (mefluidide).

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John L. Cisar and George H. Snyder

The objective of this experiment was to determine the suitability of a compost obtained from a commercially available solid-waste processing plant for sod production when placed over a plastic barrier. Comparisons were made between compost-grown sod with and without fertilizer and between compost-grown sod and commercially grown sod. Six weeks after seeding or sprigging, both fertilized and nonfertilized compost-grown `Argentine' bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge), `Tifway' bermudagrass (Cynodon transvaalensis × C. dactylon), and `Floratam' St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze.] had discolored leaf blade tissue and poor growth. At 6 weeks, bahiagrass leaf tissue had a low N concentration, which suggested that the compost immobilized fertilizer N. Additionally, initial high salinity of the compost (2.85 dS·m-1) may have contributed to turf discoloration and lack of vigor. However, poor growth and discoloration were temporary. At 3 and 5 months, fertilized compost-grown turfgrasses had higher quality and coverage than nonfertilized sod. At 5 months, fertilized sod had sufficient coverage for harvest, whereas for conventional field production 9 to 24 months generally is required to produce a harvestable product. Compost-grown sod pieces had similar or higher tear resistance than commercially grown sod. One and 3 weeks after transplanting on a sand soil, compost-grown sod produced higher root weight and longer roots in the underlying soil than did commercially grown sod. The solid-waste compost used in this study offers a viable alternative material for producing sod that will benefit solid-waste recycling efforts.

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Philip Busey

St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze] is host to the southern chinch bug (SCB) (Blissus insularis Barber). This study evaluated and compared field and laboratory resistance of St. Augustinegrass germplasm to the SCB. Turf field plots of 20 St. Augustinegrass genotypes were monitored monthly for 2 years for damage by the SCB. After each occurrence of damage, plots were treated individually with an insecticide and allowed to become damaged again. Genotypes differed in frequency of damage, which varied from 1.02 occurrences per year for FX-22 and FX-338 to zero occurrences per year for `Floratam'. During the next 2 years when no insecticide was applied, the portion of dead canopy varied from 86% for FX-313 to 0% for `Floratam'. In a second field experiment, SCB damage was evaluated in 10 polyploid St. Augustinegrass genotypes. Damage varied from 90% for `Bitterblue' to 0% for `FX-10'. Oviposition rate was determined from SCB confined in the laboratory on genotypes from both field experiments. Oviposition rate differed among genotypes and predicted (P < 0.01; r 2 = 0.67 to 0.79) field damage. To my knowledge, this paper is the first to report field resistance to the SCB in St. Augustinegrass, validating the use of laboratory bioassays.

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Y.L. Qian and M.C. Engelke

Determining the appropriate level of irrigation for turfgrasses is vital to the health of the turfgrass and the conservation of water. The linear gradient irrigation system (LGIS) allows long-term assessment of turf performance under continuous irrigation gradients from excess to no irrigation. The objectives of this study were to: 1) evaluate the minimum irrigation requirements and relative drought resistance of `Rebel II' tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), `Meyer' zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.), `Tifway' bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.], `Prairie' buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm], and `Nortam' St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze]; and 2) evaluate the long-term effects of irrigation levels on turf persistence, weed invasion, and disease incidence for the five selected turfgrasses under field conditions. Turf was sodded under LGIS with an irrigation gradient ranging from 120% Class A pan evaporation (Ep) to natural precipitation, along a 20-m turf area. Evaluation during the summers of 1993–96 indicated that grasses differed in drought resistance and persistence under variable irrigation regimes. Irrigation (Ep) required to maintain acceptable turf quality for respective grasses was `Rebel II' (67%), `Meyer' (68%), `Nortam' (44%), `Tifway' (35%), and `Prairie' (26%). Higher dollar spot (Sclerotinia homoeocarpa Bennett) infection was observed at 115% Ep irrigation regime in `Tifway' bermudagrass, whereas gray leaf spot [Pyricularia grisea (Hebert) Barr] was observed only at 10% Ep irrigation regime in St. Augustinegrass plots. An outbreak of brown patch (Rhizoctonia solani Kuehn.) occurred in Sept. 1996 in St. Augustinegrass plots receiving irrigation at >80% Ep.

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Nancy E. Roe, Peter J. Stoffella, and Herbert H. Bryan

Increasing disposal problems with polyethylene (PL) mulch and greater availability of compost prompted an investigation into the effects of using compost as a mulch on horizontal raised bed surfaces with living mulches (LMs) on vertical surfaces. Wood chips (WC), sewage sludge-yard trimming (SY) compost, and municipal solid waste (MW) compost were applied at 224 t·ha-1 on bed surfaces. Sod strips of `Jade' (JD) or `Floratam' (FT) St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum Kuntze) or perennial peanut (Arachis glabrata Benth.) (PP) or seeds of a small, seed-propagated forage peanut (Arachis sp.) (SP) were established on the vertical sides of the raised beds before transplanting bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) into the beds. Phytophthora capsici reduced pepper plant stand in PL-mulched plots compared with organic mulch (OM) and LM. Despite the stand reduction, total pepper yields were highest in PL plots and, in the OM plots, decreased in the order SY > MW > WC. Early fruit yields and yield per plant were highest from plants in PL plots followed by SY. Among LMs, plants in SP plots produced highest early yields and FT produced the lowest. Plants in PL plots produced the largest fruit. When the same plots were seeded with winter (butternut) squash (Cucurbita pepo L.), plant stands were higher in MW than WC and SY. Squash yields were similar between PL and OM plots.

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Philip Busey

St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze] is less drought-resistant than other C4 grasses and frequently requires irrigation in lawns. The objectives of this study were to search for St. Augustinegrass germplasm having little wilting and to determine if minimal wilting under drought is associated with reduced canopy loss. St. Augustinegrass cultivars and breeding lines, representing polyploids (2n = 27 to 32) and diploids (2n = 18), were grown in sand soil and exposed to irrigation suspensions during seasonal droughts in three experiments. In the first experiment, during brief (3 to 14 day) irrigation suspensions, wilted area over 3 years was significantly less for polyploids (6% of canopy) than for diploids (23%). In the second experiment, during a permanent irrigation suspension, frequency of wilt was highest for diploids (57%), least for African polyploids (27%), and intermediate (53%) for other polyploids. When rain resumed after 41 days of drought, allowing refoliation, canopy loss was 51%, 4%, and 47% for diploids, African polyploids, and other polyploids, respectively. In the third experiment, during a permanent irrigation suspension, wilted area was 33% for `Jade,' a diploid, which was more (P ≤ 0.05) than for the polyploid `FX-10,' with a wilted area of 20%. `Floratam' and `Bitterblue' were intermediate in wilted area, 28% and 25%, respectively. When rain resumed after 18 days of drought, canopy loss was 58% and 56% for `Jade' and `Bitterblue,' respectively, which was more than for `Floratam' and `FX-10,' 11% and 6%. Following permanent irrigation suspensions, canopy loss was closely associated with wilting, r 2 = 0.88 and 0.94 by the Gompertz nonlinear model. Because the sand soil had low water-holding capacity, the wet subsoil and shallow (1.35 m deep) water table may have been a source of water. Wilt-avoidant St. Augustinegrass may help reduce turfgrass water use.

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R.L. Green, R.C. Hartwig, W.E. Richie, R.H. Loeppert, and J.B. Beard

Iron-deficiency (Fe-deficiency) stress, characterized by chlorosis of leaf tissue, is a major limiting factor in turfgrass production on calcareous soils. The objectives of this study were to: 1) evaluate ferrihydrite-amended growth media and the threshold amount of Fe initially added for use in a whole-plant screening procedure for selecting cultivars that are tolerant to Fe-deficiency stress conditions; 2) measure and evaluate whole-plant growth characteristics that could be an index of Fe deficiency stress; and 3) assess the potential of using a synthetically produced Fe oxide, ferrihydrite, as a slow-release Fe fertilizer source. Iron-stress sensitive `Raleigh' St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze] and Fe-stress tolerant `Tifway' bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Davy] cultivars were grown under glasshouse conditions in a medium consisting of quartz sand, 5% (m/m) CaCO,, and a ferrihydrite amendment providing Fe in concentrations of 0, 15, 30, 46, or 120 mg·kg-1 media, (equivalent to 2, 3, 4, 5, or 10 mg DTPA-extractable Fe/kg media). There also was a nonlimiting iron control. St. Augustinegrass was first rated for iron chlorosis 83 days after planting (DAP) while bermudagrass was first rated at 294 DAP. Initial Fe levels equivalent to 5 mg DTPA-extractable Fe/kg media showed potential for screening genotypes. Visual estimates of iron chlorosis and chlorophyll contents of leaves were the best indicators of low soil Fe availability. A single ferrihydrite soil amendment at 10 mg DTPA-extractable Fe/kg media was adequate in preventing chlorosis for the duration of the study (174 and 509 days for St. Augustinegrass and bermudagrass, respectively). Chemical name used: Diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA).