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Agronomy Journal Abstract - TURFGRASS

Rooting Characteristics and Canopy Responses to Drought of Turfgrasses Including Hybrid Bluegrasses


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 100 No. 4, p. 949-956
    Received: Aug 30, 2007

    * Corresponding author(s): bremer@ksu.edu
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  1. Kemin Su,
  2. Dale J. Bremer *,
  3. Steven J. Keeley and
  4. Jack D. Fry
  1. Dep. of Horticulture, Forestry & Recreation Resources, 2021 Throckmorton Hall, Kansas State Univ., Manhattan, KS 66506. Contribution no. 08-221-J from the Kansas Agric. Exp. Station


Drought stress is common among cool-season turfgrasses during summer in the U.S. transition zone. A 2-yr field study was conducted near Manhattan, KS, to evaluate rooting characteristics and effects of drought on canopy physiology and appearance of ‘Apollo’ Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) (KBG), ‘Dynasty’ tall fescue (Festuca arundincea Schreb.) (TF), and two hybrid bluegrasses (HBG) ‘Reveille’ and ‘Thermal Blue’; HBG are genetic crosses between native Texas bluegrass (P. arachnifera Torr.) and KBG. Rooting characteristics were measured in the field and greenhouse under well-watered conditions to evaluate root contributions to drought avoidance. Two irrigation treatments in the field included: (i) 60% (water-deficit); and (ii) 100% (well-watered) evapotranspiration (ET) replacement. Ninety to 96% of all root length (0–80 cm) in the field and 74 to 80% of all root length (0–120 cm) in the greenhouse were in the upper 30 cm among Thermal Blue, Reveille, and KBG while in TF, only 86 and 70% of all root length in the field and greenhouse, respectively, were in the top 30 cm. In the field, tall fescue had 3 to 12 times greater root length in the lower profile (60–80 cm) among turfgrasses. Visual quality and gross photosynthesis (Pg) were greatest in TF among turfgrasses in both irrigation treatments. Reveille used more water from the 0 to 50 cm profile and performed better than Thermal Blue during water-deficit, but both HBG recovered from water-deficit slightly faster than KBG. Performances in visual quality and Pg generally ranked: TF > Reveille ≥ Thermal Blue = KBG.

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Copyright © 2008. American Society of AgronomyCopyright © 2008 by the American Society of Agronomy