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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 67 No. 4, p. 583-585
    Received: Mar 9, 1974

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Root and Rhizome Development of Some Kentucky Bluegrass and Red Fescue Cultivars1

  1. R. D. Ensign and
  2. G. C. Weiser2



Rapid and extensive root and rhizome development are desirable attributes for turfgrass sod production. Extensive rooting is also advantageous for plant development and seed maturation in the semiarid West during periods of drought stress. The purpose of this study was to determine if there were differences in the root and rhizome production among several cultivars of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) and red fescue (festuca rubra L.) under mowed and unmowed management.

Mowed plots were cut weekly at 4 cm. Unmowed plots were allowed to produce seed. Sod samples were taken from unmowed plots at the soft dough stage of the caryopsis. Mowed plots produced significantly more roots and rhizomes than unmowed. Variation existed among cultivars with respect to root and rhizome production. ‘Adelphi,’ ‘Glade,’ ‘Nugget,’ ‘Fylking,’ and ‘Newport,’ produced high root weights. Adelphi, Nugget, and ‘P-142,’ produced high rhizome numbers and weights. Some cultivars produced a high percentage of roots in the top 2.5-cm layer of the rhizosphere, whereas others had rhizomes more equally distributed to the 7.5-cm depth.

Total root and rhizome production in most bluegrasses exceeded the total production of the fescue cultivars. ‘Pennlawn’ red fescue was a prolific rhizome producer when compared to four other fescue cultivars. Several new bluegrass cultivars have relatively vigorous rhizosphere systems which may be significant for desirable sod production as well as their ability to compete for available moisture during periods of seed maturation.

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