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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 71 No. 4, p. 620-624
    Received: Oct 11, 1978

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Persistence and Productivity of Tall Fescue in Bermudagrass Sods Subjected to Different Clipping Managements1

  1. Henry A. Fribourg and
  2. Joseph R. Overton2



Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.) is a vigorous and productive forage crop in the U.S. mid-South during the warm season, but is dormant from October through March. Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) is semidormant in summer, grows well in spring and to some extent in autumn and winter. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of combinations of N fertilization level, harvesting management, and fescue row spacing, on the productivity and persistence of both bermudagrass and fescue in bermudagrass sods overseeded with fescue. ‘Kentucky 31’ tall fescue was overseeded in 25 or in 50-cm rows in October, 1970 on an established ‘Midland’ bermudagrass sod growing on a coarse-silty, mixed, acid thermic, aeric Fluvaquents soil at the West Tennessee Experiment Station, Jackson. Four rates of N fertilization included: none; or 200, 400, or 600 kg N/ha/year applied in four equal installments. Three clipping managements were superimposed: 5-cm growth cut to a 2.5-cm stubble, 10-cm growth cut to a 5-cm stubble, and 30-cm growth cut to a 25-cm stubble. Persistence of each species, composition of dry matter yield, and N content of harvested forage were measured from 1972–1975. When N was not applied, or when 200 kg N/ha/year were applied, fescue stands were excellent. Higher N rates resulted in half a stand. Fescue stands were less persistent in 50-cm than in 2.5cm rows. Bermudagrass sods were maintained under all management conditions. Under the frequent 10 to-5 cm and 5 to-2.5 cm managements and with 200 kg N/ha/year, 1,500 kg dry matter/ha or more were harvested in each of four harvest periods (late winter to mid-May, mid-May to mid-July, mid-July to September, October through December) from the grass associations. The combination of the two species extended the season of production of the sod from 5 to 9 or 10 months/year during each of 3 years and increased dry matter production from 5,800 to 7,150 kg/ha/year. Most uniform production each year was obtained when fescue was seeded in 25-cm rows and harvested from 10-cm height to a 5-cm stubble.

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