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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Winter Hardiness in New Digitaria Germplasm1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 72 No. 3, p. 457-459
    Received: Jan 9, 1979

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  1. A. J. Oakes,
  2. W. R. Langford,
  3. S. C. Schank,
  4. R. D. Roush and
  5. E. M. Hodges2



Portions of the USDA Digitaria collection have been assessed for winter hardiness in previous studies. The objective of this study was to identify additional winter hardy Digitaria germplasm for the purpose of extending its production range as permanent pasture in the southeastern United States. This objective was accomplished by assessing plant survival for winter hardiness of 14 species and two subspecies comprising 230 accessions grown in field trials for 3 years at four locations in Florida and Georgia. Significant differential winter hardiness was exhibited among Digitaria species and among clones within speues. Winter hardiness of seven species and two subspecies was significantly superior to that of the remaining seven species. The species of greatest economic value, D. decumbens Stent comprising three cultivars, is among the most winter hardy germplasm. The cultivars ‘Pangola,’ ‘Slenderstem,’ and ‘Transvala’ are among 13 clones which exhibited maximum winter hardiness. The average performance of species masked the superior winter hardiness of individual clones in some instances. These findings substantiate those reported previously and emphasize the consideration that should be given individual clones in the search for, and utilization of winter hardy Digitaria germplasm. The effect of minimum temperature on winter survival was determined. This winter hardy germplasm is being utilized in plant improvement programs, particularly in Florida. These results demonstrate the need for additional field research in an assessment of the elite winter hardy germplasm for adaptation and production capacity.

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