Tall Fescue Rhizome Production as Influenced by Bermudagrass Competition and Cutting Frequency
- J. H. Bouton ,
- F. C. Whitehead and
- J. P. De Battista
The rhizome trait in tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) should impart better persistence and competitive ability in areas marginal for its adaptation or in mixed swards. This is especially true in the southern range of its adaptation where tall fescue-bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon L. (Pers.)] pastures predominate. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of bermudagrass competition and cutting frequency on rhizome production and growth among different tall fescue genotypes on a Cecil sandy loam soil (clayey, kaolinitic, thermic Typic Hapludult). The effects of cutting frequencies of 1 and 6 wk or 2 and 4 wk were evaluated in two separate experiments among three rhizomatous and three non-rhizomatous genotypes space-planted into a clean tilled area or into a common or ‘Coastal’ bermudagrass sod. Bermudagrass competition depressed rhizome production, tillering, and plant size across all genotypes. Little effect was recorded for these same characters with frequent cutting unless done weekly. There were significant differences among genotypes for rhizome production. Highly rhizomatous genotypes survived better and grew larger in bermudagrass than non- or weakly-rhizomatous genotypes, indicating the rhizome trait may impart better performance in tall fescue grown in bermudagrass mixtures.
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