Compatibility of Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass with Tall Fescue in Transition Zone Turfgrass Mixtures
Use of turf-type tall fescue (TF), Festuca arundinacea Schreb., in mixture with Kentucky bluegrass (KB), Poa pratensis L., and, or perennial ryegrass (PR), Lolium perenne L., for sports turf may be advantageous because of genetic diversity and improved tolerance to pests and environmental stresses compared to TF in monoculture. The compatibility of TF in mixture with KB and PR, and TF in monoculture was evaluated over a 5-yr period. Cultural treatments studied were 16 and 22-mm mowing heights and 75 and 150 kg N ha−1yr−1 fall-applied and 175 kg N ha−1yr−1 spring-fall applied N. Botanical composition and turfgrass cover were measured annually in June, 1985 to 1989, with an optical point quadrat. Visual quality ratings were taken monthly during the growing season. In the TF-PR mixture, TF lacked competitiveness and had decreased from 51% the first year to 11% of the plant population 5 yr after planting. Tall fescue declined from 42% the first year to comprise 9% of the TF-KB-PR mixture after 5 yr. In the TF-KB mixture, TF had an initial 1 yr decline of 60 to 44%, then remained competitive with KB and at 5 yr comprised 44% of the turf compared with 47% KB. The TF-KB mixture and TF monoculture generally received higher quality ratings compared to the TF-PR and TF-KB-PR mixtures starting in August 1988 and through completion of the study. Nitrogen and cutting height had little effect on botanical composition, and had occasional minor effects on turfgrass quality. These results show that selected, blended TF cultivars under non-irrigated conditions can adapt to close mowing and remain competitive in mixture with selected blended KB cultivars over several years.
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