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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Species for Low-Input Sustainable Turf in the U.S. Upper Midwest


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 89 No. 4, p. 690-694
    Received: Mar 20, 1997

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. Kenneth L. Diesburg ,
  2. Nick E. Christians,
  3. Richard Moore,
  4. Bruce Branham,
  5. T. Karl Danneberger,
  6. Zachary J. Reicher,
  7. Thomas Voigt,
  8. David D. Minner and
  9. Robert Newman
  1. D ep. of Plant and Soil Sci., College of Agric., Southern Illinois Univ., Carbondale, IL 62901-4415;
    D ep. of Crop and Soil Sci., Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI 48824-1325;
    D ep. of Horticulture and Crop Sci., The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH 43210;
    D ep. of Agronomy, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN 47907;
    D ep. of Natural Resources and Environmental Sci., Univ. of Ill., Urbana, IL 61801;
    D ep. of Horticulture, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211;
    D ep. of Horticulture, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706.



Low-input sustainable turf (LIST) management represents a resource efficient option in maintaining uniform, persistent turf. What species are best suited to such management needs to be established. To this end, 12 hardy species were evaluated for 3 yr in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin: crested wheatgrass [Agropyron desertorum (Fisch. ex Link) Schult. ‘Fairway’, ‘Ephraim’, and ‘Ruff’], streambank wheatgrass [Agropyron riparium Scribn. & Smith ‘Sodar’; syn. Elymus lanceolatus (Scribn. & J.G. Smith) Gould subsp. lanceolatus], Canada bluegrass (Poa compressa L. ‘Reubens’), hard fescue [Festuca ovina var. duriuscula (L.) Koch ‘Durar’; syn. F. lemanii T. Bastard], sheep fescue (F. ovina L. ‘Covar’ and common), tall fescue (F. arundinacea Schreb. ‘Alta’), bulbous bluegrass (P. bulbosa L.), alpine bluegrass (P. alpina L.), redtop (Agrostis alba L. ‘Reton’; Agrostis gigantea Roth), roughstalk bluegrass (P. trivialis L. ‘Colt’), colonial hentgrass (Agrostis tenuis Sibth. ‘Exeter’; syn. Agrostis capillaris L.), and buffalograss [Buchloe dactyhides (Nutt.) Engelm. ‘Texoka’ and ‘NE-315’]. AH were field-established and compared at three mowing heights: 3.8 cm, 7.6 cm, and no mowing. Quality ratings were based on uniform persistence. Tall fescue and common sheep fescue were the best and most broadly adapted to LIST. In Iowa, hard fescue, Canada bluegrass, and crested wheatgrass also did well. Colonial bentgrass was best adapted in Missouri. Redtop and roughstalk bluegrass grew better in a north-south area from Wisconsin through central Illinois to Missouri. The bnffalograsses excelled in Ohio and southern Illinois. Over all species, the 7.6-cm mowing height allowed the best turf quality. Specifically, tall fescue, colonial bentgrass, redtop, and common sheep fescue performed best at the 7.6-cm mowing height. Covar sheep fescue, hard fescue, Canada bluegrass, and Fairway crested wheatgrass could not maintain persistent stands under the 3.8-cm mowing height. No mowing resulted in intermediate levels of quality with all species. A 7.6-cm mowing height would be appropriate for testing species in LIST within the seven-state region used in this study.

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