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Crop Science Abstract -

Effects of Clipping Disposal, Nitrogen, and Growth Retardants on Thatch and Tiller Density in Zoysiagrass


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 28 No. 2, p. 325-328
    Received: Oct 27, 1986

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. D. Z. Soper,
  2. J. H. Dunn ,
  3. D. D. Minner and
  4. D. A. Sleper
  1. M obay Corp., Naples, FL 33939;
    D ep. of Horticulture Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211
    D ep. of Agronomy, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.



Accumulation of thatch is a cultural problem affecting managers of ‘Meyer’ zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.). Research was undertaken to investigate the effects of clipping disposal, N fertilization, and growth retardants on thatch accumulation and resistance of plant tissue to decomposition. In a 2-yr field study, clipping disposal (removed or left on plots); N fertilization (98.0 kg ha−1 yr−1); and the growth retardants mefluidide (N-[2,4-dimethyl-5-[[(trifluromethyl)-sulfonyl]amino]phenyl]acetamide) applied twice each year at 0.4 and 0.8 kg a.i. ha 1, and flurprimidol (α-(1-methylethyl)-α(4-trifluromethoxy)phenyl)-5-pyrimidine-methanol) applied at 1.7, and 2.2 kg a.i. ha−1 twice in each year were examined for their effects on thatch, tiller density, verdure, and stolon weight. Relative degradation of leaves and stolons was compared by in vitro digestion in a prepared cellulase solution. Returned clippings increased thatch by only 3.4% and decreased tiller density by 12% when N was applied. Nitrogen increased thatch and tiller density. Growth retardants did not affect thatch. Degradation of leaves (64%) by the cellulase solution exceeded that of stolons (60%). The reduction in tiller density associated with returned clippings may be due to shading from clippings in the turf canopy resulting in leaf etiolation and reduced tiller bud development. Leaf clippings contributed slightly to thatch accumulation, most likely due to their physical accumulation rather than indirect effects of N recycling. Both stolons and, to a lesser degree, leaves appear to contribute to thatch accumulation in Meyer zoysiagrass. Decreased use of N in the culture of Meyer zoysiagrass, within limits required for acceptable appearance, might help reduce thatch accumulation. Removal of clippings is not recommended for thatch control considering their small contribution to thatch cover and due to the benefit of recycled nutrients.

Contribution from Missouri Agric. Exp. Stn. Journal Series no. 10429.

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