Responses of Tall and Hard Fescue to Deficit Irrigation
- Jack D. Fry and
- Jack D. Butler
Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) and hard fescue (Festuca longifolia Thuill.) are used extensively for turf in cool and transition zone regions. Information on irrigation requirements of these species is limited, however. Field studies were conducted to determine responses of ‘Rebel’ tall fescue and ‘Reliant’ hard fescue to deficit irrigation and irrigation frequency. Turf growing on a Satanta sandy clay loam soil (Fine loamy mixed, mesic Aridic Argiustoll) was irrigated at 50, 75, or 100% of potential evapotranspiration (ETp, i.e., turf water use when soil moisture is not limiting) on 2-, 4-, 7-, or 14-d intervals. Small weighing lysimeters adjacent to plot areas were used to obtain ETp rates. Both species performed best when irrigated every 2 or 4 d at 75 or 100% ETp. Tall fescue exhibited exceptional drought resistance. When watered every 2 d, irrigation at 50% ETp resulted in only small reductions in tall fescue visual quality. Hard fescue performed poorly under the same irrigation regime. Increased water conservation in semiarid regions may result if tall fescue is used more extensively and irrigated at 50% ETp every 2 d or 75% ETp every 2 to 7 d.
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