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Crop Science Abstract -

Tall Fescue Sward Dynamics: I. Seasonal Patterns of Turf Shoot Development


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 33 No. 2, p. 300-304
    Received: Aug 23, 1991

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. David R. Spak ,
  2. Joseph M. DiPaola and
  3. Charles E. Anderson
  1. 1 920 Rockvale Rd., Lancaster, PA 17602
    C rop Science Dep., Box 7620, North Carolina State Univ., NC 27695
    D ep. of Botany, Box 7612, North Carolina State Univ.



Knowledge of turfgrass sward dynamics, including shoot development and mortality, as affected by inflorescence removal during mowing may provide the insight necessary to maximize stand density through management practices. A 2-yr field study was conducted on a mature stand of ‘Kentucky 31’ tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) turf to determine shoot longevity and patterns of shoot development in relation to reproductive development. Mowing regimes consisted of mowing to 9.5 cm when foliar height reached 15.2 cm, and an unmowed regime that remained unclipped from April through October, when it was mowed to 9.5 cm. Twenty shoots were labeled with coded tags prior to initiation of mowing. Shoots were observed periodically and the following characteristics determined: living or dead, vegetative or reproductive, total and fully expanded green leaves, and secondary shoot development. Thirty.six percent of the shoots survived for 2 yr in mowed turf, whereas only 4% survived this period in unmowed turf. Regardless of the mowing regime, most of the shoots died in the vegetative state; only 2% of the spring shoot population became reproductive. Stand density declined from April through September by 31% for mowed turf and 63% for unmowed turf. Stand density decline was a result of continuous mortality of vegetative shoots and minimal new shoot development; only 1 to 3% of the existing shoot population developed secondary shoots. Partial, periodic removal of inflorescences and associated tissues had no effect on secondary shoot development within the sward. In this study, shoot mortality and new shoot initiation were not associated with reproductive development.

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