Top Growth and Rooting Responses of Tall Fescue Cultivars Grown in Hydroponics
- Kyoung-Nam Kima,
- Robert C. Shearman *b and
- Terrance P. Riordanb
Use of turf-type tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) as a reduced-input and drought-resistant turfgrass species has increased in recent years. Several growth types of tall fescue have been identified. Concerns have been expressed about the rooting responses of cultivars classified as turf type and dwarf type. Turf- and dwarf-type tall fescues may lack the potential drought-avoidance characteristics associated with cultivars like Kentucky 31. This study was conducted in hydroponics under greenhouse conditions to determine whether potential differences in top and root growth responses exist among tall fescue cultivars, experimental lines, and growth types. Sixteen cultivars and experimental lines, representing four growth types (i.e., dwarf, turf, intermediate, and forage) were evaluated. Tall fescue cultivars, experimental lines, and growth types differed in top growth and rooting responses. All cultivars and lines, except `Jaguar' and `Kenhy', produced roots to the 600- to 750-mm sampling depth. Dwarf- and turf-type cultivars and lines had the best responses for total root production and distribution under the conditions of this study. `Silverado', `Eldorado', `Trailblazer', and 516 had relatively high verdure yields ranging from 5.3 to 5.7 g, low clipping yields ranging from 3.6 to 3.9 g, and a clipping yield to verdure ratio (CY/V) of 0.7. Results from this study refute concerns expressed by some persons in the turfgrass industry regarding the potential for reduced depth and extent of rooting in dwarf- and turf-type tall fescues. These data further support the presence of genotypes with abilities to express deep, extensive root systems and favorable characteristics for drought avoidance potential.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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