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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 44 No. 5, p. 1746-1753
    Received: Sept 4, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): huang@aesop.rutgers.edu
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Evaluation of Drought Resistance for Texas Bluegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Their Hybrids

  1. Eleni M. Abrahama,
  2. Bingru Huang *b,
  3. Stacy A. Bonosb and
  4. William A. Meyerb
  1. a Lab. of Range Sci., Aristotle Univ. of Thessaloniki, 54006 Thessaloniki, Greece
    b Dep. of Plant Biology and Pathology, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, NJ 08901


Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.; KBG) has good turf quality with adequate irrigation, but moderate to low drought resistance. Interspecific hybridization of Kentucky bluegrass with Texas bluegrass (Poa arachnifera Torr.; TBG), a drought resistant grass native to Texas, has been made to transfer genes of drought resistance from TBG to KBG. The objectives of this study were (i) to investigate whether the hybrids have improved drought resistance compared with either TBG or KBG by examining physiological responses to drought stress; and (ii) to determine major physiological factors associated with recuperative ability of those plants from drought stress. Plants were exposed to drought stress by withholding irrigation for 42 d in a greenhouse. The experiment consisted of 29 fourth-generation backcrossed hybrids, one third-generation hybrid (BDF), two KBG parents (‘C-74’, ‘Midnight’), and one TBG parent. The genotypes classified into three cluster groups of drought resistance (high, moderate, and low) based on the responses of relative water content (RWC), electrolyte leakage (EL), and photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) to drought stress. The RWC and Fv/Fm declined with drought stress, but were maintained at higher levels in the high resistance group than the other group, while EL increased during drought and was lower in the high resistance group. Texas bluegrass, Midnight KBG, and two hybrids were ranked highest in drought resistance. Other hybrids varied in drought resistance, with more hybrids of BDF × Midnight ranked in the high drought resistance group than the hybrids of BDF × C-74. Among all physiological parameters examined, EL was the most sensitive indicator to drought stress, as demonstrated by its most rapid increase in response to the stress. High Fv/Fm and retaining of green leaves during drought stress contributed to fast recovery from drought stress following rewatering.

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Copyright © 2004. Crop Science Society of AmericaCrop Science Society of America