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Crop Science Abstract - Turfgrass Science

Evaluation of Turf-type Interspecific Hybrids of Meadow Fescue with Perennial Ryegrass for Improved Stress Tolerance


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 54 No. 1, p. 355-365
    Received: Mar 25, 2013
    Published: November 12, 2013

    * Corresponding author(s): jbaird@ucr.edu
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  1. Brent D. Barnesa,
  2. David Kopeckýb,
  3. Adam J. Lukaszewskia and
  4. James H. Baird *a
  1. a Dep. of Botany and Plant Sciences, Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521
    b Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, Institute of Experimental Botany, Sokolovská 6, CZ-77200, Olomouc, Czech Republic


Broadening the genetic pool of crop species by wide hybridization is an established practice in plant breeding. Festuca × Lolium hybrids (Festulolium ) are already established as commercial forage grasses around the world. By recurrent selection for drought and heat tolerance we developed turf-type populations of FL with increased stress tolerance. This improvement appeared associated with the presence of an introgression of meadow fescue [Festuca pratensis (Huds.) P. Beauv.] chromatin on chromosome 3 of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). To determine if deeper and more extensive root characteristics were responsible for increased stress tolerance, a greenhouse study was conducted on FL both with and without the introgression, parental controls, and tall fescue (F. arundinacea Schreb.). In two experiments in sand-filled tubes, meadow fescue (MF) produced the deepest roots, most root biomass, and highest root:shoot ratio; FL and perennial ryegrass (PR) were intermediate while tall fescue (TF) ranked at or near the bottom for these traits. The results suggested that drought tolerance in FL was not a consequence of altered root depth or biomass. In a 2-yr field study of drought tolerance at deficit irrigation (50–70% ETo), turf quality of FL and PR was significantly greater compared to the fescues; FL populations appeared to offer greater turf quality during drought conditions than the fescues, but they did not differ from PR itself. In only 1 yr were mature TF stands equal to PR and FL in recovery rates. While the actual mechanism is still obscure, it appears that, with additional breeding and selection, FL hybrids have the potential to withstand water deficit at least as well as TF, while providing better turf quality.

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