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Comparative Performance of Three Tropical Turfgrasses Digitaria longiflora, Axonopus compressus and St. Augustinegrass under Simulated Shade Conditions

  • Chin, Siew-Wai (Centre for Urban Greenery & Ecology, National Parks Board, Singapore Botanic Gardens)
  • Received : 2016.10.04
  • Accepted : 2017.02.27
  • Published : 2017.04.03

Abstract

Shade affects turf quality by reducing light for photosynthesis. The shade tolerance of the tropical grasses, Digitaria longiflora and Axonopus compressus were evaluated against Stenotaphrum secundatum (St. Augustinegrass). The grasses were established under shade structures that provide 0%, 50%, 75% or 90% shade level for 30 days. A suite of leaf traits, recorded from similar leaf developmental stage, displayed distinct responses to shade conditions. Leaf length, relative to control, increased in all three species as shade level increased. The mean leaf extension rate was lowest in St. Augustinegrass (80.42%) followed by A. compressus (84.62%) and D. longiflora (90.78%). The higher leaf extension rate in D. longiflora implied its poor shade tolerance. Specific leaf area (SLA) increased in all species with highest mean SLA increase in D. longiflora ($348.55cm^2mg^{-1}$)followed by A. compressus ($286.88cm^2mg^{-1}$) and St. Augustinegrass ($276.28cm^2mg^{-1}$). The highest SLA increase in D. longiflora suggested its lowest performance under shade. The percent green cover, as estimated by digital image analysis, was lowest in D. longiflora (53%) under 90% shade level compared to both species. The relative shade tolerance of the three turfgrasses could be ranked as St. Augustinegrass > A. compressus > D. longiflora.

Acknowledgement

Supported by : Singapore National Parks Board

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