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Performance of Three Warm Season Turfgrasses under Linear Gradient Irrigation

  • Ow, Lai Fern (Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology, National Park Board, Singapore Botanic Gardens) ;
  • Ghosh, Subhadip (Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology, National Park Board, Singapore Botanic Gardens)
  • Received : 2016.10.17
  • Accepted : 2017.03.10
  • Published : 2017.04.03

Abstract

The appropriate level of irrigation for turfgrasses is vital to the performance of the turfgrass as well as conservation of water. Linear gradient irrigation system (LGIS) facilitates long-term study of turf performance under continuous irrigation gradients at extreme ends of the irrigation scale. The objectives of this study were to: a) determine the minimum irrigation requirements and relative drought resistance in three warm season turfgrasses; and b) evaluate the medium to long-term effects of irrigation levels on turf persistence, weed invasion, and susceptibility to diseases. Results suggest that grasses differed in drought resistance and persistence under variable irrigation regimes. Irrigation (Ep) required for consistent acceptable turf quality for respective grasses was Cynodon dactylon x C. transvaalensis (61%), Zoysia matrella L. Merr (73%), and Stenotaphrum secundatum 'Palmetto' (86%). Brown patch infection was most prevalent in Stenotaphrum secundatum 'Palmetto' at 12 and 125% Ep irrigation. Cynodon dactylon x C. transvaalensis and Zoysia matrella L. Merr were better able to adapt to the various irrigation regimes, and this ability allowed these species to resist drought, and maintain turf coverage which in turn, kept weeds and the occurrence of diseases at bay. Ranking these grasses for their drought tolerance abilities showed that Cynodon dactylon x C. transvaalensis had the most outstanding resistance against drought, followed by Zoysia matrella L. Merr, and lastly, Stenotaphrum secundatum 'Palmetto'. Despite having the highest irrigation requirement, Stenotaphrum secundatum 'Palmetto' was still not able to maintain persistence at high irrigation regimes. Likewise, this grass also lost turf coverage at low irrigation levels.

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