SALINE IRRIGATION HAS VARYING EFFECTS ON TURFGRASS

Rough bluegrass is often used to overseed bermudagrass to provide winter turf cover in the Southeastern United States. Depending on location, irrigation water for these sites has some degree of salinity. Research has shown that other turfgrass species vary in salt tolerance, but to date, no one had looked at this species' tolerance. Researchers at Clemson University performed a study to determine how various cultivars and seed lots of those cultivars vary in sensitivity to salt. They collected seed from eight different rough bluegrass cultivars with multiple seed lots for a total of 33 samples. Cultivars included Laser, Winterplay, Sabre II, ProAm and Cypress. The seeds were collected from various golf course suppliers and stored similarly to actual practices. All cultivar/seed lots had germination percentages that met or exceeded their tagged germination, and all were 96 percent or better in purity. Each sample was treated with saline solutions, and germination was evaluated from 4 to 25 days after seeding. Salinity did reduce the germination rate of all cultivars/seed lots; however, some seed lots were more tolerant of salinity than others. Laser showed the most consistent germination rate among seed lots. For most cultivar/seed lots, even at the highest rate of salinity, germination was delayed by only 50 percent. Despite this delay, germination success was still 97 percent under salinity treatments. Because of the variability in the effect of salinity on germination rate, researchers for this study recommend a mix of cultivars and seed lots to ensure rapid germination and establishment of overseeded rough bluegrass.

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