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Drought-resistance mechanisms of seven warm-season turfgrasses under surface soil drying. I. Shoot response

Huang, B., Duncan, R.R., Carrow, R.N.
Crop science 1997 v.37 no.6 pp. 1858-1863
Eremochloa ophiuroides, Cynodon dactylon, Paspalum vaginatum, Zoysia japonica, Zoysia tenuifolia, hybrids, ecotypes, soil water content, canopy, temperature, leaves, chlorophyll, water content, soil depth, roots
Knowledge or drought response differences in turfgrasses would accelerate the effectiveness in developing water-use-efficient species. The study was designed to evaluate shoot morphological and physiological traits in relation to drought resistance for seven warm-season turfgrasses: bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L) Pers. 'Common'], centipedegrass [Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro) Hackel 'TifBlair'], seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum Swartz, four ecotypes), and zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steudel x Z. tenuifolia Steudel 'Emerald') under surface soil drying and rewatering conditions. Plants were grown in a greenhouse during 1995 and 1996 in sectioned PVC tubes under four soil moisture treatments. Drought resistance among the turfgrasses was assessed using canopy temperature, leaf chlorophyll content, relative water content, and shoot dry matter production in response to drying of 0- to 20- and 0- to 40-cm soil layers. The rank in drought resistance in the 0- to 40-cm drying regime was: Paspalum PI 509018 = TifBlair centipedegrass > AF14 = PI 299042 > Adalayd > Common bermudagrass = Emerald zoysiagrass. Shoot dry matter production recovered fully after rewatering for TifBlair centipedegrass and paspalums except Adalayd, but only partially for Common bermudagrass and Emerald zoysiagrass. The differences in shoot responses to drought stress and rewatering among the seven grasses were presumably related to variations (plasticity) in rooting characteristics as demonstrated in root responses.