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Species for low-input sustainable turf in the U.S. upper midwest

Diesburg, K.L., Christians, N.E., Moore, R., Branham, B., Danneberger, T.K., Reicher, Z.J., Voigt, T., Minner, D.D., Newman, R.
Agronomy journal 1997 v.89 no.4 pp. 690-694
Agropyron desertorum, Elymus lanceolatus, Poa compressa, Festuca ovina, Festuca arundinacea, Poa bulbosa, Poa alpina, Agrostis gigantea, Poa trivialis, Agrostis capillaris, Bouteloua dactyloides, mowing, rain, genotype-environment interaction, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin
Low-input sustainable turf (LIST) management represents a resource-efficient option in maintaining uniform, persistent turf. What species are best suited to such management needs to be established. To this end, 12 hardy species were evaluated for 3 yr in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin: crested wheatgrass [Agropyron desertorum (Fisch. ex Link) Schult.'Fairway','Ephraim', and 'Ruff'], streambank wheatgrass [Agropyron riparium Scribn. & Smith 'Sodar'; syn. Elymus lanceolatus (Scribn. & J.G. Smith) Gould subsp. lanceolatus], Canada bluegrass (Poa compressa L.'Reubens'), hard fescue [Festuca ovina var. duriuscula (L.) Koch 'Durar'; syn. F. lemanii T. Bastard], sheep fescue (F. ovina L. 'Covar' and common), tall fescue (F. arundinacea Schreb.'Alta'), bulbous bluegrass (P. bulbosa L.), alpine bluegrass (P. alpina L.), redtop (Agrostis alba L. 'Reton'; Agrostis gigantea Roth), roughstalk bluegrass (P. trivialis L. 'Colt'), colonial bentgrass (Agrostis tenuis Sibth. 'Exeter'; syn. Agrostis capillaris L.), and buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.'Texoka' and 'NE-315']. All were field-established and compared at three mowing heights: 3.8 cm, 7.6 cm, and no mowing. Quality ratings were based on uniform persistence. Tall fescue and common sheep fescue were the best and most broadly adapted to LIST. In Iowa, hard fescue, Canada bluegrass, and crested wheatgrass also did well. Colonial bentgrass was best adapted in Missouri. Redtop and roughstalk bluegrass grew better in a north-south area from Wisconsin through central Illinois to Missouri. The buffalograsses excelled in Ohio and southern Illinois. Over all species, the 7.6-cm mowing height allowed the best turf quality. Specifically, tall fescue, colonial bentgrass, redtop, and common sheep fescue performed best at the 7.6-cm mowing height. Covar sheep fescue, hard fescue, Canada bluegrass, and Fairway crested wheatgrass could not maintain persistent stands under the 3.8-cm mowing height. No mowing resulted in intermediate levels of quality with all species. A 7.6-cm mowing height would be appropriate for testing species in LIST within the seven-state region used in this study.