Monday, November 13, 2006

Evaluation of Native and Adapted Grass Species and Their Management for Turfgrass Applications in the Intermountain West.

Landon Bunderson, Utah State University, 4820 Old Main Hill, 4820 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322-4820, United States of America

As population in the Intermountain West continues to grow, water conservation becomes increasingly important. A substantial amount of municipal water is applied to turfgrass that experiences low traffic and may not need to be the same high quality as more commonly used higher maintenance species. This study was designed to evaluate mixtures and monostands of native and adapted grasses for their potential as low input turf. Twenty-five mixes and monostands were planted in four replications at Greenville Experimental Farm and evaluated for color, quality, and cover/uniformity at two nitrogen levels (44 and 88 kg N/ha/yr). Color was evaluated using a hand-held chlorophyll meter and digital analysis of photographs. Quality was evaluated using a visual rating scale of 1-9 by a trained evaluator. Cover and uniformity were evaluated using digital analysis and the point-quadrat method. Sheep fescue and tall fescue were the highest rated plants follow by blue grama, western wheatgrass, and the blue grama/western wheatgrass mixture. In most cases there was not a significant difference between nitrogen treatments. Native and adapted grasses/mixes appear to be a good substitute for cool season, high input grasses in some turfgrass applications.