Monday, November 13, 2006 - 8:45 AM

Meadow fescue and tetraploid perennial ryegrass: Two new species for overseeding dormant bermudagrass turf.

Michael Richardson1, Kenneth Hignight2, Robert Walker3, Charlie Rodgers4, Debra Rush5, John McCalla1, and Douglas Karcher6. (1) 316 Plant Sci Bldg, University of Arkansas, University of Arkansas, Department of Horticulture, Fayetteville, AR 72701, (2) Advanta Seeds Pacific, Inc., Advanta Seeds Pacific, 33725 Columbus St. SE, Albany, OR 97321-7246, (3) Auburn University, Agronomy and Soils Department, Auburn, AL 36849-5412, (4) Seeds West, Inc., 5201 W. Desert Dr., Laveen, AZ 85339, (5) Advanta Seeds Pacific, 33725 Columbus Street SE, Albany, OR 97322-7246, (6) 308 PTSC, University of Arkansas, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, United States of America

Bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) is often over-seeded with a cool-season turfgrass to provide a green surface for winter and early-spring sporting activities. Two grass species that have not been tested for overseeding include tetraploid (2n = 4x = 28) perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) and meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis Huds). The objectives of this study were to test these two species in comparison to three standard overseeding species (diploid perennial ryegrass, intermediate ryegrass (L. perenne x L. multiflorum L., and Poa trivialis) in three diverse environments; Maricopa, AZ (arid), Fayetteville, AR (transition zone), and Auburn, AL (humid, sub-tropical). At all locations, overseeding grasses were seeded into dormant bermudagrass turf and managed according to standard overseeding practices. The tetraploid ryegrass had equal or superior turfgrass quality to all other overseeding species except the diploid ryegrass at all locations. Meadow fescue produced similar turfgrass quality to intermediate ryegrass and tetraploid ryegrass at Arkansas and Alabama, but had lower turf quality scores in Arizona. The meadow fescue and tetraploid ryegrass had favorable transition characteristics compared to the diploid ryegrass, intermediate ryegrass, and Poa trivialis, which would be very favorable aspects of these new overseeding grasses. These trials clearly demonstrate the potential of two new species, meadow fescue and tetraploid ryegrass, for overseeding dormant bermudagrass turf.