Variation in growth habit and tolerance to low mowing of Inland Saltgrass in a desert environment.
David Kopec1, Jeff Gilbert1, Mohammed Pessarakli2, Jim Walworth2, Paul Brown2, and Steven Nolan2. (1) University of Arizona, Room 303 Bldg 36 Plant sci Dept, Tucson, AZ 85721, (2) Univ Az, Room 303 Bldg 36, Plant Sci Dept, Tucson, AZ 85721
Fifty nine clonal accessions of Distichlis (Inland saltgrass) were transplanted into a spaced-plant nursery in July 2004. Un-mowed plants in Dec 2004 showed wide variation in plant habit, plant size and winter dormancy. When mowed for six months at 5/8” with a tri-plex reel-type mower, the lowest growing clones (when previously un-mowed) did not have the best turfgrass quality during. Clones which produced a semi-decumbent growth habit when unmowed (soon after transplanting) had the best turfgrass quality when mowed. This was realized among clones 203, 245, 261, 224, and 223. Overall turfgrass quality scores for the 2005 season ranged from 2.3 to 7.3 (using the NTEP-type visual scoring system). Overall turfgrass quality was more closely related to turfgrass density than was leaf texture, per se. Clone 203 had excellent seasonal average for quality (7.3), texture (7.7), very good density (7.6), and light green color. Clone 261 had excellent turfgrass quality (7.1), slightly above average texture (6.7), excellent density (7.5), and good color (7.1). Clone 243 had very good quality (6.6), very good texture (7.3), density 7.3) and good color (6.6). Clone 245 had good quality (6.1), excellent leaf texture (7.5), good density (6.5), and good color (6.7). Clone 224 had good quality (6.0), acceptable texture (6.3), and density (6.2), and good color (7.1). Regular mowing pressure at 5/8” inch continues to facilitate screening for the identification of superior turf-type clones.