Monday, November 5, 2007 - 2:30 PM

Cultural Practices to Improve the Performance of Overseeded Meadow Fescue and Tetraploid Ryegrass.

Joshua A. Summerford, Douglas E. Karcher, Michael D. Richardson, Josh W. Landreth, John W. Boyd, and Aaron J. Patton. Horticulture, University of Arkansas, 316 PTSC, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701

Turfgrass managers in the transition zone often overseed perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) into dormant bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) during the fall to provide turfgrass coverage during the winter and early spring. Although perennial ryegrass provides excellent turf during the winter months, the spring transition to bermudagrass can be troublesome, with perennial ryegrass persisting longer into the spring than is desired due to increased heat and drought tolerance as well as improved disease resistance. The objective of this study was to develop a set of cultural practices to improve the establishment and performance of two new grass species that have shown potential for overseeding dormant bermudagrass due to their lack of persistence into the spring. . Three turf species, meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis), tetraploid ryegrass, and perennial ryegrass were overseeded into established ‘Riviera' bermudagrass stands. Three mowing heights (0.635, 1.27, and 1.90 cm) and three N rates (2.5, 5.0, and 7.5 g N m-2) were applied in strip- and split-plots, respectively, among the three species. Also, mowing strip plots were split with two levels of traffic (3 passes week-1 and untreated control). Turf quality was assessed bi-weekly with visual ratings and objectively with weekly digital image analysis. The experimental design was a 3x3x3x2 factorial replicated four times in a RCBD. The study was repeated on a native silt loam soil and on a sand base. Overall meadow fescue was the least tolerant to traffic, and all species demonstrated increased traffic tolerance at the 0.635 cm mowing height with N rates greater than 2.5 g N m-2. Spring transition data will be discussed.