Poster Number 391
Recently, increased public attention has been focused on the environmental impact of turfgrass areas such as lawns for schools, parks, and homes. In the north central region, the most common species used for higher cut turf are Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). With proper irrigation, fertility and pesticide inputs, these resource-intensive species provide high quality turf. The objective of this study was to identify alternative turfgrass species adapted to the north central region that require minimal inputs. A secondary objective was to obtain information on mowing practices for each species. Plots were established at 9 locations throughout the region and received no fertilizer or irrigation after establishment. Thirteen entries were planted in fall 2004 as either a dormant seeding or a regular seeding. Experimental design was a split plot arrangement of a randomized complete block with three replicates of each treatment. Mowing height (5.1 cm, 8.9 cm, or no-mow) was the main plot, and species was the subplot (each subplot consisted of a single 1.4 m2 plot). Persistence and uniformity were the two primary criteria to determine quality for each plot. Quality data based primarily on coverage for the desired species was taken during the months of May, July and September in both years. Hard fescue (Festuca trachyphylla (Hack.) Krajina), colonial bentgrass (Agrostis tenuis L.), tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) and sheep fescue (Festuca ovina L.), all performed well at all locations in both years at the 5.1 and 8.9 cm mowing heights. Tufted hairgrass (Deschampsia cespitosa (L.) P. Beauv.), prairie junegrass (Koeleria macrantha (Ledeb.) Schult.), and blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis (Willd. ex Kunth) Lag. ex Griffiths) performed adequately at several locations. These 7 species should be the focus of future research on low-input sustainable turf in the north central region.