As average global temperatures rise, cool-season C3 turfgrasses, such as the most commonly grown Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.; KBG), struggle to tolerate extreme summer heat and increase their water consumption. Hybrid Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon [L.] Pers. × Cynodon transvaalensis Burtt Davy; HBG) is a warm-season C4 grass that may be increasingly suited for northern ecosystems traditionally classified as transition or cool-season climate zones. Glasshouse and field studies were conducted to compare HBG and KBG water use. The objective of the glasshouse study was to evaluate plant health and growth for two HBG cultivars (‘DT-1’ and ‘NorthBridge’) compared to a blend of KBG cultivars in all combinations of deficit, moderate, and high irrigation at optimum or short mowing height. The study was conducted in a glasshouse at Provo, UT, USA from 2020-2021. Grass was grown in pots arranged in a randomized complete block, full factorial design, with four replications of each treatment. The moderate KBG was also significantly different from both high and deficit for verdure and for the last half of NDVI. The objective of the field study was to evaluate two HBG cultivars (‘Tahoma 31’ and ‘Latitude 36’) compared to a blend of KBG cultivars for water loss and canopy health, temperature, and growth when subjected to deficit, moderate, and high irrigation. The study was arranged in a randomized complete block, full factorial design with three replications per treatment, and was conducted at Provo, UT, USA throughout the summer of 2021. In both the glasshouse and field trials, the deficit irrigated KBG consistently scored lower for NDVI and visual turf quality than all other treatments, including moderate and high KBG. This same trend was seen in the field study for percent cover. Although not observed in the glasshouse trial, it was observed in the field trial that the different irrigation levels of HBG resulted in no significant differences for any measurements but the HBG regularly scored better than KBG. The canopy temperatures of deficit irrigated KBG were also higher than all other treatments on most dates. The shoot mass, thatch mass, and total biomass of KBG were significantly less than either HBG cultivar. In the glasshouse trial it was observed that all deficit grasses were significantly lower than the other irrigation treatments and HBG had significantly deeper roots than KBG, although these results were not seen in the field trial. The data suggest that irrigation needs will be less for HBG than KBG and that HBG could provide a water-saving turfgrass alternative to KBG in semi-arid, cool-season regions with increasing water scarcity.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Plant and Wildlife Sciences



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Hybrid Bermudagrass, Kentucky bluegrass, irrigation, deficit irrigation, Poa pratensis, Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × Cynodon transvaalensis Burtt Davy, NorthBridge, DT-1, Latitude 36, Tahoma 31, drought, water use efficiency, NDVI, canopy temperature, turf quality, VWC, root depth