COURSE CARE
Research On The Impact Of Shade On Bermudagrass Cultivars Presented At ASA Meetings November 11, 2014 By Pat Gross

Shade takes a tremendous toll on the regionalUpdateContent systems of bermudagrass as noted in this Auburn University study. (Image courtesy of Philipe Aldahir)

Turfgrass breeders have made great strides in recent years improving the quality and shade tolerance of different bermudagrass varieties, but just how shade tolerant are some of these new varieties? At the American Society of Agronomy meetings in Long Beach, Cali., last week, Philipe Aldahir and Dr. J. Scott McElroy of Auburn University presented the findings of their two-year study on the growth response of five bermudagrass cultivars grown under shade treatments of 30, 60 and 90 percent. The varieties studied included Celebration, Patriot, TifGrand, TifSport and Tifway.

Here are a few highlights from the study:

  • Biomass decreased with greater amounts of shade in all cultivars except TifGrand.
  • There were distinct differences in leaf width and internode length among the five cultivars in response to shade treatments. Patriot had wider leaves while TifGrand had the narrowest leaves.
  • Under shaded conditions, most turfgrasses display greater vertical leaf extension, known as etiolation. In this study, TifGrand and TifSport displayed less etiolation, which translated into better overall turf quality at the end of the study.
  • An especially vivid image shared during the presentation was the effect of shade on the biomass of the bermudagrass regionalUpdateContent systems, where all varieties suffered a tremendous loss of regionalUpdateContent density as the plants shift carbohydrates from regionalUpdateContents to leaves.

The last point underscores the importance of reducing shade to enhance the growth, quality and regionalUpdateContent system of bermudagrass.

Pat Gross (pgross@usga.org)

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