Species for low-input sustainable turf in the U.S. Upper midwest

Kenneth L. Diesburg, Nick E. Christians, Richard Moore, Bruce Branham, T. Karl Danneberger, Zachary J. Reicher, Thomas B Voigt, David D. Minner, Robert Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Low-input sustainable turf (LIST) management represents a re-source-efficient option in maintaining uniform, persistent turf. What species are best suited to such management needs to be established. To this end, 12 hardy species were evaluated for 3 yr in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouti, Ohio, and Wisconsin: crested wheatgrass [Agropyron desertorum (Fisch. ex Link) Schult. 'Fairway', 'Ephraim', and 'Ruff'], streambank wheatgrass [Agropyron riparium Scribn. and Smith 'Sodar'; syn. Elymus lanceolatus (Scribn. and J.G. Smith) Gould subsp. lanceolatus], Canada bluegrass (Poa compressa L. 'Reubens'), hard fescue [Festuca ovina var. duriuscula (L.) Koch 'Durar'; syn. F. lemanii T. Bastard], sheep fescue (F. orina L. 'Covar' and common), tall rescue (F. arundinacea Schreb. 'Alta'), bulbous bluegrass (P. bulbosa L.), alpine bluegrass (P. alpina L.), redtop (Agrostis alba L. 'Reton'; Agrostis gigantea Roth), roughstalk bluegrass (P. trivialis L. 'Colt'), colonial bentgrass (Agrostis tenuis Sibth. 'Exeter'; syn. Agrostis capiltaris L.), and buffalograss lBuchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm. 'Texoka' and 'NE-315']. All were field-established and compared at three mowing heights: 3.8 cm, 7.6 cm, and no mowing. Quality ratings were based on uniform persistence; Tall rescue and common sheep fescue were the best and most broadly adapted to LIST. In Iowa, hard rescue, Canada bluegrass, and crested wheatgrass also did well. Colonial bentgrass was best adapted in Missouri. Redtop and roughstalk bluegrass grew better in a north-south area from Wisconsin through central Ilinois to: Missouri. The buffalograsses excelled in Ohio and southern Illinois. Over all species, the 7.6-cm mowing height allowed the best turf quality. Specifically, tall rescue, colonial bent-grass, redtop, and common sheep rescue performed best at the 7.6cm mowing height. Covar sheep fescue, hard rescue, Canada bluegress, and Fairway crested wheatgrass could not maintain persistent stands under the 3.8-cm mowing height. No mowing resulted in intermediate levels of quality with all species. A 7.6-cm mowing height would be appropriate for testing species in LIST within the seven-state region used in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)690-694
Number of pages5
JournalAgronomy Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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