Traffic tolerance and recovery of bermudagrass
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Bermudagrass is the predominant turfgrass used for athletic fields in the southern United States. Numerous bermudagrass cultivars are utilized for sports field use. Two frequent variations in management among facilities include mowing and nitrogen fertility regimes. Research is needed to determine the influence of bermudagrass cultivar, mowing regime, and nitrogen fertility on traffic tolerance. Research conducted at Texas A&M Univeristy studied the traffic tolerance of Tifsport, GN-1, Princess, and NuMex Sahara bermudagrasses. These grasses were mowed once weekly at 3.80 cm and three times weekly at 1.90 cm and fertilized with 146, 292, 585, or 1171 kg ha-1 yr-1. Digital images were taken before and after simulated traffic to provide a quantitative value for percent coverage. Images were analyzed for percent green canopy coverage using Sigma Scan Pro. The number of green pixels was divided by the total image pixels a yielding a percent coverage value. Shoot density, visual quality, tissue water content, and tissue dry mass values were taken monthly. Percent tissue nitrogen was taken for three months. Analysis of digital images revealed variability in traffic injury tolerance between varieties. Tifsport, GN-1, and Princess maintained higher percent coverage than NuMex Sahara. GN-1, Princess, and Tifsport were able to tolerate traffic but did not maintain acceptable quality. Lower and more frequent mowing increased shoot density and visual quality for all grasses. Increased nitrogen fertility levelsincreased tissue succulence and tissue dry mass but did not affect the traffic tolerance of any variety. Increasing nitrogen fertility above 585 kg ha-1 yr-1 showed no benefit other than increasing visual color. This research provides a guide for managers to make informed decisions on cultivar selection and management practices under traffic conditions.
Robinson, William Dustan (2003). Traffic tolerance and recovery of bermudagrass. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from