3rd UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Bishow Poudel
Session Name Posters - Water Conservation and Use 2
Category Water Conservation and Use
Poster Number 78
Author(s) Bishow Poudel,  University of Florida (Presenting Author)
  Diane  Rowland,  University of Florida
  Kevin Kenworthy, University of Florida
  A Study on Root Morphological and Physiological Characteristics of Warm Season Turf Grass Species for Their Field Drought Performancee
  Root morphology is considered important in selecting for field drought performance of warm season turfgrass species. There is considerable variability among turfgrass genotypes in their rooting behavior. A mini-Rhizotron camera system was used to study rooting behavior of two commercial warm season turf grass species from April to June, 2011 at the University of Florida turfgrass research center. The mini-rhizotron technology has been widely used to study root morphological parameters in situ and in a non-destructive manner for crops and natural plant populations but has rarely been used in turfgrass. The technology allows the measurement of rooting depth, diameter, volume and surface area that can be further correlated with a plant’s relative ability to extract nutrients and water from the soil. Using this technology, we evaluated the effect of mowing height on the two turfgrass species, St. Augustine and Bermudagrass. We found that higher mowing heights promoted better root growth, development and proliferation; while higher mowing height reduced average root diameter. Similarly, lower mowing heights were associated with poor root growth and development, but the average root diameter was comparatively higher in lower mowing heights. This suggests that lower mowing heights were associated with decreased new root growth and may have a significant impact on decreasing the drought tolerance of a turfgrass species.