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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 68 No. 1, p. 83-85
     
    Published: Jan, 1976


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doi:10.2134/agronj1976.00021962006800010022x

Centipedegrass Cold Tolerance as Affected by Environmental Factors1

  1. W. J. Johnston and
  2. Ray Dickens2

Abstract

Abstract

Cenfipedegrass [Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro) Hack.] is an excellent lawn grass throughout much of the lower South. However, lack of cold tolerance has limited its use. An environmental chamber study was conducted to determine: 1) the rate at which cold tolerance is developed and lost in centipedegrass and 2) the effect of photoperiod and temperature on cold tolerance development in an effort to identify factors or conditions contributing to cold damage in centipedegrass.

Development of cold tolerance was determined by cold hardening (16 C day, 4 C night, 12-hour photoperiod) centipedegrass for 0, 10, 20, 30, or 40 days. Loss of cold tolerance was determined by transferring cold hardened plants to favorable growing conditions for 0, 2, 4, or 6 days. In the photoperiod-temperature study, plants received 8, 12, or 16 hours of light at 23 C followed by either a 23 C or 4 C night. In each study, following a 4-hour exposure at −7 C, plants were returned to favorable growing conditions. Foliage kill and survival were determined after 7 and 21 days, respectively.

Hardening periods greater than 10 days caused no increase in survival and only a slight reduction in top-kill. Cold tolerance was lost rapidly; i.e., cold hardened plants exposed to 2 days of favorable growing conditions showed the same injury as unhardened controls. Photoperiod alone did not affect cold tolerance; however, a combination of a low night temperature (4 C) and short photoperiod (8 hours of light) gave maximum cold tolerance. In conclusion, centipedegrass acquires and loses cold tolerance within a few days, an important consideration in the lower South where winters are often interrupted by periods of warm weather.

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