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Ultradwarf Bermudagrass Performance as Influenced by Cultivar Selection and Cultural Management Practice
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Assigned to Associate Editor Benjamin G. Wherley
Ultradwarf bermudagrass (UDB) [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy] cultivars are prolific thatch producers, a trait linked to decreased playability and plant health. A 2-yr study was conducted to evaluate impacts of cultural management practice and cultivar selection on plant health and playability of ‘Champion’ and ‘MiniVerde’ UDB cultivars. Cultural management practices included standard weekly applications of vertical mow (VM); weekly applications of VM with once monthly substitutions of alternative slice, spike, and scarify practices; and once monthly applications of slice, spike, and scarify practices alone. Plant health was assessed as turf quality and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and playability as ball roll distance and surface firmness. Additional assessments included uncompressed thatch depths, root length, and root weight. Standard VM practices provided the lowest turf quality and the firmest golf green surfaces; once monthly applications of alternative slice, spike, and scarify practices provided the highest turf quality and the softest golf green surfaces; and once monthly substitutions of slice, spike, and scarify practices in weekly VM regimes provided an intermediate level of turf quality and golf green surface firmness. The turf quality of MiniVerde was generally higher than that of Champion. The NDVI was similar between the two cultivars, but greater NDVI was observed on Champion during late-season months of 2012. Neither cultural management practices nor cultivar selection affected thatch depth, root length, root weight, or ball roll distance. These results support previous UDB management studies and further suggest that alternative approaches to standard VM practices may be necessary to optimize UDB performance.