Drought Response of Fine Fescue Mixtures Maintained as a Golf Course Fairway

Reiter, M., Friell, J., Horgan, B., Soldat, D. and Watkins, E. (2017)

International Turfgrass Society Research Journal


Fine fescues (Festuca spp.) may provide acceptable turf quality and playability on golf course fairways with lower irrigation inputs. Information on fine fescue fairways is limited and these species are not widely used as fairway turfgrass in the United States. The objective of this project was to evaluate the green cover of fine fescue species as fairway turfgrass under an acute drought and access their ability to recover. Twenty-five mixtures were developed with a simplex-centroid design using ‘Treazure II’ Chewings fescue [Festuca rubra ssp. commutata (Thuill.) Nyman], ‘Beacon’ hard fescue [Festuca trachyphylla (Hack.) Krajina], ‘Navigator II’ strong creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra ssp. rubra Gaudin), ‘Shoreline’ slender creeping red fescue [Festuca rubra ssp. litoralis (G.F.W. Meyer) Auquier], and ‘Quatro’ sheep fescue (Festuca ovina L.). Experiments were seeded in fall 2014 at both St. Paul, MN, and Madison, WI. After 10 mo of establishment, rainout shelters were used to employ a 60-d drought on each trial during summer 2015. Plots were not trafficked. Data collected included percentage green cover as determined by digital image analysis. Analysis of variance indicated significant differences in mixture treatments, but means separation with Fisher's protected LSD showed that many monocultures performed generally similar to seed mixtures. A marginal effects summary revealed no differences among individual species, with one exception. Sheep fescue and slender creeping red fescue, when in the same mixture, had a negative interaction effect for recovery after drought. This interaction was significantly lower than the all five species coefficients included in the model, based on a 90% confidence interval. Overall, this study found that fine fescues are able to survive a 60-d drought period under North Central US summer conditions.

Share Your Research

Send us your research now