Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Plant Sciences

Major Professor

John C. Sorochan

Committee Members

Melodee L. Fraser, Brandon J. Horvath, Thomas J. Samples


As restrictions on water, fertilizer, and pesticide use increase, along with public pressure, turfgrass practitioners will need ways to meet the challenges of reduced inputs while still maintaining acceptable turf quality. Proper selection of turfgrass species and cultivars that are adapted to the climate, intended use, and level of expectation is the best and first line of defense for reduced input situations. The objective of this study was to evaluate alternative species from the bluegrass (Poa) genus for their performance as both permanent and temporary winter turfgrass species. In 2010 and 2011, 45 different treatments consisting of 37 different bluegrasses were established from seed in greenhouse grown plugs and transplanted into native soil in Knoxville, TN. Each treatment was evaluated monthly for percent green cover for a one year period. Bluegrasses were grouped by growth habit. In both years P. stiriaca Fritsch & Hayek and P. maniototo Petrie were in the top statistical category along with three cultivars of Kentucky bluegrass (P. pratensis L.) and one hybrid (P. arachnifera Torr. x P. pratensis). This indicated that there were alternative Poa species capable of maintaining cover similar to that of Kentucky bluegrass. A second study initiated in 2010 and repeated in 2011 examined P. nemoralis L. for its performance as a winter overseeding species on three bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) systems; putting greens, fairways, and sports fields. P. supina Shrad. was tested only on a putting green, where it was found to both establish and transition too slowly, while being over competitive against the bermudagrass. P. nemoralis provided acceptable cover in the 2010 season and transitioned well without the use of herbicides; however, during the 2011 season this species failed to provide acceptable cover. In the fairway and sports turf studies, perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) and intermediate ryegrass (L. perenne x L. multiflorum L.) maintained the highest percent green cover. P. nemoralis did not provide acceptable cover in either year of both studies.

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