Exploring fine fescues as an option for low-input golf greens in the north-central USA

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There is a need to reduce inputs on golf course putting greens. In the north-central United States, the use of alternative species, like fine fescues (Festuca spp.), could be part of a solution, but information is needed on management and cultivar choices. Our objectives were twofold: (a) to compare performance of fine fescues (strong creeping red [Festuca rubra L. ssp. rubra Gaudin, STF], slender creeping red [Festuca rubra L. ssp. littoralis (G. Mey.) Auquier, SLF], Chewings [Festuca rubra L. ssp. commutata Gaudin, CHF], and hard fescue [Festuca brevipila Tracey, HDF]) to bentgrasses (creeping bentgrass [Agrostis stolonifera L., CRB], and colonial bentgrass [Agrostis capillaris L., CLB]) managed as low-input greens treated with 0, 48.9, 97.7, or 195.3 kg N ha−1 yr−1 during 2017–2018; and (b) to evaluate multiple fine fescue cultivars for multiyear performance when maintained as low-input greens in St. Paul, MN. In 2017, CHF and SLF maintained the highest quality of the fine fescues and maintained higher quality at low N compared with both bentgrasses, primarily due to less dollar spot (Clarireedia spp.). During 2018, fine fescue responses to N were similar to those in 2017, but summer patch (Magnaporthe spp.) disease resulted in decline of some taxa. In the cultivar study, top-performing cultivars were CHF, most of which performed similarly. However, SLF and STF cultivars performed more variably. Chewings fescue and SLF maintained with 48.9–97.7 kg N ha−1 yr−1 may be alternatives to CRB for low-input greens in the north-central United States, primarily due to reduced dollar spot.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCrop Science
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents Association and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station Project no. MIN‐21‐051. The authors would like to thank Matthew Cavanaugh, Andrew Hollman, Jonah Reyes, and the late Craig Krueger for their assistance with initiation and maintenance of these research plots.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Crop Science © 2020 Crop Science Society of America

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