Performance of low-input turfgrass species as affected by mowing and nitrogen fertilization in minnesota

Kari L. Hugie, Eric Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In Minnesota, most lawns and higher cut turfgrass areas consist primarily of species such as kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) that require significant management inputs such as frequent mowing and nitrogen fertility. Several studies have shown that other species have the potential to be used more widely on home lawns in Minnesota; however, little is known about the management requirements of these species. In this study, we evaluated the performance of several alternative grass species under varying mowing and nitrogen fertility regimes at two sites in Minnesota in 2010 and 2011. Hard fescue [Festuca trachyphylla (Hackel) Krajina] showed the most consistent performance across management regimes, seasons, and locations. Colonial bentgrass (Agrostis tenuis Sibth.) showed good spring and fall turf quality, but suffered from excess thatch development and disease incidence. ‘Barkoel’ prairie junegrass [Koeleria macrantha (Ledeb.) Schult] maintained acceptable turf cover throughout the trial, whereas unimproved native prairie junegrass populations did poorly regardless of management level. Tufted hairgrass [Deschampsia cespitosa (L.) P. Beauv.] did not performconsistently in the trial due to summer stress. Our results show that hard fescue, colonial bentgrass, and ‘Barkoel’ prairie junegrass performed well regardless of mowing height or fertility treatment and could be used to a greater degree as low-input turfgrasses in Minnesota.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1278-1286
Number of pages9
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This material is based on research supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under agreement no. 2009-34381-20044.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, American Society for Horticultural Science. All rights reserved.


  • Colonial bentgrass
  • Hard fescue
  • Mowing
  • Nitrogen fertilizer
  • Prairie junegrass
  • Tufted hairgrass


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