Susana Milla-Lewis, Casey Reynolds, and Carolina Zuleta


Open for the first year, are the NCSU turfgrass breeding program’s plots. Current research includes evaluation of advanced Zoysiagrass materials for adaptability to North Carolina, evaluation of Bermudagrass germplasm collected from South Africa for their ability to grow under shade, and selection for drought tolerance in tall fescue.  


Evaluation of advanced Zoysiagrass materials for cold hardiness in North Carolina:

An agreement was worked out with the Texas AgriLife system with the purpose of evaluating some of their breeding materials for their adaptability to North Carolina. Thirty entries developed by the Texas AgriLife and Kansas State University breeding programs are currently being grown along cultivars Meyer, Zorro, and Palisades at two locations, the Sandhills Research Station in Jackson Springs, NC, and the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station in Fletcher, NC. Entries are laid out in 7’ x 7’ plots in three replications.


Jackson Springs, NC


Fletcher, NC


Entries will be evaluated for percent coverage at the end of season one, leaf texture, genetic color, overall turf quality, percent winter injury, spring green-up, and fall color.


Evaluation of Bermudagrass Germplasm for Shade Tolerance:

This research will evaluate nine bermudagrass germplasm accessions collected in South Africa for their ability to grow under low light intensity. These accessions were collected from areas under severe shade and are expected to have some level of genetic shade tolerance.



                                  Jackson Springs NC

                                    Jackson Springs, NC          



   Raleigh, NC

Shade structures have been built at the Sandhills and Lake Wheeler research stations in order to evaluate these materials along with three standard cultivars (Celebration, Tifway 419, and TifGrand) under two levels, 60% and 80%, of shade. The design is a split plot with levels of shade as the main plot and genotype as the sub-plot. Plots were established at both locations during this summer. Data on rate of establishment will be collected monthly. During the summer of 2011, holes will be made in the center of each plot using cup cutters. Each hole will be filled with white sand. Percent re-growth will be measured in each hole by digital imaging at 21 day intervals during active growth. Additionally, data will be collected on leaf color and on common adaptive responses of plants to low irradiance such as increases in leaf-area ratio, leaf-to-stem mass ratio, and stem length, and decreases in specific leaf weight, plant dry weight, and root growth relative to shoot growth. 


Selection for Drought Tolerance in Tall Fescue:

A total of 204 populations of tall fescue were planted at the Sandhills research station in 3’ x 3’ plots. A rain-out shelter was erected on top of these plots in order to exert severe selection pressure for drought and heat. At the end of the summer, surviving tillers will be selected and used as parents to develop new populations. Several cycles of selection and crossing will be carried out with the purpose of developing cultivars with improved heat and drought tolerance.       


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