|Morris, Kevin -|
Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2009
Publication Date: January 15, 2010
Citation: Bushman, B.S., Morris, K. 2010. Developing Drought Tolerant and Salt-Resistant Turfgrasses. Turf and Environmental Research Online 9(2):1-7. Popular Publication. Technical Abstract: Potable water used for turfgrass irrigation is either being reduced or eliminated in many areas of the U.S. In some areas, turfgrass managers must use low-quality, often saline, non-potable water for irrigation. Therefore, the development of drought tolerant and salt-resistant grasses is extremely important for the turfgrass industry. The USDA-ARS Forage and Range Research Lab (FRRL) in Logan, UT, is actively involved in many aspects of the identification and development of drought tolerant germplasm. In 1999, they released an improved crested wheatgrass cultivar, 'RoadCrest' and are working on the development of an improved cultivar, 'RoadCrest II'. Recently, the lab investigated the salt tolerance of Kentucky bluegrass and identified Kentucky bluegrasses that tolerate irrigation water with a salt content of up to 5 d Sm-1. In addition, they are researching the genetic mechanisms that control salt tolerance and are working to develop genomic tools for Kentucky bluegrass. To further enhance turfgrass, the FRRL staff has collected unique drought tolerant germplasm from Russia and Eurasia. Over 350 accessions from eight different grass genera are being evaluated for various low input traits in Logan, UT. The most promising of these plants will be used to develop enhanced drought tolerant germplasm.