Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 18, 2009
Publication Date: October 9, 2009
Citation: Robins, J.G., Bushman, B.S., Waldron, B.L., Johnson, P.G. 2009. Variation within Poa Germplasm for Salinity Tolerance. HortScience. 44:1517-1521. Interpretive Summary: Turfgrass irrigation with recycled water is a potential method of reducing primary water usage for landscape purposes. To facilitate this, turfgrass varieties with increased salinity tolerance are necessary. This study evaluated sources of Kentucky bluegrass, and other bluegrasses, for salinity tolerance. The objective was to identify bluegrass germplasm with increased salinity tolerance for use in breeding programs. Several Kentucky bluegrass germplasms were identified with salinity tolerance comparable to that of tall fescue. Thus, selection within these germplasms should result in Kentucky bluegrass varieties with increased salinity tolerance.
Technical Abstract: As competition for water resources in areas of western North America intensify due to increasing human populations, the sustainability of turfgrass irrigation with limited water resources is questionable. A potential part of the solution is the use of recycled wastewater for landscape irrigation. However, due to high levels of salt, successful irrigation with recycled wastewater will likely need to be coupled with selection for increased salinity tolerance in turfgrass species. The study described herein characterized the relative salinity tolerance of 93 accessions of Poa germplasm from the USDA National Plant Germplasm System. Check cultivars of tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceae), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) were also evaluated for comparison. Five Kentucky bluegrass accessions exhibited salinity tolerance equal to, or better than that of, the tall fescue and perennial ryegrass checks. Thus, there is sufficient variation within this germplasm to develop bluegrass with substantially higher salinity tolerance.