Submitted to: North American Agroforestry Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/4/2009
Publication Date: 5/31/2009
Citation: Burner, D.M., West, C.P. 2009. Selection of Shade Tolerant Tall Fescue Genotypes. North American Agroforestry Conference. 2008.
Technical Abstract: Tall fescue (Schedonorus arundinaceus) is genetically variable for many agronomic traits, so it might be possible to increase its persistence and productivity in shaded agroforestry applications. The objective of this research was to identify high yielding, shade-tolerant genotypes. Seed was obtained from eight families: seven plant introductions of European origin: 234718, 234720, 234882, 234884, 235018, 235019, 235036, and one cultivar (KY-31). Two sequential experiments were conducted to select genotypes for dry mass yield during April to September. Experiment (Exp) 1 included 40 random genotypes of each of the eight families in each of two environments: artificially shaded with fabric (60% shade) and non-shaded. Maximum and minimum yields were 94 and 47 g/family for KY-31 and 235036, respectively. After 1 yr, the proportion of vigorous survivors in Exp 1 was greater in the non-shaded than shaded environment (40 and 9 percent, respectively), and ranged from 0 to 56 percent (235036 to KY-31, respectively). Forty robust genotypes (one later died) from four families (234718, 234720, 235019, and KY31) were selected from shaded and non-shaded treatments of Exp 1, clonally propagated, and evaluated in pots for 2 yr in Exp 2. All genotypes contained the endophyte Neotyphodium coenophialum. Shade yield of Exp 2 was not affected by family or Exp 1 selection environment. Two-year mean yields in Exp 2 were normally distributed with a mean of 29 g, and range of 18 to 39 g. Eleven genotypes in the top quartile (yield greater than or equal to 33 g) were selected for further testing (two to four genotypes per family). Future research will include measuring yield in shaded, water-stressed conditions of a tree understory. Vigorous, shade tolerant germplasm developed from this study could improve forage productivity in agroforestry practices.