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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Crop Genetics and Breeding Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #312932

Research Project: Genetic Enhancement and Management of Warm-Season Species for Forage, Turf and Renewable Energy

Location: Crop Genetics and Breeding Research

Title: Response of selected bermudagrass cultivars to bermudagrass stem maggot damage

Author
item BAXTER, L - University Of Georgia
item HANCOCK, D - University Of Georgia
item HUDSON, W - University Of Georgia
item Anderson, William - Bill
item SCHWARTZ, B - University Of Georgia

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/8/2015
Publication Date: 10/19/2015
Citation: Baxter, L.L., Hancock, D.W., Hudson, W.G., Anderson, W.F., Schwartz, B.M. 2015. Response of selected bermudagrass cultivars to bermudagrass stem maggot damage. Crop Science. 55(6):2682-2689.

Interpretive Summary: Bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.) is an important perennial grass forage for livestock in southern United States. The bermudagrass stem maggot (BSM; Atherigona reversura Villeneuve) is a new insect pest that has caused extensive damage in grazing and hay fields throughout the South. The objectives of this research were to compare damage among selected bermudagrass cultivars and quantify the presence of BSM, and determine correlations between BSM presence and damage on selected bermudagrass cultivars. Eight Cynodon cultivars were used in this study. Flies collected from infested fields were placed in mesh cages six times throughout the 4-wk growing period with potted bermudagrass cultivars, which were grown in the greenhouse. At the end of each growth period, the forage was harvested and plant morphological characteristics were analyzed. The number and percent of bermudagrass branches damaged depended upon cultivar, with cultivars with higher branch density exhibiting the greatest damage. An average 7.7% decrease in total dry biomass was observed for all cultivars in this study. Presence of the BSM was coincident with a lower branch number, increased branch diameter, and darker leaf color, yet no difference in weight branch-1 was observed. The results showed that cultivars with coarse leaves and stems are less susceptible to damage by the BSM and should be employed in IPM strategies wherever these cultivars are adapted.

Technical Abstract: Information regarding the susceptibility of currently grown bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] cultivars to the bermudagrass stem maggot (BSM; Atherigona reversura Villeneuve) could aid forage producers with the implementation of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies to manage this exotic pest. The objectives of this research were to compare the severity of damage among selected cultivars, quantify the phenotypic variation in cultivar response to the BSM, and assess the fecundity of the BSM on selected bermudagrass cultivars. Eight Cynodon cultivars were used in this study. Flies collected from infested fields were introduced six times throughout the 4-wk growing period to the cultivars, which were grown in the greenhouse and contained in acetate and mesh enclosures. At the end of each growth period, the forage was harvested and morphological characteristics were analyzed. The number and percent of tillers damaged depended upon cultivar, with cultivars with higher tiller density exhibiting the greatest damage. An average 7.7% decrease in total dry biomass was observed for all cultivars in this study. Presence of the BSM was coincident with a lower tiller count, increased tiller diameter, and darker leaf color, yet no difference in weight tiller-1 was observed. The results showed that stargrass and ‘Tifton 68’ (C. nlemfuensis Vanderyst) and hybrids of C. dactylon with C. nlemfuensis, including ‘Coastcross-II’ and ‘Tifton 85’ are less susceptible to damage by the BSM and should be employed in IPM strategies wherever these cultivars are adapted.