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Research Project: Genetic Improvement of Small Grains for Biotic and Abiotic Stress Tolerance and Characterization of Pathogen Populations

Location: Plant Science Research

Title: Athletic field paint color impacts transpiration and canopy temperature in bermudagrass

Author
item RENOLDS, W - Texas A&M University
item MILLER, GRADY - Texas A&M University
item Livingston, David
item RUFTY, THOMAS - North Carolina State University

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/25/2016
Publication Date: 5/20/2016
Citation: Renolds, W.C., Miller, G., Livingston, D.P., Rufty, T. 2016. Athletic field paint color impacts transpiration and canopy temperature in bermudagrass. Crop Science. 56:2016-2025.

Interpretive Summary: Turf grasses in Athletic fields are painted to allow various games to be played on them. This paint can damage the grass but damage is worse with some colors than others. Six colors were investigated for daily water loss and canopy temperature. Black and blue paints impacted transpiration rates and canopy temperature the most while yellow and white impacted plants the least. Histological analysis indicated that transpiration was affected because paints apparently clogged stomata preventing water movement into and out of leaves. Increased absorption of radiant energy coupled with limited evaporative cooling result in increased heat stress and decreased turfgrass performance in painted canopies.

Technical Abstract: Athletic field paints have varying impacts on turfgrass health which have been linked to their ability to alter photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and photosynthesis based on color. It was further hypothesized they may also alter transpiration and canopy temperature by disrupting gas exchange at the leaf surface. Growth chamber experiments evaluated the effects of air temperature and six colors of paint on daily water loss and canopy temperature in ‘Tifway’ bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. x C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy]. Daily water loss and canopy temperature were measured every 24 h using gravimetric techniques and an infrared digital thermometer, while lab experiments examined the thickness of white and black paint on the leaf surface. In un-painted bermudagrass canopies, daily water loss increased (P = 0.0001) with canopy temperature from 29 to 36oC while in painted bermudagrass canopies, it decreased (P = 0.0001) as canopy temperature increased from 29 to 40oC. Yellow and white impacted transpiration and canopy temperature the least, while black and blue caused the greatest reductions in transpiration and highest increases in canopy temperature. Cross-sections of painted Tifway indicate paint may limit evaporative cooling by clogging stomata. Increased absorption of radiant energy coupled with limited evaporative cooling result in increased heat stress and decreased turfgrass performance in painted canopies.