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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #335411

Research Project: Utilization of the G x E x M Framework to Develop Climate Adaptation Strategies for Temperate Agricultural Systems

Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources Research

Title: Turfgrass and climate change

item Hatfield, Jerry

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2017
Publication Date: 7/1/2017
Citation: Hatfield, J.L. 2017. Turfgrass and climate change. Agronomy Journal. 109:1708-1718. doi: 10.2134/agronj2016.10.0626.

Interpretive Summary: Turfgrass occupies a large amount of area that is valuable to the social and ecosystem services for the United States. The projected climate change to occur over the next decades will impact turfgrass as well as other biological systems. Increasing temperatures, changing seasonality of precipitation along with more total precipitation and greater chances of extreme precipitation events and increasing carbon dioxide will effect turfgrass growth and viability of turfgrass plantings. This information is compiled as an effort to determine what could be effective adaptation strategies for turfgrass management. Turfgrass species are divided by their temperature response into cool-season and warm-season species and with the increasing temperatures, the extent of the cool-season species may decrease with more warm-season species being able to survive in more northern latitudes. A challenge for future management will be to identify turfgrass varieties capable of withstanding water and temperature stress and linking these attributes with pest management practices. This information will be valuable to turfgrass managers and researchers to understand how climate change will affect future management practices.

Technical Abstract: Climate change is occurring and is manifesting its impact on biological systems through increased temperatures, precipitation, and carbon dioxide. These effects have been documented for a few agricultural species, primarily the grain crops and pasture and rangeland species. The extension of these relationships to turfgrass has been limited; however, these plants are an important part of our ecosystems and preservation of these plantings adds to the social value and ecosystem services. Turfgrass species can be divided into cool-season and warm-season species and the projected changes in temperature at 2020 and 2090 reveal that there will be a northward migration of warm-season turfgrass because of the maximum air temperatures along with increased root zone temperatures. Precipitation is projected to increase on an annual basis with a shift in seasonality with more spring precipitation and overall more intense precipitation events. This will challenge turfgrass management to ensure that there is adequate soil water in the root zone and selection of varieties or species with greater drought tolerance in the warmer regions will be necessary to preserve turfgrass plantings. Increases in CO2 will benefit turfgrass growth and more importantly positively affect water use efficiency, which in turn, will decrease the impact of a more variable precipitation regime because of the impact on the rate of soil water use. The evidence of genotypic variation in response to soil water deficits provides an impetus for screening to alleviate climatic stresses. Turfgrass management under climate change will become more challenging with increases in abiotic and biotic stresses.