Date of Award

12-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Plant and Environmental Science

Advisor

Dr. L.B. McCarty

Committee Member

Dr. Christina Wells

Committee Member

Dr. Patrick Gerard

Abstract

St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze] generally has poor cold tolerance yet excellent shade tolerance. As mostly hot summers follow cold winters in USDA Hardiness Zone 7, severely damaging tall fescue [Festuca arundineacea Schreb.] and centipedegrass [Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro) Hack.], a St. Augustinegrass cultivar cold tolerant enough to be grown for shady lawns would greatly benefit both home owners and sod growers in USDA Hardiness Zone 7. Eight St. Augustinegrass samples were selected, including industry standards 'Raleigh' and 'Palmetto', for further testing from an established germplasm collection of material collected from lawns grown in USDA Hardiness Zone 7. Morphological differences, establishment rates, shade tolerance, and most importantly cold tolerance were evaluated through field trials, greenhouse trials, and growth chamber trials. When applicable experimental samples were compared to industry standards to determine either similar or improved performance. The studies revealed several germplasm samples with differences compared to industry standards indicating possible increased performance capabilities. These findings warrant further investigation and possible DNA testing to determine genetic differences.

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