Recurrent restricted phenotypic selection for improving stand establishment of Bahiagrass

Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flügge) is an important perennial forage grass for the southeastern United States, being well adapted to conditions such as sandy or poorly drained soils, drought, and heavy continuous grazing. Current bahiagrass cultivars germinate over an extended period of time and the slow emergence produces incomplete stands, allowing weeds to compete and delaying grazing or first cutting for hay. A recurrent restricted phenotypic selection (RRPS) program began in 1996 and continued for four cycles for improving the emergence and establishment rates within Tifton 9 bahiagrass (‘Pensacola’ type). The resulting cycle-4 (C4) rapid-emergence ‘TifQuik’ was then increased and tested for seedling emergence, vigor, and establishment. TifQuik had a fourfold improvement of emergence compared to Tifton 9 after 1 wk in greenhouse trials. Emergence rates after 1 and 2 wk were significantly greater for TifQuik compared to Tifton 9 in replicated field trials. Plant heights after 3 wk from planting were 0.12 m for TifQuik versus 0.08 m for Tifton 9. The first-harvest dry-matter yield of TifQuik was 3128 kg ha–1 compared with 1539 kg ha–1 for Tifton 9 and the total establishment year dry-matter yields were 9230 kg ha–1 and 7466 kg ha–1 for TifQuik and Tifton 9, respectively. TifQuik had greater first-clipping yields than Tifton 9 at Ona, FL, in 2005. The accelerated emergence and establishment of TifQuik will be useful in sod-based rotation systems with cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) and peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.).

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