In the first study, Mechenes looked at blue grama cultivars in order to determine which type provided the best coverage for the plots at the Landscape Horticulture Research Center in Urbana. Each of the plots had either 11 or 13 treatments of blue grama, buffalo grass or a combination of blue grama and buffalo grass. Each trial had three replications.
Once a week, Mechenes went out to visually inspect the plots and rate them by percent of coverage. The plots had minor irrigation needs and were mowed and applied with herbicide to reduce weed invasion. The first study was planted in the 2006 growing season and was repeated in June 2007. Mechenes said that the study in 2006 didn't receive a pre-emergent herbicide application and consequently had a lot of weed competition. The study in 2007 received a treatment of the herbicide Plateau and was much taller, greener, healthier-looking grass.
Some of the varieties had a hard time getting started but by the end of the growing season, but most had excellent coverage of 80 percent or more.
The goal of the second study was to find out which seeding rate provided the best cover using 4 different seeding rates and then repeated 5 times in each plot. 10, 20, 25, and 30 pounds of seed per acre.
"The results showed that blue grama and Cody buffalo grass had the best coverage thick and beautiful -- and that the plots using 30 pounds of seed per acre established quicker but by the end of the study there was no difference in the coverage between the 20 and 30 pounds. So, the recommendation is to use 20 pounds of seed per acre because it's less seed, costs less and uses less labor to plant," said Mechenes.
Mechenes plans to create a website which wi
|Contact: Debra Levey Larson|
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign