Effect of excess soil water on the development of Bermuda grass (Cynodon spp.)
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Soil drainage is an important technique in the construction of a sports lawn and information about the sensitivity of the crop to excess water influences the design of the project. Assuming that excess water affects the development of the grass and that the indices SEW30 (Sum of Excess Water above 0.30 m depth) and SDI (Stress-Day Index) are sensitive to the variables of development of the crop, the objective was to identify the sensitivity of Bermuda grass to the excess of water. The experimental design was completely randomized with five treatments and four repetitions. The treatments consisted of groundwater elevations: 0 cm d (at the level of the drains - control); 180 cm d (at 0.20 m from the soil surface); 270 cm d (at 0.15 m from the soil surface); 360 cm d (at 0.10 m from the soil surface); and 450 cm d (at 0.05 m from the soil surface), carried out fortnightly, lasting three days. The variables used to test the treatment were root length, photosynthesis rate, dry mass of roots, stolons, rhizomes, culms and leaves and dry mass of grass clippings. Stress caused by excess water near the soil surface reduced root length, dry mass of culms and leaves, and photosynthesis rate; Bermuda grass was more sensitive to excess water in its initial vegetative stage, which occurs until 42 days after planting; and the photosynthesis rate in the treatment with highest stress level decreased by approximately by 2/3 when compared to the condition of no water table.