Evaluation of ornamental grasses submitted to water stress
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The work was carried out at the College of Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences of the State University of São Paulo (UNESP/FCAV), Campus of Jaboticabal, Brazil, aiming to study the tolerance response to water stress and capacity of regeneration after mowing three different ornamental grasses used in Brazilian landscaping: Imperial zoysia grass (Zoysia japonica 'Imperial'), zoysia grass (Zoysia japonica) and St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum). The experimental design was entirely randomized in a factorial scheme 33 (three grass species: Zoysia japonica 'Imperial', Zoysia japonica and Stenotaphrum secundatum; in three water stress conditions: under full sun, with and without irrigation, and under greenhouse conditions without irrigation) with four replications per plot. The irrigation was performed using microsprinklers with a flow of 0.28 L s-1, and the grasses of all plots were mowed monthly. The evaluations were executed monthly, before mowing the grass, in the beginning of each season, that means, in October (for Spring evaluation), January (for Summer), April (for Autumn) and July (for Winter), considering the Brazilian climate conditions. The evaluated parameters were shoot height and total dry mass. The data were submitted to the variance analysis and the means were compared by the Tukey test at 5% confidence level. The grasses grown under greenhouse conditions, without irrigation, showed higher height and lower dry mass weight averages, what possibly indicates that the plants etiolated. The grasses grown under full sun, either with or without irrigation, showed a similar plant development. The S. secundatum species showed greater tolerance to water stress in October, month that followed the longest dry period. The total dry mass was gradually reduced during the experiment for all grasses grown under greenhouse conditions without irrigation; however, a great general tolerance to water stress was observed for all grasses because all of them survived along nine months without irrigation.
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