North Dakota State University * Dickinson Research Extension Center
1089 State Avenue, Dickinson, ND 58601-4642 Voice: (701) 483-2348 FAX:
TURFGRASS PLANTINGS AND HORTICULTURAL EVALUATIONS
Ronald C. Smith, NDSU Extension Horticulturist Department of Plant
Jerry Larson, Stark-Billings County Agent
Horticultural evaluations were undertaken starting in 1993 on turfgrass species and
cultivars. A total of 16 plots, each replicated 3 times, were successfully established
consisting of Kentucky bluegrasses, fine fescues, bentgrasses, red top, and tall fescue
During the summer of 1994, turfgrass trials were expanded another 8 plots, again with
triple replications consisting of different cultivars of the same species. These plots are
still in the process of becoming established.
These trials were expanded in 1994 to include a planting of wildflowers, vegetables,
flowers, and ornamental grasses. A large portion of the non-planted area was also sown
with hairy vetch in early August to initiate efforts at sustainable production with annual
crops of flowers and vegetables.
The value of these efforts will be multi-fold:
- They will allow the residents to witness the differences between grass species and
cultivars under "standard normal care". This will provide them with choices from
an aesthetic and input requirement standpoint.
- The vegetable and flower demonstrations go beyond cosmetics. They show what can be
produced in the short summer months and what cannot. The rotations with hairy vetch will
demonstrate that production can be sustained with a large reduction or possible
elimination of chemical inputs.
- They will be used for in-service training, as part of the Annual Crops Field Day,
Professional Improvement, and as a source of information and education for other agencies
in the area.
- Demonstrate the feasability of growing various horticultural crops with minimal,
- Describe the effects that the wildflower planting will have in regards to Integrated
Pest Management (IPM).
- Stimulate interest in wildflowers as an alternate choice in landscaping that would be
- Recommend to local residents and growers alike, which species and cultivars of
horticultural crops can be successfully grown for either increasing the beauty of their
property, or for entrepreneurial pursuits.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
Turfgrass materials used:
Seed - 1993 Planting
- `Reliant' Hard Fescue
- `Valda' Hard Fescue
- `VNS' Red Top
- `Cindy' Creeping Red Fescue
- `VNS' Sheep Fescue
- `SD Common' Kentucky Bluegrass
- `Supranova' Poa supina Bluegrass
- `9032' Hard Fescue
- `Bamcuda' Red Top
- `Ky 31' Tall Fescue
- `Triple A' Tall Fescue
- `Amigo' Tall Fescue
- `Ariba' Tall Fescue
- `9061' Colonial Bentgrass
- `Exeter' Colonial Bentgrass
Seed - 1994 Planting
- `Rebel II' Tall Fescue
- `1757' Kentucky Bluegrass
- `Rebel Jr' Tall Fescue
- `Touchdown' Kentucky Bluegrass
- `Palmer II Perennial Ryegrass
- 'Jamestown II' Chewings Fescue
- `Covar' Sheep Fescue
- `Ram I' Kentucky Bluegrass
Vegetative Planting - 1994
- Portable water tractor following garden hose layout. Plans are for an automatic
irrigation system to be installed to facilitate more accurate irrigation scheduling and
- Fountain Grass, Miscanthus, Blue Fescue, Great Basin, Quaking Grass, Mountain Brome,
Blue Bunch, Alpine Bluegrass, Lemon Balm, Basil, Marigolds, Cerastium, Portulaca, Yarrow,
Shasta Daisy, Boltonia, Petunias, Zinnias, Salvia, Pansies, Tulips, Hyacinths, Allium,
Garlic and Daffodils.
- Sweet Corn - Seneca Horizon, Extra Sweet, NK-199
- Beans - Tender Green, Royal Burgundy
- Pumpkin - Connecticut Field, Jack-Be-Little, Autumn Gold
- Squash - Sweet Mama, Table Queen, Dakota Grey
- Cucumber - Marketmore, Straight 8
- Watermelon - Yellow Baby
- Ornamental Gourds
- Kohlrabi - White and Purple
- Peppers - Chili, Cayenne
- Tomatoes - Cannonball, Sheyenne, Golden Hybrid, Supersteak Hybrid, Mountain Gold,
Santiago, Good N Early, Oregon Spring
- * Note: The produce that was harvested was donated to a local charity.
- A mixture for dry summers, consisting of: Arroyo Lupine, Scarlet Flax, Prairie Aster,
Painted Daisy, California Poppy, Blazing Star, California Blue Bell, Plains Coreopsis,
Yellow Prairie Coneflower, White Yarrow, Showy Evening Primrose. The 1993 plantings
established satisfactorily this year. The 1994 plantings are yet to be established.
- Hand planted August 25th, after treatment with inoculum. The seed was impressed into
good contact with the soil by using a 4-wheel ATV. Germination was slow initially, due to
the dry conditions for approximately 3 weeks. But, with additional precipitation and an
extended growing season, a good stand was established going into the winter.
- The grass seed was sown by hand into 8' X 10' plots, watered and mowed as needed, and
fertilized twice a growing season - spring and fall.
- Tomatoes, pepper, kohlrabi, and leeks were transplants, the rest direct seeded. All
transplants were watered in with Miracle Grow. Plants and seedlings were watered when
- Herbaceous plantings were all transplants, and because of their proximity to the water
source, did not experience significant drought or heat stress.
- Wildflowers were mixed with sand and the seed passed through a drop spreader. They did
not receive any supplemental water.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION:
Where the 1993 planting effort netted an excellent stand of grass, the 1994 undertaking
resulted in a heavy infestation of weeds choking out the grass. Some chemical control was
attempted using Confront and Trimec, but it appears as if a major reseeding will be needed
in 1995 to get a decent stand. Trimec appeared to be more effective on dwarf mallow, while
this same weed escaped any stand reduction with Confront. Purslane and redroot pigweed
were wiped out by both herbicides. Because of the heavy weed infestation, a major
reseeding will be undertaken in the spring of 1995. No evaluation of this planting was
We were able to evaluate the 1993 planting a couple of times and found the ranking as
follows - from best to worst:
- SD Common Kentucky Bluegrass
- Hard Fescues - Reliant, Valda, and 9032
- Tall Fescues - Ariba, Amigo, Triple A Blend
- Cindy Creeping Red Fescue
- VNS Red Fescue, VNS Sheep Fescue
- Colonial Bents - Exeter, 9081
- VNS Red Top
- Supranova Bluegrass
- Ky 31 Tall Fescue
We feel that the ratings were good enough for the first five species to be considered
for use as turfgrass. The others would be deemed unacceptable. In all fairness,
Buffalograss typically establishes poorly from seed. Hence, the transplanting of plugs
this summer which, as stated earlier, are doing quite well.
- All established satisfactorily and looked good throughout the remainder of the growing
season. This area is being expanded next year with spring bulbs and more perennials.
- The vegetable plantings were put in too late this year, although most performed
satisfactorily. We will attempt to rotate the various vegetable species to give home
gardener and commercial grower a broad pallet to select from. No attempts are made to
quantify production on a per acre basis.
- Wildflower seed was planted twice with no results showing by the end of the growing
season. It is hoped the seed is still viable, and will establish for us next season.
- Hairy vetch was planted in late August and is emerging non-uniformly to about 6 to 9
inches in height. Due to the dry month, emergence was slow, even with hand irrigation. The
intent behind this planting is to get a cover crop established before winter closes in.
The nodulation will hopefully fix ample nitrogen and other nutrients for our spring
planting of vegetables in 1995. Research reports that with an August planting of hairy
vetch, nitrogen yielded should be about 60 pounds/acre, or almost 1.4 pounds per 1000
- Because of the cover provided by the fall and early spring growth of the vetch, weed
pressure should be significantly reduced, giving a competitive advantage to the desirable
crop, whether it be vegetables or grass seed.
- Procedure calls for the vetch to be mowed in the spring, and planting directly in the
litter for maximum nutrient availability and weed control.
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