Long-term Performance of Warm-season Turfgrass Species under Municipal Irrigation Frequency Restrictions Academic Article uri icon


  • Landscape irrigation frequency restrictions are commonly imposed by water purveyors and municipalities to curtail domestic water use and to ensure adequate water supplies for growing populations during times of drought. Currently, published data are lacking concerning irrigation frequency requirements necessary for sustaining acceptable levels of turfgrass quality of commonly used warm-season turfgrass species. The objective of this 3-year field study was to determine comparative turfgrass quality of drought-resistant cultivars of four warm-season lawn species in the southcentral United States under irrigation frequency regimes of 0, 1, 2, 4, and 8 monthly. Turfgrasses used in the study were based on previously reported drought resistance and included Rileys Super Sport (Celebration) bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.], Palisades zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.), Floratam st. augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze], and SeaStar seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum Swartz). During each growing season, slightly reduced irrigation volumes and bypassed events resulted from the 8 monthly treatment (34.95 cm, 38.13 cm, and 27.33 cm) compared with the 4 monthly treatment (35.36 cm, 40.84 cm, and 28.70 cm) in years 1, 2, and 3, respectively. For the once weekly treatment, the average fraction of reference evapotranspiration (ETo) supplied by effective rainfall and irrigation during the summer months was 1.22, 0.67, and 0.83 in years 1, 2, and 3, respectively, and was generally adequate to support acceptable turfgrass quality of all warm-season turfgrasses evaluated. Under the less than weekly irrigation frequency, st. augustinegrass and seashore paspalum generally fell to below acceptable quality levels because the average fraction of ETo supplied by effective rainfall and irrigation during the summer months of years 2 and 3 was 0.51, 0.39, and 0.26 for the 2 monthly, 1 monthly, and unirrigated treatments, respectively. Bermudagrass generally outperformed all other species under the most restrictive irrigation frequencies and also did not differ statistically from zoysiagrass. These results show that as irrigation frequency is restricted to less than once per week, species selection becomes an important consideration.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 7

author list (cited authors)

  • Hejl, R. W., Wherley, B. G., & Fontanier, C. H.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Hejl, Reagan W||Wherley, Benjamin G||Fontanier, Charles H

publication date

  • October 2021