Differential Expression of Anthocyanin Among Bentgrass Cultivars

Anthocyanin production, or tissue purpling, in creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) is caused by a number of factors. However, what drives the production of these pigments is generally associated with early spring weather. These conditions typically include cool day and night temperatures, and are always associated with increasing day length and increasing light intensities. Essentially anthocyanins are being produced to help protect newer leaf tissue from the these changing environmental conditions. Still, the change in color can be off putting and worrisome for superintendents. To complicate the issue further preliminary greenhouse research has shown that some varieties of creeping bentgrass will begin producing anthocyanins faster when initially exposed to the environmental stress.

Both A and G series bentgrasses show signs of anthocyanin accumulation less than 24 hours after the stress has been implemented; whereas varieties like ‘Penncross’ and ‘L-93’ will either not show changes in color or will only show slight changes after stress has been removed. Anthocyanin production in turfgrasses is a signal that the plant is under some type of stress; however, as soon the environment is more suitable the change in color will dissipate and plants will grow normally. If anthocyanin production seems to be drastic during early spring, especially if pesticides have also been applied, always remember you could just be dealing with a cultivar or variety that responds at a faster pace than another.
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