Turf performance and physiological responses of native Poa species to summer stress in Northeast China.
Rapid rise in temperature in summer causes severe injury to cool-season turfgrass of both native species and introduced ones in Heilongjiang of Northeast China. The objectives of this study were to compare physiological responses to seasonal heat stresses and turf performances between native and introduced commercial Poa accessions. Three Chinese native Poa species (i.e., P. pratensis, P. sibirica and P. sphondylodes) and three USA Kentucky bluegrass cultivars (ie. 'Midnight', 'Moonlight' and 'BlueChip') were evaluated under field conditions in 2017 and 2018. All accessions showed unique characteristics and considerable seasonal differences in response to temperatures. However, performances over all accessions were largely similar in early spring and autumn. In summer, native P. pratensis performed similar to 'Midnight', 'Moonlight' or 'BlueChip', with respect to such traits or parameters as quality, coverage, color intensity, growth rate, osmolytes, ROS and anti-oxidant production. Native P. pratensis could be used as a new turf resource for further improvement and application under the specific climatic conditions in Heilongjiang; native P. sphondylodes may be used in repairing damaged environments or for alternative seasonal greenness.