School of Science
Creating xeric landscapes in lawns and prairies is a significant challenge and practical need in arid urban environments. This study examined the drought resistance of some C4 grass species for constructing urban lawns and prairies. A factorial experiment based on randomized complete block designs with four replications was conducted. Experimental treatments were two irrigation levels (100% and 50% Field Capacity (FC)) and five warm-season grass species (Andropogon gerardii Vitman, Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash, Panicum virgatum L., Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash, and Bouteloua curtipendula (Michx.) Torr.). The effects of drought on physiological, morphological, and qualitative characteristics of the grass species were analyzed. Drought conditions induced a decrease in all the measured traits. However, fewer physiological, morphological, and qualitative characteristics were affected by drought stress on Andropogon gerardii, Schizachyrium scoparium, and Bouteloua curtipendula, compared to the other two species. Overall, warm-season grasses of Andropogon gerardii, Schizachyrium scoparium, and Bouteloua curtipendula, had greater adaptability to drought stress, making them promising C4 grass species for prairie or lawn landscaping in arid urban environments. Landscape professionals and decision-makers should consider using Andropogon gerardii, Schizachyrium scoparium, and Bouteloua curtipendula, as these were the most resilient grass species for drought-tolerant prairie landscaping schemes. Sorghastrum nutans and Panicum virgatum may be used as a second priority if a more diverse variety of grasses is required for drought-resilient prairie or lawn landscaping in arid cities.
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