Carbon balance of turfgrass systems in response to seasonal temperature changes under different mowing heights

Yali Song, Patrick Burgess, Hairong Han, Bingru Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Turfgrass growth and physiological activitiesare sensitive totemperatures and are affectedby mowing height. Increasing temperaturesassociated with global climate change may limit photosynthetic capacityof established turfgrass stands.The objective of thisstudy was to determine the effects of mowing height on carbon exchange of a turfgrasssystem and consequential effects on turfgrass growth in response to temperature variations across the growing season in kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis cv. Baron) stands. Mature (8 years old) turfgrass was mowed at 7.6 cm [high mowing height (HM)] or 3.8 cm [low mowing height (LM)] during 2012 and 2013. Both LM and HM plots displayed significant decline in turf quality (TQ), shoot biomass, and canopy photosynthetic rate (Pn) with increasing air temperature above 23-240C in both years and the decline was more pronounced for LM plots. Turf plots were carbon emitters when total respiration rate of shoots, roots, and soil (Rtotal) exceeded canopy Pn under high temperatures during July-September but maintained net carbon gain during cooler seasons (May and June) due to greater Pn to Rtotal ratio (Pn:Rtotal). Lowering mowing height accelerated carbon loss by reducing canopy Pn, particularly under high temperatures. Our results suggested that whether mature turfgrass stands fix or emit carbon is heavily dependent on interaction between seasonal temperatures and mowing height gauging whole-stand photosynthetic capacity. Furthermore, increasing mowing height during summer months may offset the deleterious effects of high temperature by maintaining positive carbon balance within the turfgrass system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-322
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Horticulture


  • Carbon fixation
  • Climate change
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Photosynthesis
  • Respiration


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