Environmental Entomology (2019) 48, 623-632

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Ethan M. Doherty, Robert L. Meagher and Adam G. Dale (2019)
Turfgrass cultivar diversity provides associational resistance in the absence of pest resistant cultivars
Environmental Entomology 48 (3), 623-632
Abstract: Turfgrasses are ubiquitous in urban landscapes and can provide numerous ecosystem services. However, most warm season turfgrasses are produced, planted, and maintained as cultivar monocultures, which may predispose them to herbivore attack and reduce the services lawns provide. Though rarely done, host plant resistance can be used as a strategy to reduce herbivory and preserve beneficial services. Increasing turfgrass cultivar diversity may provide similar or greater benefits through associational resistance, whereas conserving desirable maintenance and aesthetic traits. However, no studies have examined this in warm season turfgrasses. To address this, we evaluated host plant resistance to fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda [J.E. Smith] [Lepidoptera: Noctuidae]) in commercially available cultivars of St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum [(Walt.) Kuntz] [Lepidoptera: Noctuidae]) and then investigated if the resistance or susceptibility of St. secundatum cultivars carried over in mixed cultivar plantings. Through a no-choice experiment and a limited-choice experiment, we detected no host plant resistance in monocultures of St. secundatum cultivars. However, we did find that as cultivar diversity increased, female Sp. frugiperda larval weight and herbivory decreased. Additionally, choice tests indicated that larvae prefer less diverse stands of St. secundatum cultivars. Interestingly, our results suggest that in the absence of host plant resistance, warm season turfgrass cultivar diversity may reduce herbivore pest fitness and damage. These results demonstrate that warm season turfgrass cultivar diversity may be a viable integrated pest management tool that warrants further investigation.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
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Database assignments for author(s): Robert L. Meagher

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
resistance/tolerance/defence of host


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.


Spodoptera frugiperda Stenotaphrum (crop)