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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 368694, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/368694
Research Article

Silicon Application Increases Drought Tolerance of Kentucky Bluegrass by Improving Plant Water Relations and Morphophysiological Functions

1Horticulture College of Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin, Heilongjiang 150030, China
2National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, MOA Key Laboratory of Crop Ecophysiology and Farming System in the Middle Reaches of the Yangtze River, College of Plant Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, Hubei 430070, China
3Department of Agriculture Resource and Environmental Sciences, Northeast Agriculture University, Harbin 150030, China

Received 21 April 2014; Revised 3 June 2014; Accepted 9 June 2014; Published 29 June 2014

Academic Editor: Urs Feller

Copyright © 2014 Shah Saud et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Drought stress encumbers the growth of turfgrass principally by disrupting the plant-water relations and physiological functions. The present study was carried out to appraise the role of silicon (Si) in improving the drought tolerance in Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.). Drought stress and four levels (0, 200, 400, and 800 mg L−1) of Si (Na2SiO3 9H2O) were imposed after 2 months old plants cultured under glasshouse conditions. Drought stress was found to decrease the photosynthesis, transpiration rate, stomatal conductance, leaf water content, relative growth rate, water use efficiency, and turf quality, but to increase in the root/shoot and leaf carbon/nitrogen ratio. Such physiological interferences, disturbances in plant water relations, and visually noticeable growth reductions in Kentucky bluegrass were significantly alleviated by the addition of Si after drought stress. For example, Si application at 400 mg L−1 significantly increased the net photosynthesis by 44%, leaf water contents by 33%, leaf green color by 42%, and turf quality by 44% after 20 days of drought stress. Si application proved beneficial in improving the performance of Kentucky bluegrass in the present study suggesting that manipulation of endogenous Si through genetic or biotechnological means may result in the development of drought resistance in grasses.