Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Horticulture (MS)

Degree Level





Michael D. Richardson

Committee Member

Douglas E. Karcher

Second Committee Member

Garry V. McDonald

Third Committee Member

Donald C. Steinkraus

Fourth Committee Member

John W. Boyd

Fifth Committee Member

Janet B. Carson


Flowering Bulbs, Flowering Perennials, Forbs, Planting Methods, Pollinators, Turfgrass


Pollinating insects are responsible for the production of many agricultural crops and they require floral resources to fulfill their life-cycle. Ideally, pollinating insects will encounter a diversity of floral resources across their entire season of activity, and those floral resources can include both herbaceous and woody plant species. Managed turfgrass areas have been identified as potential locations for creating pollinator-friendly habitats. In the transition zone, where both warm- and cool-season turfgrass species are present, the persistence of herbaceous plants in warm-season turfgrasses such as bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) and buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides), may be affected not only by the competitive nature of the turfgrass, but by the cultural practices associated with turfgrass management. While exhibiting prolific growth throughout the growing season, warm-season turfgrasses experience an extended dormancy period from late fall to spring. Loss of green color during dormancy might be countered with a display of color from flowering bulbs. Many early-spring bulbs emerge, flower, and senesce before warm-season turfgrass breaks dormancy, and are potential sources for pollinator nutrition at a time when few nutritive resources are available. Additionally, many broadleaf perennial plants commonly found in lawns throughout the season may provide nutrition to pollinating insects during spring, summer, and fall months. A series of field trials were conducted in Arkansas over two years (2016-2017), testing 30 cultivars of early-spring flowering bulbs and eight flowering, broadleaf perennial plants (forbs) in warm-season lawns. The overall goal of the project were to identify bulbs and forbs which would persist in warm-season lawns and provide season-long floral resources for pollinating insects. Five species of flowering bulbs exhibited persistence in both bermudagrass and buffalograss lawns, with flowering times ranging from January-May. Several bulb species were also used as early-season food sources for pollinating insects. Five species of forb also persisted in a bermudagrass lawn and provided pollinator forage in the spring, summer and fall months. In conclusion, a combination of early-spring flowering bulbs and flowering, broadleaf perennials can persist in warm-season turfgrasses and supply nutrition to pollinating insects. The benefit to pollinators confirms another potential ecosystem service of turfgrasses in both urban and rural environments.