Coal Combustion By-product (CCB) Utilization in Turfgrass Sod Production

in HortScience

Coal combustion by-products (CCB) are produced nationwide, generating 108 Mg of waste annually. Though varied, the majority of CCB are crystalline alumino-silicate minerals. Both disposal costs of CCB and interest in alternative horticultural/agricultural production systems have increased recently. Field studies assessed the benefit of CCB and organic waste/product mixtures as supplemental soil/growth media for production of hybrid bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy] sod. Growth media were applied at depths of 2 to 4 cm (200 to 400 m3·ha-1) and vegetatively established by sprigging. Cultural practices typical of commercial methods were employed over 99- or 114-day growth periods. Sod was monitored during these propagation cycles, then harvested, evaluated, and installed offsite in a typical lawn-establishment method. Results showed mixtures of CCB and biosolids as growth media increased yield of biomass, with both media and tissue having greater nutrient content than the control media. Volumetric water content of CCB-containing media significantly exceeded that of control media and soil included with a purchased bermudagrass sod. Once installed, sod grown on CCB-media did not differ in rooting strength from control or purchased sod. When applied as described, physicochemical characteristics of CCB-media are favorable and pose little environmental risk to soil or water resources.

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