Mineral Composition of Kentucky Bluegrass under Recycled Water Irrigation on Golf Courses

in HortScience

Golf courses in the western United States increasingly are being irrigated with recycled water. Research was conducted on eight golf courses in a semiarid region, including three courses with recycled water irrigation for 10 years, three courses with recycled water irrigation for 18 to 26 years, and two courses with surface water for irrigation for 15 and 18 years. Turf quality of kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) (KBG), the most widely used turfgrass species in the United States, was evaluated on 25 roughs from the aforementioned golf courses. Concurrently, KBG shoot samples and soil samples from these sites were collected. Shoots of KBG were analyzed for mineral concentrations, including sodium (Na), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), potassium (K), chlorine (Cl), boron (B), sulfur (S), phosphorus (P), manganese, iron, zinc, copper, and molybdenum. Electrical conductivity (EC) and sodium absorption ratio (SAR) of soil saturated paste were determined. Recycled water irrigation for 10 and >18 years increased clipping Na by 4.3 and 9.9 times and Cl by 1.5 and 1.3 times, respectively. Compared with surface water irrigation, B concentration in KBG shoots increased by 3.5 times and K concentration reduced by 16% on sites with recycled water irrigation for >18 years. Multiple regression analysis was conducted to identify the relationships between mineral concentration in shoots and turf quality. There was a negative linear relationship between turf quality and Na concentration in the shoots (R2 = 0.65). Soil SAR in 0 to 20 cm depth was highly associated with KBG shoot Na, as documented by a logarithmic regression of R2 = 0.70. Stepwise regression indicated that Na accumulation in the shoots was the leading plant variable causing the decline of turf quality under recycled water irrigation. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that water treatment and management practices that can reduce soil SAR and Na concentration in KBG shoots would improve turf quality and plant health.

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Corresponding author. E-mail: yaling.qian@colostate.edu.

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    Linear regression analysis of shoot Na concentration to turf quality under three irrigation regiments. Na = sodium.

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    Logarithmic regression analysis of soil SAR (0–20 cm) to corresponding shoot Na concentration of kentucky bluegrass under three different irrigation regiments. Na = sodium; SAR = sodium absorption ratio.

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