Nitrate and Ammonium Leaching Losses from N Fertilizers Applied to `Penncross' Creeping Bentgrass

in HortScience

Combining frequent N applications and irrigations for turfgrasses grown in sandy soils is a common occurrence on golf course putting greens. A greenhouse study was conducted to determine leaching losses of nitrate and ammonium nitrogen from `Penncross' creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris L.) growing on an 80 sand:20 peat soil mixture following frequent, moderately heavy irrigations and light or moderate N fertilizer applications. Nitrogen sources included calcium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, urea, urea formaldehyde and isobutylediene diurea. Application levels were 9.76 kg N/ha per 7 days and 19.52 kg N/ha per 14 days for 10 weeks. Irrigation equivalent to 38 mm·week-1 was applied in three equal applications. Overall, 46% of the applied water leached. Total leaching losses were <0.5% of the applied N. Nitrate represented the major portion of the leached N, with ammonium losses being negligible. There were no differences between sources when applied at these levels. In a second study, a single 48.8 kg N/ha application resulted in higher leaching losses of N, but only calcium nitrate and ammonium nitrate had total losses > 2% (2.80% and 4.13%, respectively, over an n-day period). Nitrate concentrations were found to exceed 45 mg·liter-1 for ammonium nitrate.

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