Sod Production on a Solid-waste Compost over Plastic

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  • 1 Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 3205 S. W. College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314
  • | 2 Everglades Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Belle Glade, FL 33430

The objective of this experiment was to determine the suitability of a compost obtained from a commercially available solid-waste processing plant for sod production when placed over a plastic barrier. Comparisons were made between compost-grown sod with and without fertilizer and between compost-grown sod and commercially grown sod. Six weeks after seeding or sprigging, both fertilized and nonfertilized compost-grown `Argentine' bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge), `Tifway' bermudagrass (Cynodon transvaalensis × C. dactylon), and `Floratam' St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze.] had discolored leaf blade tissue and poor growth. At 6 weeks, bahiagrass leaf tissue had a low N concentration, which suggested that the compost immobilized fertilizer N. Additionally, initial high salinity of the compost (2.85 dS·m-1) may have contributed to turf discoloration and lack of vigor. However, poor growth and discoloration were temporary. At 3 and 5 months, fertilized compost-grown turfgrasses had higher quality and coverage than nonfertilized sod. At 5 months, fertilized sod had sufficient coverage for harvest, whereas for conventional field production 9 to 24 months generally is required to produce a harvestable product. Compost-grown sod pieces had similar or higher tear resistance than commercially grown sod. One and 3 weeks after transplanting on a sand soil, compost-grown sod produced higher root weight and longer roots in the underlying soil than did commercially grown sod. The solid-waste compost used in this study offers a viable alternative material for producing sod that will benefit solid-waste recycling efforts.

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