103 EVALUATION OF COMPOSTS FOR PRODUCTION OF SOD-GROWN CROPS

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  • 1 Plant and Soil Sciences University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003

An agricultural compost of chicken manure and cranberry pomace, a municipal compost of biosolids and mixed municipal solid wastes, and a compost of autumn leaves were evaluated for production of turfgrass sods and wildflower sods. Composts made during the year of the experiment and one-year-old composts were compared. The experiment was conducted outdoors with composts layered on sheets of plastic laid on the soil surface. The sheets of plastic controlled soil-borne weeds and facilitated harvest of sods. The best sods measured by stand and growth were produced with the agricultural compost, which was rich in N (avg. 1.7%) and low in NH4+ (avg. 135 mg/kg). High NH4+ (>900 mg/kg) appeared to limit stand establishment with the fresh municipal compost. The leaf compost was too low in N to support sod growth without fertilization. Aging of each compost improved its capacity to support sod production, apparently as a result of changes in the N status in the media.

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