Creeping Bentgrass Growth Response to Elevated Soil Carbon Dioxide

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  • 1 Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0375
  • | 2 Clemson University, Florence, SC 29506

Increased soil moisture and temperature along with increased soil microbial and root activity during summer months elevate soil CO2 levels. Although previous research has demonstrated negative effects of high soil CO2 on growth of some plants, little is known concerning the impact high CO2 levels on creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds.). The objective of this study was to investigate effects of varying levels of CO2 on the growth of creeping bentgrass. Growth cells were constructed to U.S. Golf Association (USGA) greens specification and creeping bentgrass was grown in the greenhouse. Three different levels of CO2 (2.5%, 5.0%, and 10.0%) were injected (for 1 minute every 2 hours) into the growth cells at a rate of 550 cm3·min-1. An untreated check, which did not have a gas mixture injected, maintained a CO2 concentration <1%. Gas injection occurred for 20 days to represent a run. Two runs were performed during the summer of 1999 on different growth cells. Visual turf quality ratings, encompassing turf color, health, density, and uniformity, were evaluated every 4 days on a 1-9 scale, with 9 = best turf and <7 being unacceptable. Soil cores were taken at the end of each run. Roots were separated from soil to measure root depth and mass. Turf quality was reduced to unacceptable levels with 10% CO2, but was unaffected at lower levels over the 20-day treatment period. Soil CO2 ≥2.5% reduced root mass and depth by 40% and 10%, respectively.

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