Turfgrass Seed and Sod Establishment on Soil Amended with Biosolid Compost

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  • 1 Department of Agronomy and Environmental Science, Delaware Valley College, 700 E. Butler Ave., Doylestown, PA 18901.

Using composted biosolid waste as a soil amendment for turfgrass is becoming a common method for disposing of municipal waste. This study was conducted to evaluate turfgrass seed and sod establishment on subsoil amended with various rates of biosolid compost. To a soil that had its A-horizon removed, biosolid compost derived from sewage sludge was incorporated at rates of 0, 132, 270, and 402 yard3/acre. A fifth treatment included a single application of fertilizer at time of sowing. Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) was seeded immediately after treatment application. The treatments were repeated on an adjacent area using kentucky bluegrass sod. For 1.5 years, turfgrass percent cover, color, density, and weeds were evaluated. Overall, the compost performed well as a soil amendment for turfgrass. A 2- to 3-inch depth of compost appeared to be the best incorporation rate for the soil and compost used in this study. High salinity and excessive ammonium nitrogen (NH4-N) levels in the compost-amended soil at the time of establishment caused a 2- to 3-week delay in seed and sod establishment. After the 2 to 3 weeks, the compost-amended plots outperformed the one-time fertilized plots in turfgrass color and density. Turf managers may want to account for the delay in establishment when incorporating a 60-day-cured compost.

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Contributor Notes

E-mail: Linded@devalcol.edu
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