Kenaf-based Fiber Mat as a Substrate for Establishing Soilless Sod

in HortTechnology

A truly soilless turfgrass sod may be produced on kenaf-based (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) fiber mat that offers the integrity of field-cut sod without the use of mineral soil growing medium. This research was conducted to determine the feasibility of producing warm-season turfgrass sod on such a biodegradable organic mat. Seeded turfgrass plots contained 4.9 lb/1000 ft2 (24 g.m−2) of pure live seed planted on a 66-lb/1000 ft2 (325-g.m−2) organic fiber mat carrier placed atop either 66- or 132-lb/1000 ft2 (325- or 650-g.m−2) organic fiber mats. In an experiment using vegetative material, stolons were applied at rates of 16.4 ft3/1000 ft2 (0.82 L.m−2) over 132- or 198-lb/1000 ft2 (650- or 975-g.m−2) organic fiber mats and covered with a rayon scrim. All plots were placed on 6-mil black plastic. Nitrogen was applied at 0.9 lb/1000 ft2 (4.4 g.m−2) weekly in addition to a monthly micronutrient application. Bermudagrass (Cynodon σππ.) had quicker establishment than other grasses in the study, with stolonized and seeded plots achieving ≈100% coverage by 9 weeks in 1995 and 6 weeks in 1996, respectively. By 15 weeks after planting in 1995, the plot coverage ratings for seeded centipedegrass [Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro) Hack. `Common'] and all stolonized grass plots of centipedegrass, zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud. `Meyer'), and St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze `Raleigh'] were 91% or higher. The results were much less favorable in 1996 than 1995 due to a later planting date and an irrigation failure.

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