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M. Laganière, P. Lecomte, and Y. Desjardins

In Quebec, commercial sod is produced on >3000 ha. Generally, ≈20 months are required to produce market-ready sod. When conditions are suitable, harvest of marketable sod is possible within a year. However, intensive management may result in soil compaction and a reduction of the organic matter content. Considering the increasing amount of amendment available, sod production fields could be interesting for their disposal. In this study, visual quality and sod root growth was examined following an application of an organic amendment at 50, 100, and 150 t·ha–1, incorporated to depth of 6 or 20 cm. Plots established on a sandy soil receiving organic amendments had higher visual quality ratings. Bulk density was significantly reduced following compost or paper sludge application to a heavy soil. The shearing strength required to tear sod amended with compost was significantly higher in comparison with control and paper sludge treatments.

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M.S. Flanagan, R.E. Schmidt, and R.B. Reneau Jr.

The “heavy fraction” portion of a municipal solid waste separation process was evaluated in field experiments as a soil amendment for producing turfgrass sod. Soil organic matter and concentrations of extractable NO3-N, P, K, Ca, and Zn in the soil increased with addition of heavy fraction. Soil incorporation of heavy fraction resulted in greater air, water, and total porosity and lower bulk density of a loamy sandy soil. .Sod strength measurements taken 8.5 and 9.5 months after seeding were higher for Kentucky bluegrass (Poaprutensis L.) grown in heavy-fraction-amended topsoil than for turf grown in topsoil only. The use of this by-product may reduce the time required to produce a marketable sod. Soil incorporation of heavy fraction did not influence post-transplant rooting of Kentucky bluegrass sod but enhanced rooting of bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] sod at the highest rate evaluated. Results of these studies suggest that the use of heavy fraction for sod production may provide cultural benefits in addition to reducing the volume of solid waste deposited in landfills.

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Allen V. Barker and Tara A. O'Brien

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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Tara A. O'Brien and Allen V. Barker

This research evaluated production of wildflower sods in soil and composts of mixed municipal solid waste, biosolids and woodchips, fall leaves, and mixed agricultural wastes. Soil or composts were laid on plastic sheeting in outdoor plots, and a mixture of wildflower seeds was sown in July and in September in separate experiments. Quality of sods was assessed in two growing seasons. Best sods with respect to seed germination, stand establishment, and intensity and diversity of bloom over two seasons occurred in mature biosolids compost and in agricultural waste compost. These composts were low in ammonium but rich in total N. Germination and growth of wildflowers were limited by high ammonium concentrations in immature biosolids composts. Nitrogen deficiency limited sod growth and quality in leaf composts. Poor N nutrition and weed competition restricted sod production in soil. Fertilization of soil promoted unacceptably large weed growth. Summer seeding or fall seeding resulted in good sods, but many annual flowers that appeared in the summer seeding were absent in the fall-seeded planting. Using plastic-lined plots was a convenient system for evaluating composts and other media in outdoor culture.

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Amy L. Neigebauer, Garald L. Horst, Donald H. Steinegger, and Greg L. Davis

Significant research has been conducted on wildflower sod, but the reasoning behind the production system methods is not clear. The purpose of this research was to determine the influence of mowing height on the subsequent leaf growth and root biomass distribution in a wildflower sod production system. Rudbeckia hirta was grown in sand in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tubes in simulating field conditions. Plants were either not mowed (control) or hand-clipped to 5.1, 7.6, or 10.2 cm to simulate mowing. After the initial mowing, plants were mowed at ≈7-day intervals. Total root depth, number of root axes in the top 2.5 cm, root: shoot ratio, total root dry weight, and root dry weight at depths of 0.0-2.5, 2.5-21.7, 21.7-40.8, and 40.8-60.0 cm were measured at the end of the study. Comparing the total root dry weight of all segments indicates that mowing significantly reduces root biomass. As mowing height increased, the depth of longest root increased linearly. Plants not mowed or plants mowed to 10.2 cm produced significantly more root axes in the top 2.5 cm of sand than did mowing heights of 5.1 or 7.6 cm. Root dry weight in the top 2.5 cm was considerably greater in nonmowed plants. Increased root axes in sod with higher mowing heights indicated a greater root density, which may also increase wildflower sod stability.

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Lance Stott, Lisa Rew, and Tracy Dougher

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has used hydroseeding, imprinting, and drill seeding methods to revegetate highway construction sites, with varying degrees of success. Ecological concerns, particularly in areas with high erosion potential, have led Caltrans to search for more-reliable plant establishment methods. One possibility is native sod, which should reduce erosion potential, and, the species would also be better suited to local environments, require less maintenance, and pose no invasive threat to adjacent ecosystems. In addition, the use of native sod may also reduce or prevent weed establishment. Our project aims to evaluate different native grass species mixes to determine the best species combinations for sod. We selected 21 species of native grasses in order to determine their suitability for sod production in six Californian ecoregions. Grasses were grown in six growth chambers that mimic the climate of the six ecoregions. Mixtures of varying species included either one rhizomatous species with three bunch grasses, one rhizomatous species and five bunch grasses, two rhizomatous species with three bunch grasses, or two rhizomatous species with five bunch grasses for each ecoregion. The mixtures were grown and tested for yield, species composition, and percentage of cover over time. At the end of the 6-month production time, a final harvest evaluated root depth and biomass as well as sod strength. Rhizomatous grasses, if planted with Bromus sp., were quickly overwhelmed. At the first harvest ground coverage was between 10% and 15% for all species mixes. Ground coverage increased over the production cycle, but maximum ground coverage remained less than 80% overall.

Open access

Lakshmy Gopinath, Dennis L. Martin, Justin Quetone Moss, Yanqi Wu, Shuhao Yu, and James R. Underwood

commercial sod production is the ability to form a suitable sod that has sufficient strength to allow intact harvest, handling, and installation ( Beard and Rieke, 1969 ). Sod tensile strength (STS) is defined as the resistance of sod to a minimum amount of

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Laurie E. Trenholm and Jerry B. Sartain

BMPs at this time. Sod production BMPs were developed in 2007 and, unlike the previously discussed BMPs, are under the purview of FDACS because sod production is considered an agricultural operation. Growers must file a “notice of intent to implement

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Chanjin Chung, Tracy A. Boyer, Marco Palma, and Monika Ghimire

turfgrass varieties is expected to guide publically and privately funded turfgrass research. The study focuses on a warm-season grass, bermudagrass, because bermudagrass comprises a large share of the total sod production in each of these states: 43.0%, 7

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Filippo Rimi, Stefano Macolino, and Bernd Leinauer

popular in the sod production industry because of their good sod-forming characteristics. The primary concern of sod producers is to obtain an adequate quality for harvest in the shortest possible period with minimal inputs. However, the time necessary to