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  • Author or Editor: Benjamin Pease x
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Soil degradation during construction often results in soil loss through erosion and reduced vegetation establishment. Composted organic materials are used to restore soil health of compromised urban soils when planting trees and shrubs; however, less is known about compost amendments for turfgrass establishment. The objective of this trial was to determine the effects of differing compost incorporation rates in two soil types on perennial ryegrass [PR (Lolium perenne)] establishment. The hypothesis was that as compost incorporation rates increase, turfgrass germination would increase until the compost rate becomes detrimental to turfgrass germination because of increased nitrate content and electrical conductivity (EC) levels. A salt-sensitive PR cultivar and a salt-tolerant PR cultivar were seeded into a loam topsoil and a clay subsoil at soil:compost volume ratios of 100:0, 80:20, 70:30, 60:40, 50:50, 40:60, and 0:100 using a mixed-source mature compost. Percent green cover (PGC) and leachate pH, EC, and nitrate content were measured during the 5-week establishment period. This trial showed that with a suitable topsoil, compost incorporation may be unnecessary to obtain acceptable PGC, but that compost additions (30% to 40%) to a clay subsoil achieve faster establishment while limiting the potential for reduced establishment because of increased nitrate content or EC associated with greater levels of compost incorporation. The EC or pH of soil:compost leachate was not found to predict turfgrass establishment. This trial suggests that soil type should be considered when making compost use rate recommendations; however, further research is needed to link compost physiochemical properties to compost use rates.

Open Access