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John E. Jordan, Richard H. White, James C. Thomas, Trent C. Hale, and Donald M. Vietor

Proper water management is a major responsibility of managers of creeping bentgrass grown on putting greens in the hot and humid southern states. The combination of shallow root systems, sand-based root zones, high temperatures, and high evaporative demands frequently results in severe drought stress on bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds.) greens. This study was initiated to determine the effects of irrigation frequency on creeping bentgrass turgor pressure and on the O2 and CO2 concentrations in a sand-based root zone mixture. In total, 81 plots, 1.5 × 1.5 m each, were established on a USGA-type root zone mixture and organized into 9 groups of 9 plots each. Each group could be irrigated individually. One plot in each group was planted to either `A-4', `Crenshaw', `Mariner', `L-93', or `Penncross' creeping bentgrass. Irrigation frequency treatments of 1-, 2-, and 4-day replacement of historical PET were imposed on three groups each. After establishment, measurements of the leaf water potential, osmotic potential, soil oxygen concentration, and soil carbon dioxide concentrations were made over a 1- to 2-year period. Bentgrass irrigated every 1 or 2 days had significantly (P = 0.05) greater turgor pressures at 0600 hr as compared to turf irrigated every 4 days in 1997. No differences were seen in 1998 due to drier environmental conditions. Concentrations of O2 and CO2 in the soil air remained in the optimal range for all treatments, indicating that lack of O2 in the root zone as a result of frequent irrigation may not be the primary cause for reduced rooting depth of bentgrass grown on highly permeable sand-based root zone mixtures.

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Donald M. Vietor, Ronnie W. Schnell, Tony L. Provin, Richard H. White, and Clyde L. Munster

Incorporation or top-dressing of composted biosolids (CB) can enhance turfgrass establishment and sod properties at harvest, but soil phosphorus (P) and nitrogen must be managed to protect water quality. Alum treatment of CB could reduce soluble P concentrations in amended soil and limit runoff loss of P. The objective was to evaluate CB and Alum effects on turfgrass coverage of soil and runoff losses during ‘Tifway’ bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. var. dactylon × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davey] establishment from sprigs or transplanted sod. Three replications of eight treatments comprised a complete randomized design. Four treatments were composed of ‘Tifway’ sprigged in soil with and without incorporation of CB and Alum. Four remaining treatments were sods harvested from ‘Tifway’ grown with and without top-dressed CB that were transplanted with and without a surface spray of Alum. Surface coverage of ‘Tifway’ sprigged in soil mixed with inorganic fertilizer or CB was comparable to transplanted sod 25 days after planting. In contrast, Alum incorporation acidulated soil, slowed coverage rates of sprigged ‘Tifway’, and increased NH4-N runoff loss during early establishment in treatments without CB. Incorporation of Alum with CB or inorganic fertilizer in soil before sprigging reduced soil water-extractable P (WEP) more than 38% and reduced runoff loss of soluble reactive P (SRP) in three of four establishment treatments. Although SRP runoff loss from CB-amended sod was greatest among treatments, the Alum spray minimized SRP loss after transplanting. Alum effectively reduced runoff loss of SRP from CB, soil, and turfgrass sources during establishment from sprigs or sod. Additional field research is needed, but incorporated or surface sprays of Alum offer a potential new practice for mitigating runoff loss of SRP from establishing turfgrass.

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Ronnie W. Schnell, Donald M. Vietor, Richard H. White, Tony L. Provin, and Clyde L. Munster

Incorporation of composted municipal biosolids (CMB) in low-quality soil can enhance turfgrass establishment and physical and chemical properties of turfgrass sod. The purpose of this research was to quantify CMB and fertilizer nitrogen (N) effects on Tifway bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. var. dactylon × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davey] coverage, sod properties, and nutrient export in harvested sod. The experiment was conducted under field conditions in College Station, TX, from 2005 through 2008. The CMB and N effects were evaluated through digital image analysis of percentage of turfgrass coverage, gravimetric measurements of sod wet and dry weight and water content at harvest, analyses of total phosphorus (P) and total Kjeldahl N in turfgrass and soil, and computations of total P and N export through sod. Incorporation of 0.25 m3 of CMB/m3 soil and fertilizer N rates of 50 or 100 kg N/ha/application increased percentage of turfgrass cover during establishment compared with controls. At sod harvest, dry weight was less and water content was greater for CMB-amended sod than for sod grown without CMB. Analyses of total nutrients in CMB and in turfgrass and soil indicated that two sod harvests removed all of the CMB sources of N and P incorporated or top-dressed during Tifway bermudagrass establishment and regrowth. Cycling of CMB through sod offers an opportunity for conserving CMB sources of nutrients and benefiting Tifway bermudagrass sod production and properties.

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Xiaoyan Dai, Donald M. Vietor, Frank M. Hons, Tony L. Provin, Richard H. White, Thomas W. Boutton, and Clyde L. Munster

Large, volume-based applications of composted municipal biosolids (CMB) can enhance turfgrass growth and quality and soil physical and chemical properties. In addition, CMB additions could affect short-term dynamics of soil organic carbon (SOC) and enhance C sequestration and environmental quality compared with turfgrass fertilized with inorganic nutrients in mineral soil. The objective was to compare changes in SOC among contrasting sources of Tifway bermudagrass sod (Cynodon dactylon L. Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davey) after transplanting. Three sod sources from fields grown with two commercial sources of CMB or inorganic phosphorus fertilizer were transplanted on silica sand in replicated box lysimeters. Storage of SOC within 0 to 5-cm and 5 to 50-cm depths was greater in CMB than fertilizer-grown sod during 10 months of establishment and maintenance. Leaching losses of dissolved organic C (DOC) were two times greater for CMB than for fertilizer-grown sod over seven simulated rain events, but the ratio of DOC in leachate to total SOC mass was 0.3% or less for CMB-grown sod. An increase in δ13C values of SOC over sampling dates indicated the proportion of SOC derived from turfgrass increased, whereas that from CMB decreased. The benefit of greater rates of SOC storage during establishment and maintenance of CMB compared with fertilizer-grown sod was achieved without substantive loss of DOC in leachate.