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  • Author or Editor: Glykeria Gogoula x
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A field study evaluated composted olive mill waste (OMC) as a soil amendment in Cynodon dactylon (bermudagrass; C4) turf establishment and maintenance. The study comprised two substudies, each of which had discrete goals: 1) an evaluation of OMC effects on overall bermudagrass growth over the course of 2.5 years when established by seed and subsequently from sprouting of existing rhizomes (2002 to 2004); and 2) a re-evaluation of OMC effects on bermudagrass establishment by seed (2003). Twenty-four plots (1.44 × 1.44 m) were filled with sandy-loam soil and supplemented with one of three OMC proportions (low= 12.5%, medium = 25%, and high = 50% by volume, indicated as substrates S:OMCL, S:OMCM, and S:OMCH, respectively), and non-amended soil served as a control (S). The study evaluated: 1) the substrate's chemical and physical characteristics, including bulk density, water retention curves, pH, and electrical conductivity (EC) measurements; 2) the establishment rate of C. dactylon, either by seed or by sprouting of existing rhizomes after dormancy as determined by measurements that included vertical detachment force (VDF), root growth, and substrate moisture; and 3) the growth rate of C. dactylon as determined through measurements of visual quality, clipping dry weight, root growth, and VDF. The results show that OMC decreased substrate pH in proportion to the OMC supplementation rate and increased EC only at the end of the study and only in the plots with the highest supplementation rate (S:OMCH). Water retention was improved by OMC incorporation except from S:OMCL, which increased water retention only at low tensions. Compared with soil alone, bulk density decreased by 13.5%, 19.7%, and 32.8% as the OMC rate increased, respectively, from 12.5% to 50%. The OMC rate of 50% v/v resulted in a minor reduction in plant visual quality during the cold periods but in a slight improvement during the warm periods. The clipping dry weights were increased by OMC amendments in 2003, which was considered a disadvantage because of the insignificant visual quality differences between substrates during the 2 study years. In 2004, the clipping yields were unaffected by OMC rate. Root dry weight response to OMC varied. For the highest OMC rate, root dry weight was lower during the cold and wet periods, greater during the first stages of bermudagrass establishment by seed, and similar compared with soil without OMC during turf establishment from the sprouting of existing rhizomes after dormancy. The highest OMC rate reduced resistance to vertical detachment force at four sampling dates (of six) during the 2002–2003 study, because the reduced root dry weight and/or increased moisture of the substrate facilitated bermudagrass detachment. In contrast, OMC-supplemented substrates resulted in increased VDF at the first sampling date of establishment both by seed (2003) and by rhizome sprouting after dormancy (2004). It was concluded that, when speedy establishment is imperative (such as in sod farms) or when irrigation is limited, an OMC rate of 50% by volume should be selected. In contrast, for sustainable bermudagrass growth, a rate of 12.5% by volume is preferred, because it increases the visual quality of the grass and root growth.

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