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Maxim J. Schlossberg and William P. Miller

Coal combustion by-products (CCB) are produced nationwide, generating 108 Mg of waste annually. Though varied, the majority of CCB are crystalline alumino-silicate minerals. Both disposal costs of CCB and interest in alternative horticultural/agricultural production systems have increased recently. Field studies assessed the benefit of CCB and organic waste/product mixtures as supplemental soil/growth media for production of hybrid bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy] sod. Growth media were applied at depths of 2 to 4 cm (200 to 400 m3·ha-1) and vegetatively established by sprigging. Cultural practices typical of commercial methods were employed over 99- or 114-day growth periods. Sod was monitored during these propagation cycles, then harvested, evaluated, and installed offsite in a typical lawn-establishment method. Results showed mixtures of CCB and biosolids as growth media increased yield of biomass, with both media and tissue having greater nutrient content than the control media. Volumetric water content of CCB-containing media significantly exceeded that of control media and soil included with a purchased bermudagrass sod. Once installed, sod grown on CCB-media did not differ in rooting strength from control or purchased sod. When applied as described, physicochemical characteristics of CCB-media are favorable and pose little environmental risk to soil or water resources.

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Maxim J. Schlossberg, Keith J. Karnok and Gil Landry Jr.

Subjection of intensively managed creeping bentgrass [Agrostis stolonifera L. var. palustris (Huds.). Farw., (syn. Agrostis palustris Huds.)] to supraoptimal soil temperatures is deleterious to root viability and longevity. The ability to estimate viable root length would enable creeping bentgrass managers to more accurately schedule certain management practices. The purpose of this rhizotron study was to develop a model, based on an accumulated degree-day (ADD) method, capable of estimating viable root length density of established `Crenshaw' and `L93' creeping bentgrass maintained under putting green conditions. Viable root length density observations were made biweekly and soil temperature data collected April through September 1997, and January through August 1998 and 1999. Relative viable root length density (RVRLD) is defined as the measured viable root length density divided by the maximum density attained that spring. In both years, maximum annual viable root length density for all plots was reached, on average, by 138 days from the beginning of the year (18 May). Cultivar and year effects were nonsignificant (P = 0.67 and 0.20, respectively). Degree-day heat units were calculated using an array of base temperatures by integral and arithmetical methods. Although the two accumulative methods proved suitable, the model regressing arithmetical degree-day accumulations against the bentgrass RVRLD provided a better fit to the data set. Use of the 10 °C base temperature in the arithmetical ADD calculations provided the following model; RVRLD = 0.98 - [1.30 × 10-4 (ADD)], accounting for 83.8% of the experimental variability (P < 0.0001). As several abiotic/edaphic factors have been shown to significantly influence root growth and viability, development of a widely usable model would include additional factors.