Accumulation of excessive organic matter as thatch restricts permeability of putting greens and is one of the most difficult problems in turfgrass management. A greenhouse experiment using potted bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) determined the efficacy of a ligninolytic enzyme, laccase, in reducing organic matter accumulation in the thatch-mat layer. Laccase was added biweekly at 0, 0.206, 2.06, and 20.6 units of activity/cm2 with and without guaiacol (2-methoxyphenol), a mediator of laccase, and sampling was performed after two and nine months. Parameters investigated included thickness of the organic layer, thatch layer and mat layer, organic matter content, saturated hydraulic conductivity, and lignin content. Organic matter and thatch layer increased between the two sampling dates in all treatments. Laccase was shown to be effective in slowing the rate of accumulation of organic matter and thatch layer. After two months, application of 20.6 units/cm2 of laccase reduced organic layer thickness by 8.7% and extractive-free total lignin content by 8.4% when compared with non-treated control. After nine months, laccase application rates of 2.06 units/cm2 reduced organic matter and thatch layer thickness by 15.6% and 45.0%, respectively, below levels observed in the non-treated control. Applications using 0.206 units/cm2 of laccase were ineffective. Laccase applications had no influence on turf quality. These positive responses suggest laccase treatments could be a non-disruptive option for thatch and/or mat control in bentgrass.
Organic layer formation in the form of thatch is a major problem in managed turfgrass systems. Biweekly application of laccase enzyme has been well-documented to facilitate the degradation of thatch and reduce the accumulation rate of organic matter in ‘Crenshaw’ creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.). A field experiment involving creeping bentgrass was conducted to evaluate the residual effects on thatch accumulation after ceasing laccase applications. A significant reduction in thatch layer thickness was observed at 6, 12, and 18 months after treatment initiation when laccase was applied at different rates and frequencies. Residual effects of laccase application were observed for thatch layer thickness, but no additional accumulation of thatch was observed 6 months after treatment cessation. At 18 months after treatment initiation, a significant increase in the thatch layer was observed where treatments had been ceased for 12 months, but no thatch accumulation was observed for laccase treatment for a second 6-month period during the second year. This information is critical to turf practitioners when developing laccase application protocols. Limiting laccase applications for a period of 6 months during 1 year was shown to be effective for thatch control.