Turfgrass (Cynodon dactylon L.) sod production on sandy soils: I. Effects of irrigation and fertiliser regimes on growth and quality

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    The effects on growth, quality and N uptake by turfgrass (Cynodon dactylon L.) during sod production of four fertiliser types applied at three application rates (100, 200 or 300 kg N ha(-1) per 'crop') under two irrigation treatments (70% and 140% daily replacement of pan evaporation) were investigated. The fertiliser types were: water-soluble (predominately NH4NO3), control-release, pelletised poultry manure, and pelletised biosolids; and the experiment was conducted on a sandy soil in a Mediterranean-type climate. Plots were established from rhizomes, with the turfgrass harvested as sod every 16-28 weeks depending upon the time of the year. Four crops were produced during the study. Applying water-soluble and control-release fertilisers doubled shoot growth and improved turfgrass greenness by up to 10% in comparison with plots receiving pelletised poultry manure and pelletised biosolids. Nitrogen uptake into the shoots after four crops (averaged across irrigation treatments and N rates) was 497 kg N ha(-1) for the water-soluble fertiliser, 402 kg N ha(-1) for the control-release, 188 kg N ha(-1) for the pelletised poultry manure and 237 kg N ha(-1) for the pelletised biosolids. Consequently, the agronomic nitrogen-use efficiency (NAE, kg DM kg(-1) N applied) of the inorganic fertilisers was approximately twice that of the organic fertilisers. Increasing irrigation from 70% to 140% replacement of pan evaporation was detrimental to turfgrass growth and N uptake for the first crop when supplied with the water-soluble fertiliser. Under the low irrigation treatment, inorganic N fertilisers applied at 200-300 kg N ha(-1) were adequate for production of turfgrass sod.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)129-145
    JournalPlant and Soil
    Issue number1/2
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

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