Turfgrass (Cynodon dactylon L.) sod production on sandy soils: II. Effects of irrigation and fertiliser regimes on N leaching

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    Abstract

    The effects of irrigation and fertiliser regimes on N leaching from the production of couch grass (Cynodon dactylon L.) sod, on a free-draining sandy soil, were evaluated in a 22-month field study. The experimental design used a randomised-block, split-plot design with three replicates. Main plots consisted of two irrigation treatments: 70 and 140% daily replacement of pan evaporation; four subplot fertiliser types (water-soluble (predominately NH4NO3), control-release, pelletised poultry manure and pelletised biosolids); and three N application rates (100, 200 and 300 kg N ha(-1) per crop). Nitrogen leaching was assessed by measuring the leachate volumes and concentrations of N species leached from soil lysimeters (250 mm in diameter by 950 mm in length) installed in 10 m(2) turfgrass plots. Nitrogen leaching ranged from 33 to 167 kg N ha(-1) over 22 months, depending upon the irrigation and fertiliser treatment. Irrigation treatment affected N leaching more than fertiliser treatment, and increasing the irrigation from 70 to 140% replacement of daily pan evaporation increased N leaching for all fertiliser types, and by up to four times. Forty six to 76% of losses occurred from the high irrigation treatments during the first 16 weeks after the turfgrass was planted as rhizomes. By contrast, N leaching did not appear to increase following harvest of sod. At the high irrigation treatment, N leaching was greater for the pelletised biosolids than the control-release; while at the low irrigation treatment, N leaching did not vary between fertiliser types. A significant proportion of the N leached was in the organic form. Therefore, we recommend total N and mineral N be measured when assessing N leaching from turfgrass. Nitrogen leaching from turfgrass production is low from all fertiliser types when the irrigation matches turfgrass water use and N is applied at a rate and frequency that approximates turfgrass requirements.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)147-164
    JournalPlant and Soil
    Volume284
    Issue number1/2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

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