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Soils and Amendments: Summaries

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Localised Dry Spot

Localized Dry Spot Eradication on a Sand Based Putting Green (2005)

J.B. Ross and M.A. Anderson

Summary

A simple study was established in order to determine if it was possible to eradicate or reduce the effects of localized dry spot (LDS) on a USGA specification putting green. A single application of Primer 604 was compared with a granular and a liquid experimental product and was either applied once or three times. All treatments reduced LDS symptoms when assessed 28 days after the initial treatment. There were no differences between the various treatments when volumetric water content was assessed. Multiple applications were no more effective than single applications. This would indicate that it is not necessary to make any more than one application to reduce the symptoms of LDS. Although there were slight differences between the granular and liquid applications, the differences were so small that they were not considered significant. From this short term study it would appear that it is not possible to completely eradicate LDS with wetting agents.

Soil Amendments

Evaluation of Air-infused Water Applied to Creeping Bentgrass Turf (2012)

Prairie Turfgrass Research Centre

Mark A. Anderson and James B. Ross

January 2011

This trial was developed in order to assess the effects of air-infused water on growth of creeping bentgrass on a sand based putting green.  Applications of an air-infused water was applied at two different rates in conjunction with four different rates of fertilizer.  These treatments were assessed for turfgrass colour and quality, growth response as measured by clipping yield, nutrient analysis of plant tissue, soil oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, soil volumetric water content, and light reflectance measurements.  As rates of fertilizer increased, so did turfgrass colour, quality and clipping yield.  However, the application of the air-infused water did not have an effect.  Fertilizer applications also affected plant tissue content for nitrogen, potassium and sulphur i.e. as rates increased so did the plant nutrient content.  On both rating dates, the higher water volume produced a lower oxygen concentration in the soil.  Carbon dioxide was greater when the high rate of water was applied.  Although, not statistically different, the air-infused water showed a trend towards lower carbon dioxide levels than did the untreated water.  There was also a trend toward higher concentrations of carbon dioxide as fertilizer rates increased.  Soil volumetric water content increased as water application volumes increased.  The air-infused water applications did not appear to have an effect on the light reflectance measurements.  The overall quality of this green was good and applications of the air-infused water may have a more profound effect on greens that are poorly drained and of lesser quality.  Measurement of soil oxygen and carbon dioxide appears to be a promising method for the determination of soil gas differences.

BHO4000 – Integrated Project - Growth of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris) in a sand-based root zone amended with a nutrient loaded biochar (2012)

Sean Brown · Andrew Krek · Brent Lees

Prepared for the Prairie Turfgrass Research Centre, April 11, 2012

Sphagnum peat is currently the industry standard for root zone amendments in a sand-based putting green root zone within the golf industry.  Despite its popularity as a root zone amendment, the process of harvesting peat moss has detrimental effects on the environment destroying hundreds of years of ecosystem development.  Peat moss also breaks down relatively quick with a half-life of one to five years.  This presents the need to find a more sustainable replacement.  Biochar is the by-product of the pyrolysis of plant matter.  This process burns the plant material in the absence of oxygen which ensures the plant material preserves its structure and is stable in the environment.  Some favourable qualities that make biochar a suitable replacement for peat moss is its high nutrient and water holding capacity.  Biochar that has been matured in the soil over several years has shown to produce better yields than fresh biochar additions in crop systems with fewer fertility inputs.  This has led to the hypothesis that fresh biochar can be pre-treated in a nutrient solution to mimic the effects of a matured biochar benefiting plant growth right from establishment.

To test this hypothesis 20 plots were created consisting of five treatments and four replications.  Treatments consisted of 95:5 & 90:10 v/v sand to biochar, and 95:5 & 90:10 v/v sand to nutrient loaded biochar.  Electrical Conductivity (EC), pH, germination, clipping yield, and root length was tested.  The plots were constructed out of PVC pipe and built to simulate a California-style putting green.  Plots were seeded with Penn A-4 creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris). Nutrient loaded biochar was created by saturating it in a solution of a water soluble fertilizer.

After the treatments were created, EC and pH were measured and recorded in order to compare the results to EC and pH at the end of the 8 weeks.  When the first signs of germination appeared it was monitored over the course of a week using a randomized one inch grid system.  During the first four weeks all plots were fertilized.  Clippings were collected, grouped and measured together for this period.  The final four weeks the plots did not receive any fertilizer and clippings were also collected in the same manner.  Root length was measured using a soil probe taking a single plug from each plot.  

From the results it is concluded that nutrient loading biochar has the potential to be a suitable replacement for peat moss as an amendment in putting greens although further research on a full size scale is required.  The 10% biochar mixes performed best overall, specifically in root length and clipping yield.  Nutrient loading the biochar successfully mimicked a mature biochar which aids in the establishment of a newly constructed creeping bentgrass putting green.

Evaluation of a Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria for its Effect on Turfgrass (2010)

James B. Ross and Mark A. Anderson

The product PGPR (Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria) was compared with a synthetic and an organic fertilizer for its effect on turfgrass quality, growth response, and nutrient uptake.  The trial was conducted on a USGA specification sand based putting green located at Olds College, Olds, Alberta.

The PGPR product produced better turfgrass quality than the untreated control on seven of the eight rating dates, although it was only statistically different on the final rating date (table 1).  Generally, the PGPR was equal to the fertilized treatments in spite of the fact that there was no nutrient value to the product.

The plots treated with PGPR had a better growth response, as measured by clipping yields, than the untreated control on each rating date and was significantly better on three rating dates (table 2).  The PGPR produced clipping yields that were statistically similar to three of the four fertility treatments, Milorganite at 0.6 and 1.0 kg N/100m2 and the Contec at 0.6 kg n/100m2.

When compared with the untreated control plant nutrient values were significantly higher for nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, copper and magnesium when the PGPR product was applied (table 3 and 4).  Calcium was considerably higher for the PGPR treatment, but it was not statistically different.  The plant nutrient value for potassium in the PGPR treatment was equal to the high rate of Contec which had 0.5 kg K/100m2 added to the plots.  These results would indicate that the PGPR promoted nutrient availability and uptake.

Field Evaluation of a Soil Surfactant on creeping bentgrass putting green (2010)

J.B. Ross and M.A. Anderson

Prairie Turfgrass Research Centre

The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of two experimental wetting agents for the reduction of localized dry spot on a sand based creeping bentgrass putting green.  At no time during the study period was there any statistical differences between treatments when evaluating turfgrass quality. localized dry spot, or volumetric water content of the root zone.  With regard to water repellency/hydrophobicity, as measured by water droplet penetration time (WDPT), the only significant differences occurred at the thatch-air interface on the final rating date.  When values were averaged over the six depths, those treatments that showed the least water repellency were OARS 190ml/100m2 (every 4 weeks), OARS 130ml/100m2 (every 4 weeks), PBS150 250ml (2 applications 14 days apart), and Respond 3 130 ml every 4 weeks.  The test period was cool and wet and there was little development of localized dry spots.

Evaluation of a Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria for its Effect on Turfgrass (2006)

James B. Ross and Mark A. Anderson

Summary

The product PGPR (Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria) was compared with a synthetic and an organic fertilizer for its effect on turfgrass quality, growth response, and nutrient uptake. The trial was conducted on a USGA specification sand based putting green located at Olds College, Olds, Alberta.

The PGPR product produced better turfgrass quality than the untreated control on seven of the eight rating dates, although it was only statistically different on the final rating date (table 1). Generally, the PGPR was equal to the fertilized treatments in spite of the fact that there was no nutrient value to the product.

The plots treated with PGPR had a better growth response, as measured by clipping yields, than the untreated control on each rating date and was significantly better on three rating dates (table 2). The PGPR produced clipping yields that were statistically similar to three of the four fertility treatments, Milorganite at 0.6 and 1.0 kg N/100m2 and the Contec at 0.6 kg n/100m2.

When compared with the untreated control plant nutrient values were significantly higher for nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, copper and magnesium when the PGPR product was applied (table 3 and 4). Calcium was considerably higher for the PGPR treatment, but it was not statistically different. The plant nutrient value for potassium in the PGPR treatment was equal to the high rate of Contec which had 0.5 kg K/100m2 added to the plots. These results would indicate that the PGPR promoted nutrient availability and uptake.

Interaction of the Wetting Agent Primer and Poor Quality Water on a USGA Specification Soil and Creeping Bentgrass (2003)

By Dean Moravec & Mathieu Champagn

Student Project - Bachelor of Applied Science, Olds College

Summary

With ongoing concerns in the golf course industry on the matter of water conservation it appears to be inevitable that low to poor quality water will have to be utilized as an irrigation source on golf courses.The issue of irrigating with such water poses several problems, one of which is the effect it will have in the soil specifically on nutrient level concentrations and plant availability. The objective of this experiment was to measure the effect of the wetting agent, Primer, on sodium (Na) levels in creeping bentgrass USGA specification greens. High sodium levels in irrigation water have been shown to inhibit calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) availability.

Calcium Treatments to Reduce the Effect of Poor Quality Water on a Simulated Golf Course Green (2003)

D.K Tompkins, J.B. Ross and M.A. Anderson

Abstract

This study attempted to create soil problems in a greenhouse environment that mirror those found in the field. A calcareous sand was used to construct a United States Golf Association specified rootzone mixture and was compared with a mixture that does not meet specifications, i.e. low permeability. This experiment was conducted in small columns using a methodology described by Miltner and Stahnke, 2000. Different calcium sources were used to try to influence a variety of factors. Data measured included: infiltration rates and sodium contents at various rootzone depths, pH, SAR, and total alkalinity to characterize rootzone conditions. As well, detailed measurements of drainage characteristics were undertaken. For the most part, the calcium sources had little effect on most of the factors measured. However, infiltration rates and the % potassium present in the tissue were both positively impacted by certain calcium treatments.

The Effects of Calcium Carbonate On a USGA Specification Rootzone (2003)

John Faber & Mark Lloyd

Olds College - Student Project

Bachelor of Applied Science – Golf Course Management

Abstract

This study was conducted in order to determine the effects of calcium carbonate enhanced irrigation water on soil pH, carbonate levels, infiltration rates, sodium levels, and macronutrient levels within a United States Golf Association (USGA) specification putting green rootzone. Each experimental plot consisted of 12” sections of 4” PVC pipe that was cut into 3” sections and taped together. Each piece of pipe was then filled with a USGA putting green rootzone mixture of 90:10 sand to peat ratio. A plug of Creeping Bentgrass “Penncross” (Agrostis stolonifera) was placed on top of the rootzone mix. Each tube was placed on 2” of ¾”washed rock within a 6” pot. Treatments included: untreated tap water and calcium carbonate enhanced water from Cordova Bay Golf Course in Victoria, British Columbia. Infiltration rates were timed with each 75mL watering. Soil samples were collected and sent to Enviro-Test Laboratories for analysis of pH, EC, macronutrient levels, and carbonate levels. The results showed that there was a decrease in infiltration rates between the two types of water.

Effect of Crumb Rubber Topdressing on Athletic Fields (2002)

D.K. Tompkins, J.B. Ross and D. L. Moroz

Summary

During the summer of 1999, a crumb rubber topdressing experiment was established on two athletic fields in Edmonton to determine the appropriate application interval and depth of application. The goal of this experiment was to determine if the use of crumb rubber topdressing could improve turf resiliency, water infiltration, turf quality, wear tolerance (measured by spring area cover), and growth. Elevated zinc levels in the soil and plant tissue would be expected to be associated with the use of crumb rubber, so it was important to determine if the applications had any negative effects.

The experiment was set up in a split plot design with four replications. Main plot treatments included crumb rubber applications at the following intervals: one time only, annual, and every second year. Therefore, results from 1999 included only the first application. In 2000, a second application (annual treatment) of crumb rubber was made to the appropriate plots and in 2001 the every second year application treatment was initiated. A final evaluation was conducted in the spring of 2002. Subplot treatments included: 0, 6, 12 and 18 mm crumb rubber depth. The sites included selected athletic fields at Tiger Goldstick and Confederation Park in Edmonton.

Effect of Crumb Rubber Topdressing on Golf Course Traffic Areas (2000)

D.K. Tompkins, J.B. Ross and D. L. Moroz

Executive Summary

During the summer of 1999, a crumb rubber topdressing experiment was established on two golf courses: one in Calgary and one in Edmonton. This experiment was continued in 2000. The goal of this study was to determine the impact of the crumb rubber topdressing on turfgrass quality in high traffic areas. Potential benefits of the crumb rubber topdressing are: improved wear tolerance, turf resiliency, and water infiltration. However, it is important that there be no negative impact on turf quality. In particular, zinc levels in soil and tissue were monitored to ensure these levels are not a problem for plant growth.

The experiment was established on high traffic areas at two golf courses: McCall Lake Golf Course in Calgary and Victoria Golf Course in Edmonton. The experiment was set up in a split plot design with four replications. Main plot treatments included four different crumb rubber mesh sizes: less than 20, 10-20, 7-10 and 6-16. Subplot treatments included four depths of crumb rubber topdressing: 0, 6, 12 and 18 mm.

The following observations were made:

  • crumb rubber topdressing improved turf resiliency, but the different mesh sizes had no significant impact
  • in the second year of the study, increased crumb rubber depth was associated with improved water infiltration, while the mesh size had no effect
  • the crumb rubber mesh size had no effect on turf quality while the crumb rubber depth had a statistically significant, but very minimal effect
  • the crumb rubber mesh size had no significant impact on the soil zinc levels, but higher tissue zinc levels were associated with the smaller mesh size
  • both soil zinc levels and tissue levels were associated with increased crumb rubber depth
  • as crumb rubber depth increased there was a related decrease in grass clipping dry weight and overall turf quality.

Therefore, the use of crumb rubber improved turf resiliency and water infiltration, had some impact on turf quality, and did release zinc that was taken up by the plants and reduced plant growth. Since there was higher tissue zinc associated with mesh size, there is a strong possibility that zinc release is related to surface area and a combination of using a larger mesh size, together with a washing treatment could eliminate the problem.