Optimizing Nitrogen Management in Food and Energy Production and Environmental Protection: 2nd International Nitrogen Conference 2001View this Special Issue
Soil Nitrate Monitoring for Turfgrass Sod Farms and Other Turf Areas
Studies with established turf and golf courses have indicated minimal risk of nitrate pollution of groundwater resulting from turfgrass management, but soil nitrate flux in turfgrass sod production farms and golf courses has received less attention. Information about nitrate-N flux at a particular location can be helpful to the sod producer or the golf course manager when efficiently applying N fertilizers and minimizing risk of nitrate pollution. We used an ion exchange resin capsule system to continuously monitor soil nitrate-N fluxes at 12 sites in southern Rhode Island, including turfgrass sod production farms and a low-maintenance environment. Four capsules were placed in the soil at each site and retrieved at intervals coinciding with management and meteorological events to determine nitrate ion accumulation. We found that the golf course green exhibited significantly higher nitrate-N fluxes than the sod farms and the low-maintenance turf. There was significant interaction between sampling date and study site, indicating that seasonal variation in soil nitrate-N fluxes was affected by turfgrass management. The cultural practice of late fall fertilization to stimulate early spring growth in the following year appeared to present some risk of nitrate loss during the winter from the golf course greens in our region. We conclude that site-specific and time-relevant monitoring is needed to produce and manage turfgrasses in an environmentally sound manner.