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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 59 No. 4, p. 320-323
    Received: Jan 9, 1967

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Investigations into the Nature of Thatch and Methods for its Decomposition1

  1. F. B. Ledeboer and
  2. C. R. Skogley2



The rate of thatch decay in turf was investigated following treatment with certain mono- and disaccharides in combination with calcium and fertilizer. In a field study on 15-year-old velvet bentgrass putting turf, sucrose treatments decreased turf quality and modified die stimulating effects of fertilizer. Lime had no influence on turf quality. Sucrose tended to increase the incidence of dollar spot disease, while fertilizer decreased it.

In a greenhouse study on heavily thatched lawn sod, glucose, cellulase, and soil topdressings did not affect turf quality. No increase in thatch decomposition was obtained in these experiments. Chemical analysis of the thatch gave an average lignin content 10% higher than that reported for cereal straws and 12 to 13% greater than for live top growth.

An investigation into the physical thatch structure showed that sclerified vascular strands of stems and leaf sheaths were more resistant to decay than clippings or sloughed leaves. Nodes and crown tissues were most resistant. Intact fibrous roots were numerous in the upper thatch layer; only few extended through the thatch into the soil.

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