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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 69 No. 2, p. 283-287
    Received: Aug 22, 1976

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Post-harvest Heating and Survival of Sod as Influenced by Pre-harvest and Harvest Management1

  1. C. H. Darrah III and
  2. A. J. Powell Jr.2



Harvested turfgrass sod is a highly perishable commodity. Decline in quality and even death can occur if sod is not transplanted within a relatively short time. Respiratory heating is assumed to be the major deleterious effect occurring within the sod mass.

Simulated storage conditions were employed to study the post-harvest heating, carbohydrate response, and survival of a Kentucky bluegrass (Poa patensis L.) - red fescue (Festuca rubra L.) sod. Mowing height, nitrogen fertility, clipping residue, and mowing interval were preharvest techniques investigated. Time of harvest and cutting depth were evaluated as harvest techniques.

Sod which was 28C when placed into storage heated to 39C after 72 hours. During the storage period carbohydrates declined from 21.8 to 10.7%. Increased storage time resulted in significantly less top and root regrowth after transplanting. Low mowing heights, low nitrogen fertility, and clipping removal contributed to less heating during storage. Sod mowed at 7.6 cm heated to 46C after 72 hours of storage. Sod grown under low N fertility heated to 41C while high nitrogen sod heated to 44C after 72 hours of storage. Clipping removal vs. nonremoval accounted for a 4C differential in storage temperature after 48 hours. Mowing interval had no significant effect on storage temperature.

Early morning harvest resulted in the lowest storage temperatures and greatest survival. A temperature difference as great as 14C was measured between sod harvested at 0600 and 1500 hours. Decreasing the amount of soil between layers of sod contributed to higher temperatures during storage. Thin cut sod heated to 47C while sod cut to a depth of 1.9 cm heated to 38C after 72 hours.

The detrimental effects of high temperatures encountered during sod storage can be reduced. Lowest storage temperatures occurred when sod was harvested in early morning. Removal of active biomass from the sod stack was also an effective means of limiting storage temperatures. Treatments which contributed to the generation of more heat during storage suffered the greatest loss of live turf

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