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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Nitrogen Source Effect on Nitrate and Ammonium Leaching and Runoff Losses from Greens1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 6, p. 947-950
    Received: Aug 7, 1981

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  1. K. W. Brown,
  2. J. C. Thomas and
  3. R. L. Duble2



The use of sandy rooting media with rapid infiltration rates in the construction of golf greens provides the potential for N pollution of nearby water supplies. This study was designed to measure the effects of different N sources on NO3 and NH+4 concentrations in leachate and runoff from golf greens constructed with various rooting media.

Individual golf greens with USGA-type profiles were constructed in the field with upper 30 cm layers consisting of sand-peat, sandsoil-peat and sandy loam soil mixtures. All profiles were equipped with subsurface tile drains over a plastic sheet and were treated sequentially with the following N fertilizers: NH4NO4, ureaformaldehyde, 12-12-12, Milorganite, and IBDU. Leachate and runoff were collected and analyzed for NO3 and NH+4. Nitrate concentrations in leachate from sand, mixed, and soil greens fertilized with quick release materials ranged from 45 to 326, 8 to 314 and 8 to 170 mg liter−1, respectively and remained in this range for a 3-week period. Runoff concentrations from the greens constructed of sandy loam soil exceeded 30 mg liter−1. No runoff was collected from sand or mixed greens.

Nitrate N losses from various sources were in the order of NH4NO3 > 12-12-12 > Milorganite > Isobutylenediurea (IBDU) > Ureaformaldehyde. lsobutylenediurea provided a very uniform release rate. Milorganite had a 25 to 30 day delay before NO3 appeared in the leachate. Soluble sources, NH4NO3, and 12-12-12 exhibited leaching within 5 days after application. It appears that regular moderate applications of slow release N sources would provide minimum NO3 loss while supplying a continuous N supply.

Ammonium losses ranked from greatest to smallest were NH4NO3 > Ureaformaldehyde > Milorganite > 12-12-12 > IBDU. Ammonium losses contributed very little to the total N losses from golf greens. Highest total N loss was 23% of the applied N.

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