Thatch Accumulation in Bermudagrass as Influenced by Cultural Practices1
- R. H. White and
- Ray Dickens2
Excessive thatch accumulation is a serious problem in golf course putting greens and other intensively managed turfgrass areas. More effective procedues for thatch control are needed. The relationship between different cultural practices and thatch accumulation was studied on Dothan sand loam (fine-loamy, siliceous, thermic Plinthic Paleudult) in an experimental putting green planted to three bermndagrasses [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt- Davy] cultivars Tifdwarf, Tifgreen, and a selection called Dothan. Practices evaluated included N source, core aerification, vertical mowing, and sand topdressing. A multiple split plot experimental design allowed the evaluation of each individual practice in combination with all others. Effects of treatments on thatch were determined by measuring thatch depth and the compressibility of the turf surface with a thatch compression meter. Thatch accumulation, after three seasons, increased in the order: Tifgreen, Dothan, Tifdwarf. However, the effects of treatments on thatch accumulation were similar for all cultivars. Four topdressings per year reduced thatch accumulation more than a single topdressing and increased mat depth. Neither monthly aerification nor biweekly vertical mowing provided more thatch control than twice yearly application of the respective cultural practice. Fertilization with activated sewage sludge resulted in 14% more thatch than when NH4NO3 was the N source. Within a given topdressing frequency, no differences in thatch accumulation occurred among N sources, levels of aerification, or vertical mowing. The regression of millimeters compressibility on thatch depth was not significant. Turf quality was not correlated with thatch depth. Tifdwarf had the greatest accumulation on thatch and also produced high turf quality ratings. Nitrogen source influenced turf quality more than other treatments. Activated sewage sludge produced superior turf quality, although more thatch was produced than when NH4NO3 was applied. Cultural practices had no consistent effect on establishment of ‘Pennfine’ perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) overseeded on the experimental green. Ammonium nitrate produced better ryegrass quality than activated sewge sludge. Plots fertilized with activated sewage sludge had significantly more annual bluegrass (Poa annua L.) than those receiving NH4NO3. Core aerification, topdressing, nor vertical mowing frequency affected ryegrass quality or annual bluegrass occurrenPlease view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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