Centipedegrass Decline and Recovery as Affected by Fertilizer and Cultural Treatments
- B. J. Johnson ,
- R. N. Carrow and
- R. E. Burns
Centipedegrass [Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro) Hack.] turf is often over-fertilized, resulting in “centipede decline.” The purpose of this research was to determine the influence of fertilizer programs and cultural treatments on centipedegrass recovering from decline and for several years after recovery. Treatments were arranged in a split-block statistical design with subunits in strips. Primary strips were seven cultural treatments and subunit strips were five fertilizer programs. The soil type was a Cecil sandy loam (clayey, kaolinitic, thermic Typic Hapludult). Centipedegrass with decline (50%) recovered to an acceptable turfgrass quality and density after 2 yr of annual treatments with 100-44-83 N-P-K rates (kg ha−1) applied in April. Scalping, topdressing, and vertical mowing did not improve turfgrass recovery during the first 2 yr of the study. Quality was improved by a 200-88-166 N-P-K rate (kg ha−1) for the first 3 yr, but thereafter, the grass lost density and was chlorotic. There was no benefit from additional K applied in late August to plots previously treated with a 100-44-83 N-P-K rate in April. Topdressing with soil improved spring growth, qualtiy, and shoot density more than did vertical mowing or scalping. Thatch increased by 18% with annual 100-44-83 N-P-K treatments, and similar thatch levels occurred with the 200-88-166 N-P-K treatment. Topdressing with soil decreased thatch accumulation 48% compared to untreated turf. Vertical mowing twice per year provided 15 to 17% thatch control, and scalping none. Fertilization at the 100-44-88 N-P-K rate plus annual topdressing provided the best turfgrass quality, shoot density, and lowest thatch accumulation.
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