Shoot and Root Growth Response of Perennial Ryegrass to Fertilizer Placement Depth
- James A. Murphy and
- David E. Zaurov
A better understanding of turfgrass growth responses to the vertical placement of nutrients in the soil is needed if growth responses are to be maximized. This greenhouse work examined the shoot and root growth responses of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) to placement of N-P-K fertilizer at various depths in a sandy clay loam and in a sandpeat mixture. Fertilization at the 5-, 10-, and 15-cm soil depths produced greater verdure and total root mass than fertilization at 0 cm in both the sandy clay loam and sand-peat. Root mass increases occurred within the 5- to 35-cm zone of the sandy clay loam and the 10- to 35-cm zone of the sand-peat with subsurface fertilization. Water use efficiency was increased 11% in the sandy clay loam with 10 and 15 cm deep fertilization and 21% in the sand-peat with 5 cm deep fertilization compared with surface fertilization. Except for P, nutrient accumulation with subsurface fertilization matched or exceeded that achieved with surface fertilization. Management practices that position nutrients below the soil surface and as deep as 15 cm can improve turfgrass growth responses to fertilizer. Further research needs to relate irrigation, fertilization, cultivation, and soil modification practices to fertilizer placement, and subsequently shoot and root growth responses.
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