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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 46 No. 1, p. 209-215
    Received: Apr 28, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): frankk@msu.edu


The Fate of Nitrogen Applied to a Mature Kentucky Bluegrass Turf

  1. Kevin W. Frank *,
  2. Kevin M. O'Reilly,
  3. James R. Crum and
  4. Ronald N. Calhoun
  1. Dep. of Crop and Soil Sci., Michigan St. Univ., 584E PSS Bldg., E. Lansing, MI 48824


Research on nitrate-nitrogen (NO3–N) leaching in turfgrass indicates that, in most cases, leaching poses little risk to the environment. Most of the research was conducted on sites that were recently established, and the potential for greater NO3–N leaching from mature turf sites is unknown. The fate of nitrogen (N) was examined for a 10-yr-old Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) turf using intact monolith lysimeters and microplots. From October 2000 through July 2002, half of the lysimeters and microplots were treated annually with urea at a high rate of 245 kg N ha−1 (49 kg N ha−1 application−1). The remaining lysimeters and microplots were treated annually with urea at a low rate of 98 kg N ha−1 (24.5 kg N ha−1 application−1). The Oct. 2000 urea application was made with 15N double-labeled urea to facilitate fertilizer identification among clippings, verdure, thatch, soil, roots, and leachate. The average total recovery of applied labeled fertilizer nitrogen (LFN) for the low and high N rates was 78 and 74%, respectively. NO3–N concentrations in leachate for the low N rate were typically below 5 mg L−1 For the high N rate, NO3–N concentrations in leachate were often greater than 20 mg L−1 Over approximately 2 yr, 1 and 11% of LFN was recovered in leachate for the low and high N rates, respectively. This research indicates that single dose, high rate, water soluble N applications (49 kg N ha−1 application−1) to mature turfgrass stands should be avoided to minimize the potential for NO3–N leaching.

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