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Crop Science Abstract - Turfgrass Science

Organic Management Practices on Athletic Fields: Part 1. The Effects on Color, Quality, Cover, and Weed Populations


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 52 No. 2, p. 890-903
    Received: June 14, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): jason.henderson@uconn.edu
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  1. Nathaniel A. Miller and
  2. Jason J. Henderson *
  1. Dep. of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Univ. of Connecticut, 1376 Storrs Rd., Unit 4067, Storrs, CT 06269-4067


Many organic products have been used effectively in turfgrass management programs, but their exclusive use in athletic field maintenance and effect on playing surface quality has not been extensively researched. The objectives were to determine the effects of management regimes and overseeding during simulated traffic on (i) turfgrass color and quality, (ii) percent cover, and (iii) weed populations. The experimental design was a 2 × 6 factorial, with two overseeding levels (overseeded and not overseeded) of a perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) blend during traffic and six management regimes: (i) conventional, (ii) organic manure (OMan), (iii) organic protein (OPro), (iv) organic manure plus compost tea (OMan+CT), (v) organic protein plus compost tea (OPro+CT), and (vi) none or the control. This research was conducted over 2 yr on a mature stand of ‘Langara’ Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) on a Paxton sandy loam soil. Fall traffic was simulated with a Cady Traffic Simulator. The conventional treatment consistently produced higher quality turfgrass, lower weed counts, and better mid- to late-fall color. Weed populations were significantly less with the conventional regime. Overseeding increased cover at the end of the traffic periods by 32% in the first year and by 103% in the second year. Overseeding was also beneficial to turfgrass color and quality and in reducing weeds. The conventional treatment also retained significantly higher turfgrass cover than the organic regimes under trafficked conditions late into the fall in 2008. However, no difference in late fall cover between the conventional and organic management regimes was observed in late fall 2009. Compost tea applications showed no enhancement of turfgrass color, quality, or cover over the entire duration of the study.

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