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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Surface Water Quality

Phosphorus and Nitrate Nitrogen in Runoff Following Fertilizer Application to Turfgrass


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 5, p. 1710-1715
    Received: July 31, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): lshuman@gaes.griffin.peachnet.edu
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  1. L. M. Shuman *
  1. Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Univ. of Georgia, Griffin Campus, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA 30223-1797


Intensively managed golf courses are perceived by the public as possibly adding nutrients to surface waters via surface transport. An experiment was designed to determine the transport of nitrate N and phosphate P from simulated golf course fairways of ‘Tifway’ bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.]. Fertilizer treatments were 10–10–10 granular at three rates and rainfall events were simulated at four intervals after treatment (hours after treatment, HAT). Runoff volume was directly related to simulated rainfall amounts and soil moisture at the time of the event and varied from 24.3 to 43.5% of that added for the 50-mm events and 3.1 to 27.4% for the 25-mm events. The highest concentration and mass of phosphorus in runoff was during the first simulated rainfall event at 4 HAT with a dramatic decrease at 24 HAT and subsequent events. Nitrate N concentrations were low in the runoff water (approximately 0.5 mg L−1) for the first three runoff events and highest (approximately 1–1.5 mg L−1) at 168 HAT due to the time elapsed for conversion of ammonia to nitrate. Nitrate N mass was highest at the 4 and 24 HAT events and step-wise increases with rate were evident at 24 HAT. Total P transported for all events was 15.6 and 13.8% of that added for the two non-zero rates, respectively. Total nitrate N transported was 1.5 and 0.9% of that added for the two rates, respectively. Results indicate that turfgrass management should include applying minimum amounts of irrigation after fertilizer application and avoiding application before intense rain or when soil is very moist.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:1710–1715.