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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 32 No. 5, p. 1694-1700
    Received: Dec 14, 2002

    * Corresponding author(s): yaqian@lamar.colostate.edu
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Long-Term Effects of Clipping and Nitrogen Management in Turfgrass on Soil Organic Carbon and Nitrogen Dynamics

  1. Y. L. Qian *a,
  2. W. Bandaranayakea,
  3. W. J. Partonb,
  4. B. Mechamc,
  5. M. A. Harivandid and
  6. A. R. Mosiere
  1. a Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1173
    b Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (NREL), Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1173
    c Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, Loveland, CO 80539
    d University of California Cooperative Extension, Alameda, CA 94502
    e USDA-ARS, Soil–Plant–Nutrient Research Unit, Fort Collins, CO 80522


Experiments to document the long-term effects of clipping management on N requirements, soil organic carbon (SOC), and soil organic nitrogen (SON) are difficult and costly and therefore few. The CENTURY ecosystem model offers an opportunity to study long-term effects of turfgrass clipping management on biomass production, N requirements, SOC and SON, and N leaching through computer simulation. In this study, the model was verified by comparing CENTURY-predicted Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) clipping yields with field-measured clipping yields. Long-term simulations were run for Kentucky bluegrass grown under home lawn conditions on a clay loam soil in Colorado. The model predicted that compared with clipping-removed management, returning clippings for 10 to 50 yr would increase soil C sequestration by 11 to 25% and nitrogen sequestration by 12 to 28% under a high (150 kg N ha−1 yr−1) nitrogen (N) fertilization regime, and increase soil carbon sequestration by 11 to 59% and N sequestration by 14 to 78% under a low (75 kg N ha−1 yr−1) N fertilization regime. The CENTURY model was further used as a management supporting system to generate optimal N fertilization rates as a function of turfgrass age. Returning grass clippings to the turf–soil ecosystem can reduce N requirements by 25% from 1 to 10 yr after turf establishment, by 33% 11 to 25 yr after establishment, by 50% 25 to 50 yr after establishment, and by 60% thereafter. The CENTURY model shows potential for use as a decision-supporting tool for maintaining turf quality and minimizing negative environmental impacts.

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Copyright © 2003. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyASA, CSSA, SSSA