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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - SOIL CARBON SEQUESTRATION & GREENHOUSE GAS MITIGATION

Soil Organic Carbon Input from Urban Turfgrasses


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 2, p. 366-371
    Received: Feb 24, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): Yaling.Qian@colostate.edu
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  1. Yaling Qian *a,
  2. Ronald F. Follettb and
  3. John M. Kimblec
  1. a Dep. of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO 80523-1173
    b USDA-ARS, Soil–Plant–Nutrient Research Unit, Fort Collins, CO 80522
    c USDA-NRCS (retired), 151 East Hill Church Road, Addison, NY 14801


Turfgrass is a major vegetation type in the urban and suburban environment. Management practices such as species selection, irrigation, and mowing may affect C input and storage in these systems. Research was conducted to determine the rate of soil organic C (SOC) changes, soil C sequestration, and SOC decomposition of fine fescue (Festuca spp.) (rainfed and irrigated), Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) (irrigated), and creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds.) (irrigated) using C isotope techniques. We found that 4 yr after establishment, about 17 to 24% of SOC at 0 to 10 cm and 1 to 13% from 10 to 20 cm was derived from turfgrass. Irrigated fine fescue added the most SOC (3.35 Mg C ha−1 yr−1) to the 0- to 20-cm soil profile but also had the highest rate of SOC decomposition (2.61 Mg C ha−1 yr−1). The corresponding additions and decomposition rates for unirrigated fine fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and creeping bentgrass in the top 20-cm soil profile were 1.39 and 0.87, 2.05 and 1.73, and 2.28 and 1.50 Mg C ha−1 yr−1, respectively. Irrigation increased both SOC input and decomposition. We found that all turfgrasses exhibited significant C sequestration (0.32–0.78 Mg ha−1 yr−1) during the first 4 yr after turf establishment. The net C sequestration rate was higher, however, for irrigated fine fescue and creeping bentgrass than for Kentucky bluegrass. To evaluate total C balance, additional work is needed to evaluate the total C budget and fluxes of the other greenhouse gases in turfgrass systems.

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