2007 Annual Report
The National Turfgrass Initiative identified (a) the use of agricultural and municipal by-products as soil amendments and (b) the development of improved soil management practices for the restoration of degraded lands as key priorities for turfgrass research. This SCA builds upon existing research into anaerobic digestion by-products at WVSU and previous research at the AFSRC into the use of coal-combustion by-products as soil amendments to evaluate the potential for improving the chemical, physical, and biological properties of degraded soils using combinations of agricultural and/or industrial by-products. Successful completion of this research will provide new options for the management of turf and amenity grass soils using agricultural and/or industrial by-products that promote or maintain production while reducing the agricultural waste stream.
Progress: A postdoctoral research associate was hired by West Virginia State University in March, 2006 (housed at the AFSRC lab in Beaver, WV). A literature review of desired soil characteristics for turfgrass soils and restoration applications was completed during the summer of 2006. Findings are currently being summarized into a review article that specifies desirable soil properties and the agricultural and/or industrial by-products that may be used to meet these specifications. Agricultural, municipal, and industrial waste products within the Appalachian region (e.g., animal manures, mine spoil, quarry fines) were collected and transported to the AFSRC for physical and chemical characterization. Initial constructed soil mixtures were then developed and tested in greenhouse trials for turf grass establishment, soil physical/chemical properties, water retention, and microbiological properties. Experiments were conducted to mitigate the high levels of potential alkalinity in mixtures constructed using quarry fines and results correlated with soil-plant systems (as determined in greenhouse experiments).
This project is linked with SCA 58-1932-6-0636 (“Soil Management for Turf Applications”) through collaborative research with Virginia Tech. AFSRC scientists hosted Kevin Morris (Director, National Turfgrass Initiative), Michael McKenna (Director of Greens Research, U.S. Golf Association) and Jim Snow (Director of Greens, U.S. Golf Association) in June, 2006 to discuss progress and upcoming plans for constructed soils research. A customer workshop is being planned for the Fall of 2007.
The postdoctoral research associate conducting work under this agreement is located at an ARS facility. As such, monitoring is done through scheduled weekly team meetings, technical advice to cooperator personnel, and on/off site meetings and email correspondence with cooperators.