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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Feeding Turf with Wastewater

Authors
item King, Kevin
item Balogh, James - SPECTRUM RESEARCH INC
item Harmel, Daren

Submitted to: Golf Course Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 20, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Scarcity of water in the U.S. and abroad is attracting much attention. A relatively large percentage of potable water is used for irrigation purposes. One alternative to using potable water is using reclaimed water. Reclaimed water is generally considered secondary or tertiary treated wastewater. Reclaimed water generally contains a significant amount of usable nutrients, however when reclaimed water is used for irrigation, the inclusion of those nutrients in the total amount of applied fertilizer is often omitted. The primary findings of this study focussed on the need to include these nutrients in the total nutrient budget and to alter current management practices to reduce the offsite loadings of nutrients when using reclaimed water.

Technical Abstract: Reclaimed irrigation water supplies turfgrass with a constant, low dosage of available nutrients. The turfgrass is very effective in utilizing this source of nitrogen and phosphorus. Incorporation of nitrogen in reclaimed water into the nutrient budget allows for the reduction of higher dose applications of nitrogen. This reduction in pulse nutrient loading increases nutrient uptake efficiency, reduces the total environmental load of nutrients added to the soil, and decreases the risk of offsite transport. Turfgrass irrigation with reclaimed water has many potential benefits, including conserving available freshwater supplies and providing turfgrass with a steady, low dose of available nutrients. Use of recommended nutrient management BMPs (which may include irrigation with reclaimed water) increases the nutrient uptake efficiency of turfgrass and reduces the risk of large nutrient loads moving offsite. Irrigation with reclaimed water may also allow golf course managers to reduce their overall management costs.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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