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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: PROTECTING SURFACE AND GROUND WATERS IN EMERGING FARMING SYSTEMS OF THE NORTH CENTRAL UNITED STATES

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Title: Nutrient loss with runoff from fairway turf: an evaluation of core cultivation practices and their environmental impact

Authors
item Rice, Pamela
item Horgan, Brian -

Submitted to: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 9, 2011
Publication Date: August 1, 2011
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/55061
Citation: Rice, P.J., Horgan, B.P. 2011. Nutrient loss with runoff from fairway turf: an evaluation of core cultivation practices and their environmental impact. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 30(11):2473-2480.

Interpretive Summary: The presence of excess nutrients in surfaces waters can result in undesirable environmental and economic consequences including nuisance algal blooms and eutrophication. Fertilizer use in highly managed turf systems such as golf courses and commercial and residential landscapes has raised questions concerning their contribution of nutrients to surrounding surface waters. Experiments were designed to quantify phosphorus and nitrogen transport with runoff from turf plots maintained as a golf course fairway to identify which cultural practice, solid tine (ST) or hollow tine (HT) core cultivation, maximized their retention at the site of application. Simulated precipitation and runoff were completed 26 h following fertilizer application and 63 d and 2 d following core cultivation. Runoff volumes were reduced in fairway turf plots aerated with HT relative to ST. Analysis of the runoff revealed a reduction in soluble phosphorus, ammonium nitrogen, and nitrate nitrogen losses with runoff from plots managed with HT. Runoff-to-surface water scenarios were used to calculate estimated environmental concentrations (EEC) of nitrogen and phosphorus in surface water receiving runoff from turf managed with ST or HT core cultivation. Surface water concentrations of phosphorus remained above water quality criteria to limit eutrophication, with the exception of concentrations associated with HT core cultivation at 2 d. Regardless of management practice and time between core cultivation and runoff all EEC of nitrogen were below levels associated with increased algal growth. Results of this research can be used by golf course managers to identifying strategies that reduce off-site transport of nutrients to improve fertilizer effectiveness at intended sites of application and minimize undesirable effects to surrounding water resources.

Technical Abstract: The presence of excess nutrients in surfaces waters can result in undesirable environmental and economic consequences including nuisance algal blooms and eutrophication. Fertilizer use in highly managed turf systems such as golf courses and commercial and residential landscapes has raised questions concerning their contribution of nutrients to surrounding surface waters. Experiments were designed to quantify phosphorus and nitrogen transport with runoff from turf plots maintained as a golf course fairway to identify which cultural practice, solid tine (ST) or hollow tine (HT) core cultivation, maximized phosphorus and nitrogen retention at the site of fertilizer application. Simulated precipitation and collection of resulting runoff were completed 26 ± 13 h following granular fertilizer application (18-3-18: N-P2O5-K2O) and 63 d and 2 d following core cultivation. Runoff volumes were reduced in fairway turf plots aerated with HT relative to ST (63 d: 10%, 2 d: 55% reduction). Analysis of the runoff revealed a reduction in soluble phosphorus, ammonium nitrogen, and nitrate nitrogen losses with runoff from plots managed with HT; a 5 to 27% reduction after 63 d and a 39 to 77% reduction at 2 d. Golf course runoff-to-surface water scenarios were used to calculate estimated environmental concentrations (EEC) of nitrogen and phosphorus in surface water receiving runoff from turf managed with ST or HT core cultivation. Surface water concentrations of phosphorus remained above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s water quality criteria to limit eutrophication, with the exception of concentrations associated with HT core cultivation at 2 d. Regardless of management practice (ST or HT) and time between core cultivation and runoff (63 d or 2 d) all EEC of nitrogen were below levels associated with increased algal growth. Understanding nutrient transport with runoff and identifying strategies that reduce off-site transport will increase their effectiveness at intended sites of application and minimize undesirable effects to surrounding surface water resources.

Last Modified: 9/20/2014