Content and quality of organic matter in the rootzone mixture can affect soil biological activity and turfgrass root development in golf greens. Not much is yet known about these effects under Scandinavian conditions.
A three-year study, 1999-2001, was set up in the Stockholm region in Sweden, to document the effect of soil organic matter content and quality on soil biological activity and turfgrass root development. Agróstis stolonífera was grown in sand dominated rootzone mixtures with three different contents of organic matter (2, 3 and 4% of fenpeat, respectively) and with 3% of compost material consisting of Sphagnum peat (50%) and composted chicken manure (50%). Soil samples were collected three times per year.
The soil samples were analysed by incubations studies, for biological activity and the nitrogen turnover. Total length, weight, carbon and nitrogen content of roots were determined. Soil cores were taken in 2001 to study the root distribution in the soil profile. During the season of construction (1999), the biological activity was highest in the rootzone mixture with compost (35.2 mg C/100 g soil, incubation for 39 days). Year 2000 and 2001, the rootzone mixture with compost had a lower biological activity (33.2 and 27.0 mg C/100 g soil, respectively, incubation 60 days) than the rootzone mixture with fenpeat (36.8 and 30.0 mg C/100 g soil, respectively, incubation 60 days).
The incubation studies showed high nitrogen turnover in all rootzone mixtures. The study further showed that root development was largest in the rootzone mixture with 2% and 3% of fenpeat. The incorporation of the compost material enhanced the establishment of the turfgrass during the construction season compared to incorporation of fenpeat.
Department of Soil Sciences
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences