Golf Course Management

JUN 2014

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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88 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 06.14 RESEARCH SAYS • Biosolids are primarily organic, solid materials produced by wastewater treatment processes and have value as nutrient sources or soil amendments. • Turf color, turf quality and turf tissue tests showed results comparable to or better than commercial and synthetic fertilizers in the study. • Soil chemistry tests showed that soil-extractable phosphorous increased over two years at both sites; soil-extractable sodium increased at one site and decreased at the other. • Biosolids can be used to effectively and inexpen - sively fertilize golf course rough; superintendents should test the products before use. tion rate supplied excessive nitrogen, other minerals and/or salts as these materials built up over time. Additional studies evaluating rates between the low and high rates used in this study should be evaluated to fne-tune fu - ture applications. A huge advantage of fertilizing with biosol - ids is cost. At the start of the study, there was no cost for the MWRDGC biosolids, while the golf course price per pound of actual nitro - gen in the commercial products ranged from $0.53 per pound for urea to $4.83 per pound for Nature Safe (Table 1). If used to fertilize 30 acres of mowed rough turf with two pounds of nitrogen/1,000 square feet/year, the cost to apply urea would be $1,385.21 compared to $12,623.69 for Nature Safe; at the same time, there was no cost per pound of nitrogen in the MWRDGC biosolids because it was available at no cost. Overall, it's little wonder that some Chicago-area superintendents are using MWRDGC biosolids in rough areas. Given both the turf management and fnancial value of this material, the wonder is why it's not more widely used. Acknowledgments Thanks to the Metropolitan Water Rec- lamation District of Greater Chicago for funding this research and to their Soil Sci - ence Section and Analytical Laboratory Divi- sions staff for providing lab analyses; super- intendents Randy Wahler (Knollwood Golf Club) and Dave Ward (Coyote Run Golf Course) and their staffs for hosting this study and managing the research areas; and Kevin Armstrong, Shelby Henning, Rich Pyter and Emily Thomas of UIUC for data analyses and collection. Literature cited 1. Carrow, R.N, D.V. Waddington and P.E. Rieke. 2001. Turfgrass Soil Fertility and Chemical Problems: Assessment and Management. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, N.J. 2. Dinelli, D. 2004. Compost scores high on golf course. BioCycle 45(7 ):52-54. 3. Garling, D.C., and M.J. Boehm. 2001. Temporal effects of compost and fertilizer applications on nitrogen fertility of golf course turfgrass. Agronomy Journal 93(3):548-555. 4. Linde, D.T., and L.D. Hepner. 2005. Turfgrass seed and sod establishment on soil amended with biosol - ids compost. HortTechnology 15(3):577-583. 5. Tian, G., T.C. Granato, F.D. Dinelli and A.E. Cox. 2008. Effectiveness of biosolids in enhancing soil microbial populations and N mineralization in golf course putting greens. Applied Soil Ecology 40(2):381-386. Thomas Voigt ( is an associate profes - sor and Extension specialist in the department of crop sci- ences at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill. Guanglong Tian, Albert Cox, Pauline Lindo, Kuldip Kumar and Thomas Granato are all employees of the Metropolitan Water Rec - lamation District of Greater Chicago. What you need to know about biosolids Biosolids can be an inexpensive mineral source for fertilizing your roughs, but be sure to learn about your locally produced product and conduct small experi- ments in out-of-the-way areas before committing to large-scale use. Whenever conducting in-house research, be sure to leave untreated check plots so you can make meaningful comparisons between treated and untreated areas. Here are several questions that you should ask the biosolids supplier in order to guide your potential biosolids use. • Do the biosolids meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency exceptional quality standard? • What are the typical amounts of nitrogen, phospohorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium in the biosolids, and how do these vary from batch to batch? • Are the biosolids free of offensive odors? • Are the biosolids free of weed seed? • Are the physical characteristics of the biosolids uniform to ensure easy application? • About what percent of nitrogen and phosphorus are available during the first season after application and in the long term? • What is an appropriate application rate? • When are biosolids typically available? • What is the cost per pound of nitrogen (or other mineral in the biosolids) compared to commercial products? 078-089_June14_TechwellCuttingEdge.indd 88 5/19/14 10:48 AM

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