Golf Course Management

MAR 2015

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

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84 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.15 Petroleum diesel and biodiesel spills affect fairways differently The effects of petroleum diesel and two types of biodiesel were tested on three turfgrass genera in Arkansas. Donald M. Johnson, Ph.D. Don W. Edgar, Ph.D. Douglas E. Karcher, Ph.D. Michael D. Richardson, Ph.D. John H. McCalla, M.S. Turf-damaging fuel spills are usually caused by equipment failure, tank or hose leaks, or careless refueling practices (2). Be - sides being potential environmental hazards, fuel spills result in unsightly turf damage, de - tracting from the aesthetics of the golf course environment. Petroleum diesel is one of the primary fuels used to power maintenance equipment on commercial golf courses. A national study published in 2012 (5) found that 97% of 18- hole golf courses used petroleum diesel, with virtually all (98%) used to fuel maintenance equipment. The typical 18-hole golf course used 3,467 gallons (13,124 liters) of petroleum diesel fuel annually. The increasing worldwide demand for en - ergy, coupled with concerns about emissions, has resulted in greater interest in renewable, clean-burning alternative fuels. Biodiesel is a renewable fuel produced from vegetable oils, cooking greases and oils, or animal fats (3). Five percent of 18-hole golf courses nation - wide used biodiesel in 2008. Courses using biodiesel averaged 2,528 gallons (9,569.5 li - ters) annually, with 90% of that used to fuel maintenance equipment (5). Pure biodiesel (B100) may be blended to produce a 20% bio - diesel blend (B20) that is commonly used in the industry. As biodiesel use increases in the turfgrass industry, the question arises as to the relative effect of petroleum diesel and biodiesel spills on turfgrass. However, a search of the litera - ture failed to locate previous studies address- ing this question. Thus, the objective of this project was to compare the effects on turfgrass damage and recovery of simulated spills of petroleum diesel, a biodiesel blend (B20) and pure biodiesel (B100) at both ambient (90 F [32 C]) and elevated (165 F [74 C]) operat - ing temperatures. A related study (2) evaluated the effect of petroleum, synthetic (polyalkylene-glycol) and vegetable-oil hydraulic fuids, applied at various temperatures and volumes, on necro - sis and recovery of warm-season turfgrasses. As expected, the synthetic hydraulic fuid resulted in the least necrosis and the most rapid recovery; however, vegetable-oil-based hydraulic fuid resulted in less necrosis and faster recovery than petroleum-based hydrau - lic fuid. Since biodiesel is produced primarily from vegetable oils, these fndings suggest bio - diesel spills should have a less negative impact on turfgrass than petroleum diesel spills. Materials and methods This experiment was conducted at the Ar- kansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Fayetteville, Ark., during the sum - mer of 2012. Simulated spills of three fuels (petroleum diesel, B20 and B100) were ap - plied at two temperatures (90 F and 165 F) to SR 1020 creeping bentgrass (Agrostis sto - lonifera L.), TifSport bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon var. dactylon), and Meyer zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.) fairways. Two experiments were conducted. In ex - periment 1, a volume of 20 milliliters was ap- plied by syringe at the center point of each 1.0-square-foot (929-square-centimeter) treat - ment area (Figure 1) on June 8, 2012, and turf injury evaluations extended through July 20, 2012 (42 days). In experiment 2, a volume of 10 milliliters was applied by syringe to the cen - ter point of each 1.0-square-foot treatment area on July 20, 2012, and turf injury evaluations extended through Aug. 31, 2012 (42 days). Experiment 1 (June 8-July 20) Experiment 2 (July 20-31 Aug. 31) Mean (SD) maximum daily temperature (F) † 92.8 (5.4) 92.5 (7.0) Mean (SD) minimum daily temperature (F) 69.4 (4.6) 69.7 (6.4) Total rainfall (inches) 1.4 4.4 † SD = standard deviation. Table 1. Temperature and rainfall during experiments 1 and 2. Temperature and rainfall

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