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Abstract Detail


McLay , Daniel Foy [1], Hildebrand, Terri [2].

The effects of plant-derived supplements on plant biomass and the rhizosphere associated with golf course grasses.

A common practice today is the use of synthetic fertilizers and their associated high water needs on golf courses.  These compounds are rich in sulfates and nitrogen and help in maintaining creeping bentgrass and annual bluegrass (Agrostis palustris and Poa annua, Poaceae) greens. Despite their ability to make greens look superior, use of synthetic fertilizers does not imply a healthier rhizosphere in the solum. In contrast, plant-based soil amendments may have a greater potential to improve the microbial environments that support the extensive, commercial golf industry that exists in the southwestern United States. My study investigated an alternative golf course soil amendment that does not possess the negative environmental concerns associated with synthetic fertilizers.   Molasses is produced from sugar cane stems (Poaceae) or sugar beets (Amaranthaceae) by boiling plant products one or more times. Syrups are high in crystallized sugars, have low levels of some vitamins (e.g., biotin), and also contain salts such as calcium and potassium. I hypothesized that the sugars available with molasses supplements increase mycorrhizal assocations with grass roots as well as above- and belowground plant biomass. I established “plots” of golf course grasses in 15 cm pots placed in a greenhouse where environmental parameters such as temperature and light were controlled. I scattered 0.4 g of golf course grass seed mix in pots that contained either previously treated golf course sand or sands collected from a non-treated dune area.  Watering occurred every 4 days for a total of 14 watering periods.  Thirty-six pots received no molasses amendments and 72 pots were amended at either a 1:20 or 1:15 molasses concentration for the first seven watering periods. Germination occurred after six days and data collection on cover began on Day 9.  Preliminary results showed a significant difference among soil types as well as amendments with germination and earliest coverage greatest in pots receiving no treatment.  As early as sixteen days after planting, grass cover percent increased at a more rapid rate in pots amended with molasses solutions and a distinctive change in color was evident with grasses appearing brighter green when receiving amendments.  Data collection is on-going with percent cover information collected over a 56-day period.  At the conclusion of this research, data on dried above- and belowground biomass will be collected.  Additionally, randomly selected root tips from each pot will be stained and examined for mycorrhizal fungi. 

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1 - Southern Utah University, Biology, 351 West University Boulevard , Cedar City, Utah, 84720, USA
2 - Sweetgrass Consulting, 1223 West Cedar Knolls South, Cedar City, Utah , 84720, USA

turf management
vesicular arbuscular mycorrhiza
putting green.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Session: P
Location: Eyrie/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PEP010
Abstract ID:783
Candidate for Awards:Physiological Section Best poster presentation,Physiological Section Physiological Section Li-COR Prize


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