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Nutrient uptake in tropical turfgrasses growing in winter in southern Queensland

Menzel, C.M. and Broomhall, P. (2006) Nutrient uptake in tropical turfgrasses growing in winter in southern Queensland. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 46 (9). pp. 1217-1224.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/EA04246

Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au

Abstract

The effects of fertilisers on 8 tropical turfgrasses growing in 100-L bags of sand were studied over winter in Murrumba Downs, just north of Brisbane in southern Queensland (latitude 27.4°S, longitude 153.1°E). The species used were: Axonopus compressus (broad-leaf carpetgrass), Cynodon dactylon (bermudagrass 'Winter Green') and C. dactylon x C. transvaalensis hybrid ('Tifgreen'), Digitaria didactyla (Queensland blue couch), Paspalum notatum (bahiagrass '38824'), Stenotaphrum secundatum (buffalograss 'Palmetto'), Eremochloa ophiuroides (centipedegrass 'Centec') and Zoysia japonica (zoysiagrass 'ZT-11'). Control plots were fertilised with complete fertilisers every month from May to September (72 kg N/ha, 31 kg P/ha, 84 kg K/ha, 48 kg S/ha, 30 kg Ca/ha and 7.2 kg Mg/ha), and unfertilised plots received no fertiliser. Carpetgrass and standard bermudagrass were the most sensitive species to nutrient supply, with lower shoot dry weights in the unfertilised plots (shoots mowed to thatch level) compared with the fertilised plots in June. There were lower shoot dry weights in the unfertilised plots in July for all species, except for buffalograss, centipedegrass and zoysiagrass, and lower shoot dry weights in the unfertilised plots in August for all species, except for centipedegrass. At the end of the experiment in September, unfertilised plots were 11% of the shoot dry weights of fertilised plots, with all species affected. Mean shoot nitrogen concentrations fell from 3.2 to 1.7% in the unfertilised plots from May to August, below the sufficiency range for turfgrasses (2.8-3.5%). There were also declines in P (0.45-0.36%), K (2.4-1.5%), S (0.35-0.25%), Mg (0.24-0.18%) and B (9-6 mg/kg), which were all in the sufficiency range. The shoots in the control plots took up the following levels (kg/ha.month) of nutrients: N, 10.0-27.0; P, 1.6-4.0; K, 8.2-19.8; S, 1.0-4.2; Ca, 1.1-3.3; and Mg, 0.8-2.2, compared with applications (kg/ha.month) of: N, 72; P, 31; K, 84; S, 48; Ca, 30; and Mg, 7.2, indicating a recovery of 14-38% for N, 5-13% for P, 10-24% for K, 2-9% for S, 4-11% for Ca and 11-30% for Mg. These results suggest that buffalograss, centipedegrass and zoysiagrass are less sensitive to low nutrient supply than carpetgrass, bermudagrass, blue couch and bahiagrass. Data on nutrient uptake showed that the less sensitive species required only half or less of the nitrogen required to maintain the growth of the other grasses, indicating potential savings for turf managers in fertiliser costs and the environment in terms of nutrients entering waterways.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Plant Science
Additional Information:Reproduced with permission from © CSIRO Publishing. Access to published version may be available via Publisher’s website.
Keywords:Shoot nutrient; concentrations; warm season grasses.
Subjects:Plant culture > Lawns and turfgrasses
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Fertilisers
Deposited On:02 Feb 2009 02:04
Last Modified:19 Nov 2010 04:45

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