Plant and Soil

, Volume 316, Issue 1–2, pp 81–96 | Cite as

Does N fertiliser regime influence N leaching and quality of different-aged turfgrass (Pennisetum clandestinum) stands?

  • L. Barton
  • G. G. Y. Wan
  • R. P. Buck
  • T. D. Colmer
Regular Article


The effects of N fertiliser regimes on N leaching and turfgrass quality during the establishment and maintenance of Kikuyu turfgrass (Pennisetum clandestinum (Holst. Ex Chiov)) were evaluated in a 24 month field study. Treatments included two turfgrass ages (established from 20 week or 20 year old turfgrass, the later included a 50 mm ‘mat’ layer), three N application rates (50, 100 or 150 kg N ha−1 yr−1) and three application frequencies (every 4 weeks, 4 applications per year, 2 applications per year); and included turfgrass plots that received no N fertiliser. Nitrogen leaching, measured using soil lysimeters, ranged from 35 to 69 kg N ha−1 by the end of 24 months, and varied with turfgrass age, but not N fertiliser regime. Greatest N losses occurred during turfgrass establishment, with up to 50% of all N leached in the organic form. We recommend measuring both total N and mineral N when assessing N leaching from turfgrass. The quality of the older turfgrass was maintained using less N fertiliser than the younger turfgrass, while increasing N application frequency improved the consistency of turfgrass growth and colour.


Application frequency Dissolved organic-N Kikuyu Lysimeter Nitrate Turfgrass establishment 



Greenacres Turf Farm is thanked for help in the design and maintenance of the irrigator. Murdoch Challenger TAFE, City of Stirling, City of Canning, City of Perth, Lovegroves and the WA Golf Course Superintendents Association for providing staff and students to assist with planting and mowing. Members of the UWA Turf Industries Research Steering Committee for their support and advice. Comments made by three anonymous reviewers improved the manuscript. This project has been facilitated by Horticulture Australia Ltd in partnership with the Australian turf industry. It was funded by voluntary contributions from the Parks and Leisure Association of Australia (representing a consortium of local and state government authorities), CSBP Ltd, Organic 2000, Turf Grass Association of Australia (WA), WA Golf Course Superintendents Association, Baileys Fertilisers, Turf Master Facility Management, Turf Growers Association of Western Australia, Lawn Doctor, Micro Control Engineering, and the Water Corporation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Barton
    • 1
  • G. G. Y. Wan
    • 1
  • R. P. Buck
    • 1
  • T. D. Colmer
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural SciencesThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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