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Effect of Fertilizer Source on Nitrate Leaching, Plant Water Consumption, and Turf and Ornamental Quality


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EFFECT OF FERTILIZER SOURCE ON NITRATE LEACHING, PLANT WATER CONSUMPTION, AND TURF AND ORNAMENTAL QUALITY By SUBHRAJIT K. SAHA A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2004

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I express my deep gratitude to Dr. Laurie E. Trenholm (cochair of my supervisory committee) for her excellent guidance and assistance during the course of my graduate work. I would like to thank my other cochair (Dr. J. Bryan Unruh) for his advice, support, and inspiration. I sincerely appreciate my external committee member (Dr. Jerry Sartain) for his help and suggestions. I also would like to thank my two other committee members (Dr. Rick Schoellhorn and Dr. Tim Broschat) for their assistance. Dr. Schoellhorns friendliness always inspired me and Dr. Broschat always helped me with his valuable inputs. I gratefully acknowledge Florida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN) and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for partial funding of this research. I would like to thank Brian Owens for technical support of my study and for his valuable suggestions. I thank Joon Lee, Shirley Anderson, Mark Warner, Ty Twist and Brian Hinote for their help in my research. I extend warm thanks to Prof. N. Roychowdhury and Dr. Shilpi Roychowdhury, Prof. N.P. Koley and Biva Koley for their inspiration and advice. I am grateful to Samiran Sinha, Dr. Suman and Debjani Mazumder, Dr. Kajal and Suparna Biswas for their love and friendship. I am deeply grateful to my parents (Mr. S.N. Saha and Mrs. Aloka Saha) for their love and moral support. I extend my gratitude to my brother-in-law (Major S.K. Saha); my sister (Mrs. Indrani Saha), and my nieces (Sanjana and Nilanjana) for their love and encouragement. ii

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS..................................................................................................ii LIST OF TABLES...............................................................................................................v LIST OF FIGURES..........................................................................................................vii ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................viii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 Environmental Concern................................................................................................1 Plant Materials..............................................................................................................3 St. Augustinegrass.................................................................................................3 Ornamental Plants.................................................................................................4 Multispectral Reflectance (MSR) Measurement..........................................................6 Water.............................................................................................................................7 Nitrogen........................................................................................................................8 2 MATERIALS AND METHODS...............................................................................10 3 EFFECT OF FERTILIZER SOURCE ON NITRATE LEACHING AND ST. AUGUSTINEGRASS TURF QUALITY...................................................................15 Introduction.................................................................................................................15 Materials and Methods...............................................................................................18 Results and Discussion...............................................................................................22 Multispectral Reflectance....................................................................................22 Visual Quality, Color, and Density.....................................................................22 Thatch Accumulation..........................................................................................23 Shoot and Root Growth.......................................................................................23 Nitrate Leaching by Concentration (mg L-1).......................................................24 Nitrate Leaching by Volume (mg)......................................................................25 Leaf Tissue Nutrient............................................................................................25 Conclusions.................................................................................................................26 iii

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4 EFFECT OF FERTILIZER SOURCE ON NITRATE LEACHING AND ORNAMENTAL PLANT QUALITY........................................................................33 Introduction.................................................................................................................33 Materials and Methods...............................................................................................35 Results and Discussion...............................................................................................38 Multispectral Reflectance....................................................................................38 Shoot and Root Growth.......................................................................................39 Nitrate Leaching (mg L-1)....................................................................................40 Leaf Tissue Nutrient............................................................................................40 Conclusions.................................................................................................................41 5 WATER CONSUMPTION IN TURF AND ORNAMENTALS...............................46 Introduction.................................................................................................................46 Materials and Methods...............................................................................................48 Results and Discussion...............................................................................................51 Comparison of Water Consumption by Turf and Ornamentals...........................51 Effect of Fertilizer on Water Consumption of Turf and Ornamentals................52 Water Use Efficiency (WUE)..............................................................................53 Correlation between Shoots, Roots, and Soil Moisture with Water Use.............54 Change in Soil Moisture Content during Seven Days with No Irrigation...........54 Conclusions.................................................................................................................55 6 CONCLUSIONS........................................................................................................63 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................64 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................69 iv

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1. Multispectral reflectance values in turfgrass throughout the fertilizer cycle.............27 3-2. Turfgrass visual quality in response to fertilizer sources...........................................28 3-3. Turf thatch, shoot and root weight in response to fertilizer treatments......................28 3-4. Nitrate leaching (mg L-1) from turf and ornamentals in response to fertilizer treatments.................................................................................................................29 3-5. Nitrate leaching (mg) from turf and ornamentals in response to fertilizer treatments.................................................................................................................30 3-6. Turf leaf tissue nutrient concentration (ppm) in response to fertilizer treatments.....30 4-1. Multispectral reflectance values in ornamentals throughout the fertilizer cycle........42 4-2. Comparison of shoot weight of Allamanda cathartica pruned in October.................43 4-3. Ornamental shoot dry weight (g) in response to fertilizer treatments........................43 4-4. Cumulative ornamental root dry weight (g) in response to fertilizer treatments........44 4-5. Nitrate leaching (mg L-1) from ornamentals in response to fertilizer treatments.......44 4-6. Ornamental leaf tissue nutrient concentration (ppm) in response to fertilizer treatments.................................................................................................................45 5-1. Irrigation schedule (L) in 6 fertilizer cycles...............................................................56 5-2. Average temperature (C) in the green house during the study..................................56 5-3. Effects of fertilizer source on water consumption (L) of turf in 6 fertilizer cycles....56 5-4. Effects of fertilizer source on water consumption (L) of ornamentals in 6 fertilizer cycles........................................................................................................................57 5-5.Water use efficiency (WUE) of turf measured (g L-1) during summer and over the year...........................................................................................................................57 v

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5-6. Water use efficiency (WUE) of ornamentals measured (g L-1) during summer and over the year.............................................................................................................58 5-7. Comparison of water use efficiency (WUE) between turf and ornamentals measured (g L-1) during summer and over the year................................................59 5-8. Correlation between water use and soil moisture, shoot, and root volume................59 vi

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 3-1. Nitrate (mg L-1) leaching between turf and ornamentals............................................31 3-2. Nitrate (mg L-1) leaching from turf and ornamentals in six fertilizer cycles..............31 3-3. Nitrate leaching (mg L-1) from different fertilizers averaged from both turf and ornamentals..............................................................................................................32 5-1. Water consumption (L) in turf and ornamentals in 6 fertilizer cycles........................60 5-2. Change in soil moisture (%) in turf and ornamental pots in a period of 7 days without irrigation......................................................................................................61 5-3. Change in soil moisture (%) in turf and ornamenta pots in a period of 7 days without irrigation at the lower 20 cm.......................................................................61 5-4. Change in soil moisture in turf and ornamental pots in a period of 7 days without irrigation at the upper 20 cm....................................................................................62 vii

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Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science EFFECT OF FERTILIZER SOURCE ON NITRATE LEACHING, PLANT WATER CONSUMPTION, AND TURF AND ORNAMENTAL QUALITY By Subhrajit K. Saha May 2004 Cochair: Laurie E. Trenholm Cochair: J. Bryan Unruh Major Department: Environmental Horticulture Due to increasing concern over potential pollution of Floridas water resources from fertilization of home lawns, statewide research is being conducted to verify different aspects of turfgrass Best Management Practices. The objectives of this study were to evaluate differences in plant quality, water consumption, and fertilizer leaching between turfgrass and landscape plants in response to different fertilizer formulations. The experiment was performed in a climate-controlled greenhouse at the G.C. Horn Turfgrass Field Laboratory at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Floratam St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum [Walt.] Kuntze.) was compared to a mix of common Florida ornamentals including Canna (Canna generalis), Nandina (Nandina domestica ), Ligustrum (Ligustrum japonicum), and Allamanda (Allamanda cathartica). All plants were grown in 300 L plastic pots in Arredondo fine sand. There were three fertilizer treatments (quick release fertilizers (QRF) 16-4-8 and 15-0-15, and slow release viii

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fertilizer (SRF) 8-4-12) applied at 4.9 g nitrogen (N) m-2 every other month. This 2-month period is referred to as a fertilizer cycle, of which there were six. Water was applied as required and turfgrass pots were mowed weekly. Leachate was collected at 15, 30, and 60 d after fertilizer application; and was analyzed for nitrate (NO3-N) content. Experimental design was a randomized complete block design with four replications. Visual quality ratings and time domain reflectometry (TDR) data were collected weekly. Multispectral reflectance (MSR) readings were taken three times during each fertilizer cycle. Results indicate that turf was more responsive than ornamentals to fertilizer treatment. Best turfgrass responses were found with the quick release treatments during the first 2 weeks after fertilizer application. Quick release fertilizers produced greater biomass than the slow release fertilizer in turf and Allamanda. Average of all six fertilizer cycles showed ornamentals consumed 38% more water than turf. Mean NO3-N concentration in leachates was significantly higher in ornamentals than in turf. These results may have implications in future research on nutrition, irrigation, and environmental management of an urban landscape. ix

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Environmental Concern Water is vital to the introduction and existence of life on earth. Total water resources of the world include both surface and groundwater. About 97% of the worlds fresh water is groundwater (Hornsby 1999), which is the source of most of the worlds drinking water. As the earths population grows, keeping sufficient amounts of nonpolluted water available is a primary environmental concern. In 1990, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) reported that the average daily withdrawal of groundwater in Florida was over 17 billion L. This supplied drinking water to 90% of the more than 14 million residents of Florida (Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection 2003). Consequently, when groundwater becomes contaminated, it directly affects human health. Improper application of fertilizers and pest-management chemicals can cause ground and surface water pollution from percolation and runoff of surplus nutrients and chemicals. Among the nutrients, NO3-N is considered to be one of the most important water pollutants today (Petrovic 1990); and a high intake of nitrates is known to be hazardous to human health (Hornsby 1999). There are many instances of NO3-N pollution in different parts of the world. In a groundwater study at Kalpitiya peninsula of Sri Lanka, Liyanage et al. (2000) observed that groundwater quality was negatively impacted by indiscriminate use of nitrogenous fertilizer. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limit for NO3-N in 1

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2 drinking water is 10 mg L-1, which was sometimes exceeded by 100-150%. Liyanage et al. (2000) observed that high NO3-N in drinking water caused abnormal methemoglobin concentration (>2%) in a high percentage of Sri Lankan infants. Nitrate is converted to nitrite (NO2-N), which combines with hemoglobin to form toxic methemoglobin. This decreases the ability of blood to carry oxygen, causing the syndrome known as methemoglobinemia, also called "blue baby syndrome" (The Nitrate Elimination Co., Inc. 2001). Several valuable aquifers have been polluted by human activity in the southeastern US (Hornsby 1999). This is mainly because most of Florida has a high water table and sandy soils that render the groundwater vulnerable to contaminants. The maximum amount of pollutant a water body can receive and still meet water quality standards is calculated by Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL). The EPA issued regulations in 1985 and 1992 that implement section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act [Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act (EPA)]. Water can be treated to remove contaminants, but considering the huge cost involved, the best protection is prevention (Hornsby 1999). In residential areas, turfgrass is often considered to be a major contributor to non-point source pollution and is alleged to provide a significant source of NO3-N in ground waters. Research has shown that fertilizer management is a factor in reducing non-point source pollution (Gross et al. 1990), which has led to the development of Best Management Practices (BMPs) (Trenholm et. al. 2002). Best Management Practices are guidelines for implementation of environmentally sound agronomic practices to reduce potential contamination of ground or surface water due to commercial lawn care

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3 practices. These BMPs were developed by regulatory, academic, and industry professionals and are intended to preserve Floridas water resources. While BMPs have been developed for commercial and residential lawns and landscapes in Florida, there is a lack of research data regarding many issues related to green industry horticultural practices. Research is currently underway throughout the state to verify and refine these BMPs. Plant Materials St. Augustinegrass St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum [Walt] Kuntze) is one of the most popular turfgrasses for home lawns in Florida. St. Augustinegrass is believed to be native to the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean region and thus performs best in well drained, sandy soils of urban areas of subtropical coastal Florida (Trenholm et al. 2000a). St. Augustinegrass is commonly used in Florida residential lawns (Erickson et al. 2001) and is popular in the gulf coast of Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas (Christians 1998). This coarse-textured, stoloniferous grass is from the Paniceae tribe (Turgeon 1991). It can be identified by its collar, which is broad, continuous, and smooth (Christians 1998). St. Augustinegrass prefers moderate cultural practices with a fertility requirement ranging from 10 to 30 g N m-2 yr-1 (Trenholm et al., 2002). In some regions, regular irrigation is needed due to poor drought tolerance (Christians 1998). In contrast, Sifers and Beard (1999) observed that Floratam St. Augustinegrass survived 158 days of summer drought while retaining excellent green color. Peacock and Dudeck (1984) observed that stomata of St. Augustinegrass are not protected by a wax coating; and have high evapotranspiration (ET) under both drought and non-drought conditions. In another

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4 study, Kim and Beard (1988) noticed that Texas Common St. Augustinegrass exhibited a medium to low ET rate (5.8 mm d-1), which was attributed to low canopy resistance. It also had a wider leaf blade, and medium vertical leaf extension rate. Compared to five other warm season grasses (common bermudagrass, Tifway hybrid bermudagrass, centipedegrass, Meyer zoysiagrass, and Emerald zoysiagrass), Bowman et al. (2002) found that Raleigh St. Augustinegrass produced the highest amount of leaf tissue and almost double the root mass compared to the other species. They concluded that the higher root mass might increase the ability of St. Augustinegrass to absorb nitrate from the soil. St. Augustinegrass also is more shade tolerant than many other turfgrass species, although there is a wide range of shade tolerance within the species (Trenholm 2002). Peacock and Dudeck (1981) noticed that shade did not affect stolon length, total chlorophyll content, or leaf weight in six cultivars of St. Augustinegrass. Ornamental Plants Canna generalis L. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb Harbor Dwarf and Allamanda cathartica L. are four ornamental plants commonly grown in Florida. Little research has been done on these plants when grown separately; and no study has evaluated them as part of a mixed vegetation landscape. Irrigation requirements and fertility regimes of these plants are not well understood either. Ligustrum japonicum, or Japanese privet, belongs to the Oleaceae family (Gilman and Watson 1993). This evergreen shrub has simple leaves that are ovate to elliptic in shape, flowers that are fragrant with four united white petals, and fruits that are blue-black drupe-like berries (Midcap et al. 1991). Flowering seasons are late winter through

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5 early spring, mid spring, and late spring through early summer. This plant can achieve heights of 1.2 to 2.4 meters (StandardOut, Inc. 2003). Ligustrum japonocum is tolerant of the diverse soils of Florida. Gilman and Yeager (1990) noticed that L. japonocum receiving soluble granular fertilizers were larger than control plants and plants receiving 30 g N m-2 yr-1 were larger than the plants receiving 15 g N m-2 yr-1. They observed no growth difference due to fertilizer types. Similarly, Stratton et al. (2001) noticed that N content in plant and root mass of Ligustrum ibolium did not differ with N source. Allamanda cathartica, or golden trumpet, belongs to the Apocynaceae family (Black 2002). This evergreen, vine-like shrub has simple, elliptic-oblong leaves that are generally 10 to15 cm long (Black 2002). It flowers in summer, producing funnel-shaped flowers with bright yellow rounded petals. It exudes milky sap when any part of the plant is broken (Haynes et al. 2001). It can be propagated from cuttings and seed and has medicinal values, but all parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested (StandardOut, Inc. 2003). No research on fertility regimes of Allamanda has been documented. Nandina domestica or dwarf nandina belongs to the Berberidaceae family (StandardOut, Inc. 2003). This evergreen to semi-deciduous shrub has red fall colors with compound and spirally arranged leaves. It has six petaled white flowers, which are born in panicles (Black 2002). Flowering time is late spring to early summer. Height can reach 1.2 to1.8 meters (StandardOut, Inc. 2003). No comparative fertility study of Nandina has been documented. Canna generalis belongs to the Cannaceae family (StandardOut, Inc. 2003). This perennial plant flowers throughout the year in its native habitat. In tropical and subtropical areas, height of cannas range from 75 cm to 300 cm, while in temperate

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6 regions, cannas rarely exceed 120 to 180 cm height (Tjia and Black 1991). Simple leaves are alternate to spirally arranged and are ovate to elliptic-lanceolate in shape (Black 2002). The leaves may be pure green, greenish blue, coppery to purplish, ruby, or green with white stripes (Tjia and Black 1991). Flower colors are magenta, red, scarlet, orange, red-orange, gold, or bright yellow. Canna may be propagated by rhizomes or seed (StandardOut, Inc. 2003). Multispectral Reflectance (MSR) Measurement To assess the growth or compare treatment responses, qualitative responses are commonly used in turfgrass research, where quality might be expressed by visual and functional characteristics (Turgeon 1991). These are often described as the combination of shoot density, color, and growth habit (Beard, 1973). Multispectral radiometry provides a reliable method for qualitative comparison of turfgrass at various wavelengths (Trenholm et al. 1999). It has been shown to discriminate between stressed and non-stressed vegetation (Carter 1993; Carter and Miller 1994). Plants acquire energy for physiological activities by absorbing sunlight. Light is either reflected or absorbed by the plant, based largely on the condition of the leaf surfaces and overall health of the plant. Multispectral radiometry measures the reflected light and can be used to infer crop condition or fertility status. Measurements at the visible and near infrared (NIR) regions of the spectrum can be useful for determining plant response to treatments. Multispectral reflectance measurements can detect changes in leaf chlorophyll concentration (Carter 1993; Carter and Miller 1994; Trenholm et al. 2000b). Use of spectral reflectance measurements are increasing in turfgrass research.

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7 Water Water is the most important constituent of plant cells and controls plant growth and development (Salisbury and Ross 1999; Taiz and Zeigler 2002). Loss of water through evaporation from soil and transpiration from the plant represents the total amount of water lost, which is known as evapotranspitration (ET) (Turgeon 1991). Evapotranspiration is important in irrigation management because crop yield is often directly related to the amount of water lost through ET during the cropping season (Bronson et al. 2001).Total water use (TWU) is the sum of (ET) and the water trapped in plant cells for growth and development, which is an insignificant amount. The rate of ET depends on different factors. Environmental influences include humidity (Nonami and Boyer 1990), wind speed and soil moisture (Beard 2002). Morphological factors include pubescence and degree of cuticular wax (Peacock and Dudeck 1984). Total water use can be correlated to soil moisture content. In a controlled environment, plants grown in containers reflect changes in soil moisture content with changes in water uptake and ET. Water requirements vary between crops and turfgrass species. It is recommended that turf be irrigated on an as needed basis (Trenholm et. al. 2003). The frequency with which water is needed will vary based on season, temperature, soil type, grass species, and presence of shade. Difference in root anatomy (Klepper 1990) is one of the factors that require greater frequency of irrigation in turf than in shrubs. The relationship between nitrogen and water is also very important. Nitrogen rate influenced ET in Kentucky bluegrass (Ebdon et al. 1999), however the effects of N source on ET are not well understood. Feldhake et al. (1983, 1984) observed that Kentucky bluegrass grown under a deficient N level had lower ET. Similarly, ET

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8 increased with increasing N levels in a mixed sward of orchardgrass, creeping red fescue, and bromegrass (Krogman 1967). Heckathorn et al. (1997) reported that drought stress decreased leaf nitrogen content, which in turn reduced photosynthetic capacity in prairie grasses. Nitrogen Nitrogen is one of the main elemental constituents of plant cells (Salisbury and Ross 1999).To meet commercial yield requirements, nitrogen (N) is supplied in the form of fertilizers. Among all essential nutrients supplied by fertilizer, N is required in the greatest quantity (Bowman et al. 2002) and thus is applied to crops in the largest quantity (Snyder et al. 1984). Nitrogen is available to plants in different forms including nitrate (NO3) and ammonium (NH4) (Bowman et al. 2002). The fate of N fertilizers is important for both turf management and environmental quality. While applied fertilizers nourish the plant, improper or excess application of nitrogenous fertilizer can result in leaching of nitrate. Leaching of nutrients is both a loss to crops and a threat to ground water quality (Hornsby 1999; Gross et al.1990). Nitrate is considered one of the most damaging ground water contaminants (Pye et al. 1983). In residential areas with a large percentage of turfgrass, turf fertilization has been proposed as a significant contributor of nitrates to ground water (Flipse et al. 1984). However, in contrast, research has shown that properly managed and fertilized turf is not a significant source of groundwater contamination (Erickson et al. 2001; Gross et al. 1990; Snyder et al. 1984). Nutrient leaching from turf is nominal due to the thick densely matted root and shoot system (Gross et al. 1990). Intensive research has been done on turf, while little work has been done on other landscape plants to determine fertility regime, water use, and the potential for

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9 environmental impact. The traditional Florida landscape is comprised of both turf and ornamentals (Knox 1991). Due to this coexistence, all plants species often receive similar fertilization and irrigation, although no studies have been conducted to determine the effects of turf fertilizer on ornamental plants or the effects of ornamental fertilizers on turfgrass. In a study between St. Augustinegrass and a mixed landscape, Erickson et al. (2001) observed that significantly greater amounts of nitrate were leached from ornamentals (1.46 mg L-1) than from turf (<0.2 mg L-1) when water soluble N was applied. More than 30% of the fertilizer N was leached from the ornamentals and < 2% from turf. However, little or no information is available on the fate of fertilizer sources applied to both turf and ornamentals. The objectives of this study were a) to evaluate responses of turfgrass and ornamentals to fertilizer sources, b) to evaluate the potential for environmental impairment resulting from fertilizer sources, and c) to compare water use in turf and ornamentals in response to fertilizer sources.

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CHAPTER 2 MATERIALS AND METHODS The experiment was performed in a climate-controlled greenhouse at the G.C. Horn Memorial Turfgrass Field Laboratory at the University of Florida in Gainesville. St. Augustinegrass var. Floratam (Stenotaphrum secundatum [Walt.]Kuntze) and a combination of ornamentals that included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb var. Harbor Dwarf and Allamanda cathartica L. were established in large plastic pots in May 2002. The pots measured 0.8 m diameter by 0.4 m tall with a volume of 300 L. Mature St. Augustinegrass sod was harvested from the research field and landscape plants grown in 2.8 L containers were acquired from a retail nursery. Pots were placed on reinforced metal tables in the greenhouse. Five cm of gravel was placed at the bottom of the pots and was covered with a mesh cloth to prevent soil migration into the gravel layer. Pots were then filled with Arredondo fine sand (pH 6.5) (loamy, siliceous, hypothermic, Grossarenic Paleudalt). Arredondo fine sand has high P content; Mehlich I extracted P content in this media is 200 ppm. Plants were allowed to establish for a 2-month period before fertilizer treatments started. There were three fertilizer treatments: quick release fertilizer (QRF) 16-4-8 (ammonium sulfate, concentrated superphosphate, and potassium chloride), QRF 15-0-15 (ammonium sulfate and potassium chloride), and a slow release fertilizer (SRF) 8-4-12 (polymer coated sulfur coated urea, ammonium phosphate, and polymer coated potassium sulfate). Fertilizer treatments were applied six times at 2-month intervals (17 July, 19 10

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11 September, 20 November 2002, 17 January, 18 March, and 21 May 2003) at a rate of 4.9 g N m-2 to both turf and ornamentals and each of these 2-month periods was called one fertilizer cycle. Leachate was collected three times during each fertilizer cycle, at 2, 4, and 8 weeks after the fertilizer application. To facilitate leachate collection, a hole was drilled into one side of the pot. A 13 mm diameter polyethylene tube was attached to the pot to allow leachate to drain into a dark 19 L plastic bucket. Leachate was filtered through 11 cm diameter Whatman qualitative filter papers (Fisher Scientific International) and collected in 20 ml aliquots per pot. Samples were acidified with sulfuric acid (conc. 96.3%) to lower pH and frozen. Samples were submitted to the Analytical Research Laboratory (ARL) in Gainesville for NO3-N analysis. Throughout the study the volume of total leachate collected was measured. Results are presented based on both nutrient concentration in leached water (mg L-1) and total nutrient content (TNC) leached (mg). Total nutrient content (TNC) was calculated by multiplying nutrient concentration by the corresponding leachate volume. TNC= Nutrient concentration Leached water volume (Eq. 2-1) Irrigation was applied uniformly to both turf and ornamentals as needed over the course of the year. Irrigation schedules varied with season, but the rate of irrigation was the same for both turf and ornamentals (Table 5-1). Total Water Use values were derived from equation 2-2. Total Water Use (TWU) = WF+ (IW1+WU1) + (IW2+WU2) + (IW3+WU3) (Eq. 2-2) WF = water applied with fertilizer, which was 4L in all fertilizer cycles. IW1 = Water applied before first leaching event, excluding WF

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12 IW2 = Water applied between first and second leaching event IW3 = Water applied between second and third leaching event WUn= WAn-WLn, n = leaching event number (n=1, 2, 3) WAn = water applied to a pot on a leaching event WLn = water leached from a pot on a leaching event In this study, Water use efficiency (WUE) was measured by per unit volume of root mass WUER, shoot mass WUES, and total of root and shoot mass WUET. Data were analyzed to find the overall water use efficiency over the year and during fertilizer cycle six (May-July). Turf visual quality ratings were taken weekly on a scale of 1 to 9, with 9 being best, 1 being worst and 6 being acceptable. Multispectral reflectance (MSR) readings were taken three times during each fertilizer cycle; at weeks 1-2, 3-5, and 7-8, using a Cropscan model MSR 16R (CROPSCAN, Inc., Rochester, MN). Reflectance is measured at specific wave lengths: 450, 550, 660, 694, 710, 760, 835, and 930 nm. Some important MSR indexes are normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), measured as (R930-R660)/( R930+R660) and Stress-1, measured as R710/R760. Time domain reflectometry (TDR) (IMKO Micromodultechnik GmbH; Ettlingen, Germany) was used weekly to measure soil moisture content at different soil levels. Five cm diameter plastic tubes were inserted vertically in the center of the pots allowing the TDR probe to be inserted to various depths. When not in use, tubes were capped to avoid entrance of water. During the last fertilizer cycle, no water was applied for a period of seven days to measure the change of soil moisture in both turf and ornamental pots. To determine thatch accumulation, three 25.5 cm2 cores were collected from each turf pot during the first week of May. Shoots and roots were removed from the collected plugs, dried for 48 hours at 72 C, and weighed to measure the thatch. Dried thatch was

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13 ashed in a muffle furnace (450 C for 5 hours) and organic material weight was determined. Recently matured leaf tissue samples were collected in July and November 2002, and March and July 2003. Samples were dried, ground, and analyzed for nutrient concentration (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu and Mn). Analysis of N was done by total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) procedure and the remaining elements were analyzed with Spectro Ciros ICP (SPECTRO Analytical Instruments GMBH & Co. KG, Kleve, Germany). After 12 months of fertilizer treatments, shoots and roots from each pot were harvested and dried for 24 hours at 75 C. Roots of ornamental plants were excavated and washed, but were not separated by plant species due to the intermingling of roots. Turf was mowed every week with scissors to maintain a height of 9 cm and clippings were removed. During the summer, turf leaf blade length was measured prior to mowing. Cypress mulch was applied to the soil surface to a depth of 2.5 cm. A micronutrient blend (STEP, The Scotts Company) was applied at a rate of 6.7 g m-2 during September 2002 to both turf and ornamentals. To control a minor infestation of armyworm (Spodoptera spp.) in turf, 8% Bifenthrin was applied at a rate of 4g L-1. Ligustrum were treated with 2% insecticidal oil during November to control scale (Hemiberlesia lataniae) infestation. Allamanda was pruned in October to a height of 45 cm and dried shoot weight was collected. Greenhouse temperature was monitored using a Hobo temperature data logger (Onset Computer Corp; Bourne, MA) (Table 5-2) and light intensity at different canopy levels was measured weekly with Li-COR 250 (LI-COR, Inc. Lincoln, NE).

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14 Experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replications. Data were analyzed with the SAS analytical program to determine treatment differences at the 0.05 significance level and means were separated with Fishers LSD and Waller-Duncan test (SAS institute, Inc. 2003). Websites cited in this thesis were last verified by the author on November17, 2003.

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CHAPTER 3 EFFECT OF FERTILIZER SOURCE ON NITRATE LEACHING AND ST. AUGUSTINEGRASS TURF QUALITY Introduction St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum [Walt.]Kuntze) is one of the most popular turfgrasses for home lawns in Florida. This grass is commonly used in Florida residential lawns (Erickson et al. 2001) and is popular on the gulf coast of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas (Christians 1998). St. Augustinegrass is believed to be native to the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean region and thus performs well in sandy, well-drained Florida soils (Trenholm et al. 2000a). Due to its poor cold tolerance (Turgeon 1991) St. Augustinegrass is not used in the northern U.S. (Christians 1998). This coarse textured, stoloniferous grass is from the Paniceae tribe (Turgeon 1991) and can be identified by its collar, which is broad, continuous, and smooth (Christians 1998). St. Augustinegrass is more shade tolerant than many other warm season turfgrass species, although there is a wide range of shade tolerance within the species (Trenholm et al. 2002). Peacock and Dudeck (1981) noticed shade did not affect the length of stolons, total chlorophyll content, nor leaf weight in six cultivars of St. Augustinegrass. To assess the growth, or to compare treatment responses, qualitative responses are commonly used in turfgrass research, where quality might be expressed by visual and functional characteristics (Turgeon 1991). These are often described as the combination 15

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16 of shoot density, color, and growth habit (Beard 1973). Multispectral radiometry (MSR) may be used to quantify these subjective values and provides a reliable method for comparison of turf response to treatments (Trenholm et al. 1999). Plants use varying amount of light at different wavelengths for physiological processes. Some of the light is assimilated for those use, while some is reflected off the leaf surface. Measurement of the amount of light reflected at various wavelengths can be correlated with crop health, chlorophyll content, fertility, and stress (Carter 1993; Carter and Miller 1994; Trenholm et al. 2000b). When irrigating St. Augestinegrass, it is recommended that water be applied on an as needed basis (Trenholm et al. 2003). In some regions, St. Augestinegrass requires regular irrigation because of its poor drought tolerance (Christians 1998). However, in a drought resistance study, Sifers and Beard (1999) observed that Floratam St. Augustinegrass survived 158 days of summer drought and retained excellent green color. Peacock and Dudeck (1984) observed that stomata of St. Augustinegrass are not protected by a wax coating and therefore have high ET under both drought and non-drought conditions. In another study, Kim and Beard (1988) noted that St. Augustinegrass exhibited a medium to low ET rate of 5.8 mm d-1, which was attributed to low canopy resistance, wider leaf blades, and moderate vertical leaf extension rate. St. Augustinegrass prefers moderate cultural practices (Cisar et al. 1992) with a fertility requirement of 10 to 30 g N m-2 yr-1 (Trenholm et al., 2002). University of Florida recommendations for St. Augustinegrass fertilization vary, depending on location in the state. In northern Florida, 10-20 g N m-2 yr-1 is recommended, while in central and south

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17 Florida 10-25 g N m-2 yr-1 and 20-30 g N m-2 yr-1, respectively, are recommended (Trenholm et al. 2002). In residential areas, turfgrass is often cited as a major contributor to non-point source pollution, which may lead to elevated levels of NO3-N in ground waters. Nitrate has the potential to contaminate groundwater (Petrovic 1990) if not carefully applied, and its application to lawns has led to controversy regarding turfgrass use. While some claim that turf use should be minimized to avoid pollution, research has shown that properly applied fertilizer will be assimilated by the grass (Snyder et al. 1984; Erickson et al. 2001) and that proper fertilizer management is a factor in reducing non-point source pollution (Gross et al. 1990). Proper fertilizer application includes using appropriate rates, optimal timing, and applying the correct amount of water after fertilizing. Research has shown that the application of controlled release fertilizers to turf reduces fertilizer leaching (Killian et al. 1966). Concentration of NO3-N in leachate from turfgrass was found to be dependent on N source, with higher amounts in quick release products. Brown et al.(1982) observed nitrate losses of 8.6 to 21.9% in golf course greens (bermudagrass, perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, and creeping bentgrass) fertilized with ammonium nitrate .When slow release sources such as isobutylidene diurea (IBDU) and ureaformaldehyde (UF) were used, only 0.2 to 1.6% nitrate was leached. Sulfur coated urea (SCU) is often found in turf fertilizers and it is less likely to leach (Allen 1971). The mechanism of N release from SCU is by water penetration through micropores and imperfections in the fertilizer coating; release rate is therefore directly affected by the coating thickness and quality (Sartain 2001).

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18 The traditional Florida landscape is comprised of both turf and ornamentals (Knox 1991). Due to this coexistence, all plants species often receive similar fertilization and irrigation. While research has been done on the fertility of turf and its effect on environmental quality, little information is available on the effects of turf fertilizer formulations on ornamental plants or the effects of ornamental fertilizer formulations on turfgrass. In a nutrient management study comparing St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum [Walt.] Kuntze) and a mixed landscape planting, Erickson et al. (2001) observed that a greater amount of NO3-N was leached from ornamentals (1.46 mg L-1) in comparison to turf (<0.2 mg L-1). More than 30% of the applied N was leached from the ornamentals and less than 2% from the turfgrass. The Florida Green Industries Best Management Practices (BMPs) were developed in 2002, along with an outreach program, to provide education on fertilizer management to the landscape maintenance industries of Florida. Due to lack of information regarding effects of fertilizer source on turf vs. ornamentals, the objectives of this study were a) to evaluate responses of turfgrass and ornamentals to fertilizer sources and b) to evaluate the potential for environmental impairment resulting from fertilizer sources. Materials and Methods The experiment was performed in a climate-controlled greenhouse at the G.C. Horn Memorial Turfgrass Field Laboratory at the University of Florida in Gainesville. St. Augustinegrass var. Floratam (Stenotaphrum secundatum [Walt.]Kuntze) and a combination of ornamentals that included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. were established in large plastic pots in May 2002. The pots measured 0.8 m diameter by 0.4 m tall with a volume of 300 L. Mature St.

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19 Augustinegrass sod was harvested from the research field of the G.C. Horn Memorial Turfgrass Field Laboratory and landscape plants grown in 2.8 L containers were acquired from a retail nursery. Pots were placed on reinforced metal tables in the greenhouse. Five cm of gravel was placed at the bottom of the pots, and a mesh cloth was placed over the gravel to retain the media. Pots were then filled with Arredondo fine sand (loamy, siliceous, hypothermic, Grossarenic Paleudalt). Plants were allowed to establish for a 2-month period before treatments began. There were three fertilizer treatments: quick release fertilizer (QRF) 16-4-8 (ammonium sulfate, concentrated superphosphate, and potassium chloride), QRF 15-0-15 (ammonium sulfate and potassium chloride), and a slow release fertilizer (SRF) 8-4-12 (polymer coated sulfur coated urea, ammonium phosphate, and polymer coated potassium sulfate). Fertilizer treatments were applied six times at 2-month intervals (17 July, 19 September, 20 November 2002, 17 January, 18 March and 21May 2003) at a rate of 4.9 g N m-2 to both turf and ornamentals and each of these 2-month periods is considered one fertilizer cycle. Leachate was collected three times during each fertilizer cycle, at 2, 4, and 8 weeks following the fertilizer application. To facilitate leachate collection, a hole was drilled into one side of the pot. A 13 mm diameter polyethylene tube was attached to the pot to allow leachate to drain into a dark 19 L plastic bucket. Leachate was filtered through 11 cm diameter Whatman qualitative filter papers (Fisher Scientific International) and collected in 20 ml aliquots per pot. Samples were acidified with sulfuric acid (conc. 96.3%) to lower pH and frozen. Samples were submitted to the

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20 Analytical Research Laboratory (ARL) in Gainesville for NO3-N analysis. Throughout the study the volume of total leachate collected was measured. Results are presented based on both nutrient concentration in leached water (mg L-1) and total nutrient content (TNC) leached (mg) over the fertilizer cycle. Total nutrient content (TNC) was calculated by multiplying nutrient concentration with the corresponding leachate volume. TNC= Nutrient concentration Leached water volume (Eq. 2-1) Irrigation was applied uniformly to both turf and ornamentals as needed over the course of the year. Turf visual quality ratings were taken weekly on a scale of 1 to 9, with 9 being best, 1 being worst and 6 being acceptable turf quality. Multispectral reflectance (MSR) readings were taken three times during each fertilizer cycle; at weeks 1-2,3-5, and 7-8, using a Cropscan model MSR 16R (CROPSCAN, Inc., Rochester, MN). Reflectance was measured at specific wave lengths: 450, 550, 660, 694, 710, 760, 835, and 930 nm. Some important MSR indices are normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), measured as (R930-R660)/( R930+R660) and Stress-1, measured as R710/R760. Time domain reflectometry (TDR) (IMKO Micromodultechnik GmbH; Ettlingen, Germany) was used weekly to measure soil moisture content at different soil levels. Five cm diameter plastic tubes were inserted vertically in the center of the pots allowing the TDR probe to be inserted to various depths. When not in use, tubes were capped to avoid entrance of water. During the last fertilizer cycle, no water was applied for a period of seven days to measure the change of soil moisture in both turf and ornamentals. To determine thatch accumulation, three 25.5 cm2 cores were collected from each turf pot during the first week of May. Shoots and roots were removed from the collected

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21 plugs, dried for 48 hours at 72 C, and weighed to measure the thatch. Dried thatch was ashed in a muffle furnace (450 C for 5 hours) and organic material weight was determined. Recently matured leaf tissue samples were collected in July and November 2002, and March and July 2003. Samples were dried, ground, and analyzed for nutrient concentration (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu and Mn). Analysis of N was done by total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) procedure and the remaining elements were analyzed with Spectro Ciros ICP (SPECTRO Analytical Instruments GMBH & Co. KG, Kleve, Germany). After 12 months of fertilizer treatments, shoots and roots from each pot were harvested and dried for 24 hours at 75 C. Roots of ornamental plants were excavated and washed but were not separated by plant species due to the intermingling of roots. Turf was mowed every week with scissors to maintain a height of 9 cm and clippings were removed. During the summer, turf leaf blade length was measured prior to mowing. Cypress mulch was applied to ornamentals at a thickness of 2.5 cm. A micronutrient blend (STEP, The Scotts Company) was applied at a rate of 6.7 g m-2 during September 2002 to both turf and ornamentals. To control a minor infestation of armyworm (Spodoptera spp.) in turf, 8% Bifenthrin was applied at a rate of 4g L-1. Ligustrum were treated with a 2% insecticidal oil during November to control scale (Hemiberlesia lataniae) infestation. Greenhouse temperature was monitored using a Hobo temperature data logger (Onset Computer Corp; Bourne, MA) (Table 3-2) and light intensity at different canopy levels was measured weekly with Li-COR 250 (LI-COR, Inc. Lincoln, NE).

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22 Experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replications. Data were analyzed with the SAS analytical program to determine treatment differences at the 0.05 significance level and means were separated with Fishers LSD and Waller-Duncan (SAS institute, Inc. 2003). Websites cited in this thesis were last verified by the author on November17, 2003. Results and Discussion Multispectral Reflectance Multispectral reflectance (MSR) values in the first two week period were optimized with QRF treatments (Table 3-1). At week 3-5, wavelengths 450 and 710 nm and Stress-1 index had better responses from QRF 15-0-15 than from SRF 8-4-12. The results observed during the first two weeks are likely due to differences in the rate of N release. Both quick release fertilizers released N faster than SRF, resulting in better turf vigor and quality in the first two weeks following application. After two weeks, the rate of N release from QRFs presumably decreased and no differences were found during weeks 3-5 at wavelengths 550, 660, and 694 nm (Table 3-1). No differences in MSR values were noted during the last two weeks of the fertilizer cycle (data not shown). The availability of N has an impact on shoot growth (Turgeon 1991) and total chlorophyll content, can be detected by MSR (Carter 1993; Carter and Miller 1994; Trenholm et al. 2000a). Visual Quality, Color, and Density Similar to the MSR data, higher visual quality scores in the first two weeks following fertilizer applications were obtained with QRF treatments (Table 3-2). At week 3, QRF 15-0-15 treated turf had better quality than 8-4-12 treated turf, but no differences were found in color and density due to different fertilizer formulations. Beyond three

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23 weeks after fertilizer application, no differences in color, quality, and density were noted (data not shown). Again, faster initial release of N from the QRFs resulted in better turf quality, color, and density and a gradual decrease in N release reduced turf quality, color, and density in the later part of the fertilizer cycle. Similar results were noticed by Trenholm et al. (2001), who observed that N influenced visual quality and color in two ecotypes of seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum Swartz). Thatch Accumulation Measurement of thatch weight showed differences due to fertilizer treatments (Table 3-3). Thatch accumulation was 38% and 16% greater for 15-0-15 and 16-4-8, respectively, than SRF 8-4-12. This is probably due to the difference in N release rate. Faster release of N from QRFs has been associated with increased thatch accumulation in bermudagrass (Sartain 1985). Since equal amounts of N were supplied by both fertilizers, perhaps there was an individual or cumulative effect of P and K on thatch accumulation. In previous studies, Sartain (1992) observed a reduction in growth and uptake of N by bermudagrass during the warm season growth period when additional P was added. This was attributed to the competition of H2PO4 and NO3-N uptake with the addition of P, resulting in less uptake of N and less growth. Since 16-4-8 contains P and 15-0-15 does not, it might be inferred that P might has a competiitve influence on thatch accumulation. Shoot and Root Growth Greater shoot mass (24%) was observed in QRF treated turfgrass compared to SRF (Table 3-3), due to the faster rate of N release from the QRFs. In annual ryegrass (Lolium multifloram Lam) plant biomass increased with N concentration in nutrient solutions. Sagi et al.(1997). No differences were found in root mass due to fertilizer treatments (Table 3-3).

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24 Nitrate Leaching by Concentration (mg L-1) Nitrate concentration in leached water was higher in ornamentals than in turf (Figure 3-1; Figure 3-2; Table 3-4). Differences were found on day 15 and day 60 and with the average of all three leachate events (Figure 3-1). 16-4-8 QRF leached less NO3-N from turf than from ornamentals. Differences were noticed on day 15, day 60 and with the average of all three leachate events (Table 3-4). There were no differences in leaching between plant type with 8-4-12 and 15-0-15 treatments. Differences in NO3-N leaching were found between turf and ornamentals in fertilizer cycle 2 (Sep-Nov), cycle 4 (Jan-Mar) and cycle 5 (Mar-May) and with the average of all three cycles (Figure 3-2). In all of these cases, nitrate concentration in the leachate from turf was lower than from ornamentals (Figure3-2). In a study in south Florida, Erickson et al. (2001) observed that a greater amount of NO3-N was leached from ornamentals (1.46mg L-1) in comparison to turf (<0.2 mg L-1). More than 30% of the applied N was leached from the ornamentals and < 2% from the turfgrass. Averaged over both plant treatments, the most NO3-N was leached from QRF 16-4-8 and the least from 8-4-12 (P-value 0.07), (Figure 3-3). This is most likely due to the slow release nature of 8-4-12, which allowed plants to take up nutrients over a longer period of time resulting less leaching. Turf treated with quick release 16-4-8 produced higher NO3-N concentration than 15-0-15. In previous studies, Sartain (1992) observed a reduction in uptake of N by bermudagrass during the warm season growth period when additional P was added, which was explained by the competition of H2PO4 and NO3-N for uptake. Addition of P resulted in less uptake of N, which could account for differences seen here between QRF treatments.

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25 Nitrate Leaching by Volume (mg) Average NO3-N leaching results showed that turf leached 2.9 mg and ornamentals leached 4.3 mg in a fertilizer cycle. Turf leached 32% less NO3-N than ornamentals and was most likely due to the differences in root anatomy between turfgrass and ornamentals (Klepper 1990). The dense, intermingled, fibrous root network of turf was more efficient in taking up the nutrients than the ornamentals. There were differences between plant treatments over time for total NO3-N leached from QRF 16-4-8 (Table 3-5). Turf leached less on day 15 and when averaged over all leaching events. There were no differences over time in the other two fertilizer treatments. Both by concentration and by total volume, turf leached less NO3-N than ornamentals. This may be due to the intermingled fibrous, root network found in turf (Turgeon 1991), which filters nutrients more effectively than ornamentals. When treated with QRF 16-4-8, ornamentals leached more NO3-N than turf, but no differences were found with QRF 15-0-15 and SRF 8-4-12.This was probably due to the difference in rate of N release between fertilizers and difference in root anatomy between plant types. Turf roots were more efficient in taking up the NO3-N as it was released at faster rate from the applied 16-4-8. Leaf Tissue Nutrient Turf leaf tissue nutrient analysis showed no differences in total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) between different fertilizer treatments (Table 3-6). This was probably due to the application of nitrogen at the same rates. Similar results were also found for all other nutrients, none of them showed significant difference due to fertilizer treatments (Table 3-6).

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26 Conclusions This research provides information about the effect of two quick release turf fertilizers and one slow release palm fertilizer on turf and their effects on environmental quality. Multispectral reflectance and visual quality results showed that QRFs resulted in better quality turf for the first two weeks following fertilizer application. Less biomass production (thatch and shoot weight) was observed in SRF treated turf. No difference was noticed in leaf nutrient contents due to fertilizer treatments. Turf leached less NO3-N than ornamentals.16-4-8 QRF leached more nitrate than SRF 8-4-12. Overall results indicate that both QRFs 15-0-15 produced better plant quality, while 15-0-15 and SRF 8-4-12 had a reduction in nitrate leachate. This enclosed container research provides preliminary data upon which in situ research may be modeled. Results obtained in this research may vary in an actual landscape setting due to root growth and branching habits, differences in ET rate in an open environment, and other variables that would be present in an uncontrolled environment. Further research is required to verify how nutrient release rate affects turf and ornamental quality and nitrate leaching in an urban landscape.

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Table 3-1. Multispectral reflectance values in turfgrass throughout the fertilizer cycle. 27 WV (nm) 450 550 660 694 710 NDVI Stress-1 16-4-8 (QRF) 3.71 az 7.80 a 3.71 a 4.99 a 9.63 a 0.86 a 0.24 a 15-0-15 (QRF) 3.76 a 7.83 a 3.82 a 5.07 a 9.71 a 0.86 a 0.24 a Weeks 0-2 Fertili-zer 8-4-12 (SRF) 5.18 b 10.33 b 6.06 b 7.54 b 13.51 b 0.79 b 0.33 b P-value 0.0002 0.0018 <0.0001 <0.0001 <0.0004 <0.0001 <0.0001 Anova CV 30.7 31.1 35.4 33.4 33.5 4.9 19.4 15-0-15 (QRF) 4.04 a 7.34 a 4.25 a 5.79 a 8.67 a 0.837 a 0.27 a 16-4-8 (QRF) 4.80 ab 8.79 a 4.82 a 6.11 a 11.15 ab 0.832 a 0.29 ab Weeks 3-5 Fertili-zer 8-4-12 (SRF) 6.42 b 9.89 a 6.34 a 7.58 a 12.59 b 0.774 a 0.37 b P-value 0.08 NS NS NS 0.06 NS 0.03 Anova CV 39.7 NS NS NS 29 NS 22.6 z Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. Means are averaged over 6 fertilizer cycles.

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28 Table 3-2. Turfgrass visual quality in response to fertilizer sources. Weeks Fertilizer Quality Color Density 15-0-15 (QRF) 7.1 az 7.2 a 7.1 a 16-4-8 (QRF) 7.0 a 7.1 a 7.0 a 8-4-12 (SRF) 6.6 b 6.6 b 6.6 b P-value <0.0001 0.005 0.0002 Week 1 Anova CV 0.96 2.5 0.93 15-0-15 (QRF) 7.5 a 7.5 a 7.4 a 16-4-8 (QRF) 7.4 a 7.4 a 7.3 a 8-4-12 (SRF) 7.0 b 7.0 b 7.0 b P-value 0.002 <0.0001 0.0014 Week 2 Anova CV 1.4 0.8 1.2 15-0-15 (QRF) 7.0 a 7.0 a 6.9 a 16-4-8 (QRF) 6.9 ab 6.9 a 6.8 a 8-4-12 (SRF) 6.7 b 6.7 a 6.7 a P-value 0.03 0.12 0.12 Week 3 Anova CV 1.68 1.98 1.74 z Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. Means are averaged over 6 fertilizer cycles. Table 3-3. Turf thatch, shoot and root weight in response to fertilizer treatments. Fertilizer Mean thatch dry weight (g cm-) Mean shoot dry weight (g) Mean root dry weight (g) 15-0-15 (QRF) 0.150 a z 1082.46 a 161.83 a 16-4-8 (QRF) 0.126 b 1069.96 a 168.25 a 8-4-12 (SRF) 0.108 c 867.59 b 140.68 a Anova P=0.0011 P=0.048 NS CV 6.44 10.48 NS z Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level.

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29 Table 3-4. Nitrate leaching (mg L-1) from turf and ornamentalsz in response to fertilizer treatments. Fertilizer Plant Day 15 Day 30 Day 60 Average Turf 0.16 by 0.14 a 0.11 b 0.14 b Ornamentals 0.66 a 0.60 a 0.28 a 0.52 a P-value 0.01 NS 0.006 0.002 16-4-8 (QRF) Anova CV 172.2 NS 104.4 121.5 Turf 0.30 a 0.19 a 0.11 a 0.21 a Ornamentals 0.40 a 0.24 a 0.28 a 0.26 a 15-0-15 (QRF) P-value NS NS NS NS Turf 0.13 a 0.10 a 0.10 a 0.11 a Ornamentals 0.28 a 0.23 a 0.17 a 0.23 a 8-4-12 (QRF) P-value NS NS NS NS z Ornamentals included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. y Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. P> 0.05 is non significant (NS). Means are averaged over six fertilizer cycles.

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30 Table 3-5. Nitrate leaching (mg) from turf and ornamentalsz in response to fertilizer treatments. Fertilizer Plant Day 15 Day 30 Day 60 Total Turf 1.10 by 0.74 a 0.76 a 2.57 b Ornamentals 2.67 a 1.95 a 1.00 a 5.6 a P-value 0.009 NS NS 0.01 16-4-8 (QRF) Anova CV 108.9 NS NS 96.3 Turf 2.20 a 0.90a 0.87 a 3.9 a Ornamentals 1.85 a 0.94 a 0.61 a 3.4 a 15-0-15 (QRF) P-value NS NS NS NS Turf 0.84 a 0.70 a 0.68 a 2.22 a Ornamentals 1.63 a 1.21 a 1.00 a 3.83 a 8-4-12 (SRF) P-value NS NS NS NS z Ornamentals included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. y Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. P> 0.05 is non significant (NS). Means are averaged over 6 fertilizer cycles. Table 3-6. Turf leaf tissue nutrient concentration (ppm) in response to fertilizer treatments. Fertilizer TKN P K Ca Mg Zn Mn Cu Fe 16-4-8 1070 36.64 151.05 28.05 21.06 0.19 0.22 0 0.06 15-0-15 1120 29.1 134.65 26.42 17.63 0.16 0.2 0 0.14 8-4-12 840 34.64 162.7 24.94 21.61 0.24 0.36 0.0012 0.19 Average 1010 33.46 149.45 26.47 20.1 0.196 0.26 0.0004 0.13 P-value NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS P> 0.05 is non significant (NS). Means are averaged from leaf tissue collections taken throughout the year.

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31 0.190.140.110.150.440.350.20.3300.10.20.30.40.5Leached Nitrate (mg/L) Turf Ornamentals Day 15Day 30Day 60Avg.aaabaabb Figure 3-1. Nitrate (mg L-1) leaching between turf and ornamentalsz. z Ornamentals included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. Bars with the same letter are not different at the 0.05 probability level. Means are averaged over 6 fertilizer cycles. 0.390.440.330.220.020.120.090.170.290.150.310.350.270.2900.10.20.30.40.5Leached Nitrate (mg/L) Turf Ornamentals Cy-6Cy-5Cy-4Cy-3Cy-2Cy-1Avg.baaaaaaaaababb Figure 3-2. Nitrate (mg L-1) leaching from turf and ornamentalsz in six fertilizer cycles. z Ornamentals included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. Bars with the same letter are not different at the 0.05 probability level. Means are average of 3 leachate collections per fertilizer cycle.

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32 0.330.240.17 00.10.20.30.4Leached Nitrate (mg/L) 16-4-8 15-0-15 8--4-12 baba Figure 3-3. Nitrate leaching (mg L-1) from different fertilizers averaged from both turf and ornamentalsz. z Ornamentals included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. Bars with the same letter are not different at the 0.05 probability level. Means are averaged over six fertilizer cycles.

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CHAPTER 4 EFFECT OF FERTILIZER SOURCE ON NITRATE LEACHING AND ORNAMENTAL PLANT QUALITY Introduction Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. are landscape ornamentals commonly grown in Florida. Canna generalis, a perennial flowering plant found in the tropics and subtropics, belongs to the Cannaceae family (Tjia and Black 1991). Ligustrum japonicum, an evergreen woody shrub with fragrant white flowers and berrylike fruits, belongs to the Oleaceae family (Midcap et al. 1991). Nandina domestica, a semi-deciduous shrub, that turns red in the fall, belongs to the Berberidaceae family (Black 2002). Allamanda cathartica is a vine-like shrub with bright yellow flowers and it belongs to the Apocynaceae family (Black 2002). Little research has been done on these plants when grown separately and the author is not aware of studies that have evaluated these plants as part of a mixed vegetation landscape. Irrigation requirements and fertility regimes and comparative quality measurement of these plants are not well understood either. It is known that improper application of nitrogen fertilizer can lead to leaching which is a major source of ground water pollution (Hornsby 2003). Nitrate (NO3-N) has a tendency to leach in sandy soils (Petrovic 1990); and because the water table in many parts of Florida is close to the soil surface, the combination of sandy soil and shallow water table might potentially cause water pollution from urban horticultural activities. 33

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34 Nitrate contamination of Floridas ground and surface waters is a serious issue and has recently been the topic of much research. Impairment of environmental quality not only depends on fertilizer concentration, but also on fertilizer type. Broschat (1995) observed that NO3-N leaching from container grown plants was greater when soluble fertilizer was applied. The nutrient loss from SRF was one half the amount lost from QRF. He concluded that the use of slow or controlled release fertilizers on container grown plants can minimize leaching losses. The potential for NO3-N leaching from SRF also depends on application frequency. Cox (1993) found that a single large dose of SRF applied to container-grown Marigold (Tagetes erecta L.), leached more NO3-N than two split doses. However, little information is available to quantify N leaching from the whole landscape (Erickson 2001). From an economic perspective, quality of the plant is also of great importance. One of the methods for measuring crop health and quality is light reflectance with a multispectral radiometer. Multispectral radiometry provides a reliable method for qualitative comparison of plants (Trenholm et al. 1999). Plants get the energy by absorbing sunlight for its physiological activities. Partial sunlight is absorbed by the plant from the total sunlight coming into the plant canopy. Some light, however is reflected, depending on the crop condition. This instrument measures the reflected part of the visible and near infrared (NIR) regions of the light spectrum; and the region most affected by stresses of various kinds (CROPSCAN, Inc. 2003). Multispectral radiometry can discriminate between stressed and non-stressed vegetation (Carter 1993 Carter and Miller 1994). Multispectral reflectance measurements can detect the changes in leaf chlorophyll concentration (Carter 1993; Carter and Miller 1994; Trenholm et al. 2000b)

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35 and can be used in turfgrass and agronomic crop research. Reflectance measurements can be conveniently used in turf research, where the crop canopy is uniform, allowing virtually no transmittance as would occur in many plant species. Little research has been done to evaluate the effectiveness of MSR to measure ornamental plant health and quality. In ornamental plants, woody shoots, flowers, and fruits lack chlorophyll and are not uniformly distributed, which may affect results of MSR. The traditional landscape comprises both turf and ornamentals, which often receive the same fertilization regime (Knox 1991). While intensive research has been done on the fertility of turf and its effect on environmental quality, little is known about nutrient management of urban landscape ornamentals and their potential role in environmental pollution. Because information is lacking on the effect of fertilizer source applied to ornamentals, the objectives of this study were to evaluate responses of landscape plants to fertilizers and to evaluate the potential for environmental impairment resulting from fertilization of landscape plants. Materials and Methods The experiment was performed in a climate-controlled greenhouse at the G.C. Horn Memorial Turfgrass Field Laboratory at the University of Florida in Gainesville. A combination of ornamentals including Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb.var Harbor Dwarf and Allamanda cathartica L. were established in large plastic pots in May 2002. The pots measured 0.8 m diameter by 0.4 m tall and had a volume of 300 L. Landscape plants grown in 2.8 L containers were acquired from a retail nursery for use in this study. Pots were placed on reinforced metal tables in the greenhouse. Five cm of gravel was placed at the bottom of the pots, and with a mesh cloth was placed over the gravel to

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36 retain the media. Pots were then filled with Arredondo fine sand (loamy, siliceous, hypothermic, Grossarenic Paleudalt). Plants were allowed to establish for a 2-month period before treatments began. There were three fertilizer treatments: quick release fertilizer commonly used in turf (QRF) 16-4-8 (ammonium sulfate, concentrated superphosphate, and potassium chloride), QRF 15-0-15 (ammonium sulfate and potassium chloride), and a slow release fertilizer (SRF) 8-4-12 (polymer coated sulfur coated urea, ammonium phosphate and polymer coated potassium sulfate). Fertilizer treatments were applied six times at 2month intervals (17 July, 19 September, 20 November 2002, 17 January, 18 March and 21May 2003) at a rate of 4.9 g N m-2. Each of these 2-month periods was called one fertilizer cycle. Irrigation was applied as needed, which varied with season (Table 3-1). Leachate was collected three times during each fertilizer cycle, at 2, 4, and 8 weeks following the fertilizer application. To facilitate leachate collection, a hole was drilled into one side of the pot. A 13 mm diameter polyethylene tube was attached to the pot to allow leachate to drain into a dark 19 L plastic bucket. Leachate was filtered through 11 cm diameter Whatman qualitative filter papers (Fisher Scientific International) and a 20 ml aliquot was collected from each pot. Samples were acidified with sulfuric acid (conc. 96.3%) to lower pH and frozen. Samples were submitted to the Analytical Research Laboratory (ARL) in Gainesville for NO3-N analysis. Throughout the study the total volume of leachate collected was measured. Results are presented based on both nutrient concentration in leached water and total nutrient content (TNC) leached. Total nutrient

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37 content (TNC) was calculated by multiplying nutrient concentration with the corresponding leachate volume. TNC= Nutrient concentration Leached water volume (Eq. 2-1) Multispectral reflectance (MSR) readings were taken three times during each fertilizer cycle; at weeks 1-2, 3-5, and 7-8, using a Cropscan model MSR 16R (Cropscan, Inc., Rochester, MN). Reflectance was measured at specific wave lengths: 450, 550, 660, 694, 710, 760, 835, and 930 nm. Some important MSR indexes are normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), measured as (R930-R660)/( R930+R660) and Stress-1, measured as R710/R760. Time domain reflectometry (TDR) (IMKO Micromodultechnik GmbH; Ettlingen, Germany) was used weekly to measure soil moisture content at different soil levels. Five cm diameter plastic tubes were inserted vertically in the center of the tubs allowing the TDR probe to be inserted to various depths. When not in use, tubes were capped to avoid entrance of water. Recently matured leaf tissue samples were collected in July and November 2002, and March and July 2003. Samples were dried, ground, and analyzed for nutrient concentration (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu, and Mn). Analysis of N was done by total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) procedure and remaining elements were analyzed with Spectro Ciros ICP (SPECTRO Analytical Instruments GMBH & Co. KG, Kleve, Germany). After 12 months of fertilizer treatments, shoots and roots from each pot were harvested and dried for 24 hours at 75 C. Roots of ornamental plants were excavated and washed but were not separated by plant species due to the intermingling between roots.

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38 A micronutrient blend (STEP, The Scotts Company) was applied at a rate of 6.7 g m-2 in September 2002. Ligustrum were treated with a 2% insecticidal oil during November to control a scale (Hemiberlesia lataniae) infestation. Cypress mulch was applied to the soil surface to a depth of 2.5 cm. Allamanda was pruned in October to a height of 45 cm and dried shoot weight was collected. Greenhouse temperature was monitored using a Hobo temperature data logger (Onset Computer Corp; Bourne, MA) (Table 5-2) and light intensity at different canopy levels was measured weekly with Li-COR 250 (LI-COR, Inc. Lincoln, NE). Experimental design was a randomized complete block model with four replications. Data were analyzed with the SAS analytical program to determine treatment differences at the 0.05 significance level and means were separated with Fishers LSD and Waller-Duncan test (SAS institute, Inc. 2003). Websites cited in this thesis were last verified by the author on November17, 2003. Results and Discussion Multispectral Reflectance Multispectral reflectance results from the first two week period show that there were differences due to fertilizer treatments in Stress-1 index, with best responses from QRF 15-0-15 (Table 4-1). Results from weeks 3-5 indicate that growth index NDVI had better responses with QRF 15-0-15 than SRF 8-4-12. In the last two weeks of the fertilizer cycle, treatment differences were observed at wavelengths 550 and 710 nm. At all these wavelengths, SRF 8-4-12 had better responses than QRF 16-4-8. For the first five weeks, better responses from QRF may be due in part to the faster rate of N release by the QRF, which encouraged foliar growth and may have increased the total chlorophyll content. Increased chlorophyll has been shown to affect

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39 MSR results (Carter 1993; Carter and Miller 1994; Trenholm et al. 2000b). Unlike 15-0-15, the slower rate of N release by SRF 8-4-12 would have less impact on foliar growth during weeks 0-5. At the end of the fertilizer cycle, however, better results were obtained from SRF 8-4-12, because N release was still occurring. Because, SRF 8-4-12 contains sulfur coated urea, plant roots can assimilate N for a longer period of time (Yeager and Gilman 1991), allowing better plant growth and vigor. Better response from QRF 15-0-15 than from 16-4-8 may be due to the influence of P. Sartain (1992) observed a reduction in growth and uptake of N by bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon x C. transvaalensis) during the warm season growth period when additional P was added, which was explained by the competition of H2PO4 and NO3-N for uptake. The addition of P resulted in less uptake of N and less growth. Since, 16-4-8, contains P and 15-0-15 does not, it can be inferred that P might have an effect on N uptake, thus impacting plant quality. Shoot and Root Growth Allamanda had 33% less shoot mass in SRF treated plants than in either QRF treatment (Table 4-2). Accumulation of dry matter in QRF treated plants was similar. These results are directly related to N-release characteristics of the fertilizer treatments. However, these results contradict findings by Broschat (1995) in Spathyphyllum. In his work QRF treated plants had lower dry weight than SRF treated plants. Similarly, Allamanda shoot weight collected at termination again showed higher biomass with QRF treatments (Table 4-3). In Allamanda, SRF treated plants had a lanky growth habit with fewer shoots and fewer leaves at the basal part of the shoots. However, this effect was not noticed in Canna, Nandina, and Ligustrum, which had no shoot weight difference due to treatments. Cumulative dry shoot weight of all plants at termination resulted in lower biomass with SRF treatments (Table 4-3). This may have been due to a major portion of

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40 shoot mass being contributed from Allamanda plants. There were no differences in root weight due to fertilizer treatments (Table 4-4). Nitrate Leaching (mg L-1) Differences due to fertilizer treatments were found when all leachate events were averaged (Table 4-5). 15-0-15 QRF and SRF 8-4-12 leached 50% and 56% less NO3-N 16-4-8 QRF. This may be due to the slow release nature of 8-4-12, where plants had more time to take up the nutrient as it released over a longer period of time. As noted above, Sartain (1992) observed a reduction in uptake of N by bermudagrass during the warm season growth period when additional P was added, which was attributed to the competition of H2PO4 and NO3-N for uptake. No differences were found in volume of nitrate leached due to fertilizer treatments (Data not shown). Leaf Tissue Nutrient Leaf tissue nutrient analysis showed that there were no differences in total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) between fertilizer treatments for any of the ornamentals (Table 4-6). Similar results were found by Stratton et al. (2001), who noticed N concentration in the plant did not differ with N source in Ligustrum ibolium. Nitrogen was applied at the same rate in all three treatments and the difference was only in rate of release, which might not have an effect on leaf N content. In Canna, no differences due to the fertilizer treatments were found in leaf nutrient concentrations other than K (Table 4-6). 8-4-12 SRF treated Canna plants showed higher leaf K content than QRF treated Canna plants. In Nandina, Ligustrum, and Allamanda, no differences were found in leaf nutrient contents due to the fertilizer treatments. Leaf nutrient concentrations varied with species. Canna had the highest P, K,

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41 and Mn content, while highest Ca, Mg, Zn, and Cu content was found in Allamanda leaves and Ligustrum had the highest Fe content. Conclusions This research provides information about the effect of two quick release turf fertilizers and a slow release palm fertilizer on ornamentals and their effects on environmental quality. Multispectral reflectance results have shown better plant quality in QRF 15-0-15 treated plants during the first five weeks of evaluation, while SRF 8-4-12 treated plants exhibited the best quality during the later three weeks of the fertilizer cycle. Greater shoot growth was observed in QRF treated Allamanda plants. Greater concentration of NO3-N was leached from QRF 16-4-8. Leaf K content was higher in 8-4-12 treated Canna, but no differences were found with any other nutrients. This enclosed container research provides preliminary data upon which in situ research may be modeled. Results obtained in this research may vary in an actual landscape setting due to root growth and branching habits, differences in ET rate in an open environment, and other variables that would be present in an uncontrolled environment. Further research is required to verify how nutrient release rate affects ornamental quality and nitrate leaching in an urban landscape.

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42 Table 4-1. Multispectral reflectance values in ornamentalsz throughout the fertilizer cycle. Wavelengths (nm) Weeks Fertilizers 550 660 710 NDVI Stress-1 16-4-8 (QRF) 9.38 ay 4.97 a 15.28 a 0.83 a 0.35 ab 15-0-15 (QRF) 7.66 a 4.12 a 13.57 a 0.87 a 0.32 a 0-2 8-4-12 (SRF) 9.43 a 5.00 a 15.98a 0.84 a 0.38 b P-value NS NS NS NS 0.04 Anova CV NS NS NS NS 24.10 16-4-8 (QRF) 8.07 a 3.44 a 12.58 a 0.87 ab 0.32 a 15-0-15 (QRF) 6.26 a 3.38 a 10.46 a 0.90 a 0.30 a 3-5 8-4-12 (SRF) 6.54 a 2.41 a 11.65 a 0.86 b 0.34 a P-value NS NS NS 0.03 NS Anova CV NS NS NS 3.7 NS 16-4-8 (QRF) 12.12 b 6.67 a 18.18 b 0.81 a 0.38 a 15-0-15 (QRF) 9.02 ab 4.18 a 14.56 ab 0.86 a 0.34 a 6-8 8-4-12 (SRF) 8.40 a 4.43 a 12.89 a 0.84 a 0.35 a P-value 0.05 NS 0.05 NS NS Anova CV 51.4 NS 45.6 NS NS z Ornamentals included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. y Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. Means are averaged over 6 fertilizer cycles.

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43 Table 4-2. Comparison of shoot weight of Allamanda cathartica pruned in October. Fertilizer Mean dry shoot wt. (g) 15-0-15 (QRF) 150.5 a z 16-4-8 (QRF) 156.6 a 8-4-12 (SRF) 103.6 b Anova P = 0.046 CV 18.37 z Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. Table 4-3. Ornamentalz shoot dry weight (g) in response to fertilizer treatments. Fertilizers Canna Nandina Ligustrum Allamanda Total 16-4-8 (QRF) 35.3 ay 45.0 a 149.5 a 435.6 a 683.3 a 15-0-15 (QRF) 50.9 a 44.4 a 156.7 a 415.2 a 667.2 a 8-4-12 (SRF) 63.1 a 38.9 a 138.5 a 236.9 b 477.5 b Anova NS NS NS P=0.0004 P=0.0067 CV NS NS NS 10.03 10.44 z Ornamentals included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. y Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. Shoots were collected at termination.

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44 Table 4-4. Cumulative ornamentalz root dry weight (g) in response to fertilizer treatments. Fertilizer Mean dry root wt. (g) 15-0-15 (QRF) 1867.0 a y 16-4-8 (QRF) 1838.7 a 8-4-12 (SRF) 1449.5 a Anova NS z Ornamentals included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. y Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. Table 4-5. Nitrate leaching (mg L-1) from ornamentalsz in response to fertilizer treatments. Fertilizer Day 15 Day 30 Day 60 Average 16-4-8 (QRF) 0.66 ay 0.60 a 0.28 a 0.52 a 15-0-15 (QRF) 0.40 a 0.24 a 0.18 a 0.26 b 8-4-12 (QRF) 0.28 a 0.23 a 0.15 a 0.23 b NS NS NS P=0.002 Anova NS NS NS CV=117.83 z Ornamentals included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. y Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. P> 0.05 is non significant (NS). Means are averaged over 6 fertilizer cycles.

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Table 4-6. Ornamental leaf tissue nutrient concentration (ppm) in response to fertilizer treatments. 4545 Plants Fertilizer TKN P K Ca Mg Zn Mn Cu Fe 16-4-8 1240 24.17 134.28b 99.9 45.81 0.09 1.85 0.01 0.08 15-0-15 1190 25.6 145.28b 101.88 51.19 0.09 2.4 0.01 0.06 8-4-12 1140 31.75 190.7 a 84.7 48.55 0.13 3.4 0.02 0.08 Canna Average 1190 27.17 156.75 95.49 48.52 0.10 2.55 0.01 0.07 16-4-8 1040 20.44 50.24 88.87 19.84 0.23 0.27 0.014 0.11 15-0-15 1070 19.24 48.89 82.43 14.34 0.19 0.14 0.008 0.05 8-4-12 1040 25.08 56.04 85.7 20.99 0.22 0.23 0.007 0.03 Nandina Average 1050 21.59 51.72 85.67 18.39 0.21 0.21 0.009 0.06 16-4-8 740 15.38 47.44 133.68 23.27 0.36 1.29 0.01 0.09 15-0-15 740 15.91 45.47 136.78 18.66 0.35 1.55 0.006 0.24 8-4-12 670 17.44 51.81 122.53 18.48 0.41 1.17 0.003 0.15 Ligustrum Average 717 16.24 48.24 130.99 20.14 0.37 1.34 0.006 0.16 16-4-8 1070 24.52 67.65 272.18 73.45 0.69 2.69 0.04 0.17 15-0-15 1070 21.1 82.71 183.75 49.19 0.44 2.08 0.03 0.04 8-4-12 990 21.35 79.79 150.93 39.24 0.44 1.76 0.02 0.02 Allamanda Average 1043 22.32 76.72 202.29 53.96 0.52 2.18 0.03 0.08 z Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. Means are averaged from leaf tissue collections taken throughout the year

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CHAPTER 5 WATER CONSUMPTION IN TURF AND ORNAMENTALS Introduction Water is the most important constituent of plant cells and it controls plant growth and development (Salisbury and Ross 1999; Taiz and Zeiger 2002). Loss of water through evaporation from soil and transpiration from the plant represents the total amount of water lost, which is known as evapotranspitration (ET) (Turgeon 1991). Evapotranspiration is an essential physiological process and is greatly affected by availability of water. ET is important in irrigation management because crop yield is often directly related to the amount of water lost through ET during the cropping season (Bronson et al. 2001). The rate of ET depends on many environmental factors including humidity (Nonami and Boyer 1990), wind speed, soil moisture (Beard 2002), and shade. Morphological factors include leaf pubescence and degree of cuticular wax present on the leaves (Peacock and Dudeck 1984). Plant water consumption may also depend on anatomical factors such as leaf area index, leaf orientation, and shoot density (Kim and Beard 1988). Higher turfgrass ET rates were found to be associated with higher amounts of shoots (Biran et al. 1981; Feldhake et al. 1983; Parr et al. 1984). In contrast lower ET rates were prevalent with lower shoot growth in bermudagrass (Devitt and Morris 1989) and St.Augustinegrass (Green et al. 1990). Greater root volume also encourages higher water uptake. Root systems develop with both downward movement and horizontal proliferation of branches at any given depth. Root length density (RLD) depends on the 46

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47 number of vertical axes, branching history, and elongation rates, which indicate relatively different root development patterns between monocots such as turf and dicots such as ornamentals ( Klepper 1990). Plants with more extensive root systems will draw moisture from a larger volume of soil (Christians 1998). Total water use (TWU) is the sum of (ET) and the water trapped in plant cells for growth and development, which is a small amount. Total water use can be correlated with soil moisture content. In a controlled environment, plants grown in containers might reflect changes in soil moisture content due to changes in water uptake and ET. In the landscape, water requirements vary between plant species. Turf should be irrigated on an as needed basis, which will vary based on season, temperature, soil type, grass species, and the presence or absence of shade. The frequency or amount of irrigation required by turf may differ from other plants in the landscape, due largely to differences in root and shoot mass. Difference in root architecture is one of the factors causing greater frequency of irrigation in turf than in shrubs. The dense intermingled root system of turf generally allows it to consume water from the top 15-30 cm of soil at a faster rate than ornamental roots. The deeper ornamental roots allow shrubs to extract large volumes of water stored from rainfall and past irrigations, meaning that irrigation frequency may be less for ornamentals than for turf. There are different ways to measure water use efficiency. While the differences in how plant species consume water may result in different irrigation requirements, they do not necessarily reflect water use efficiency (WUE). Water use efficiency (WUE) can be defined in many ways, including the ratio of biomass produced per unit of water used or as the measure of photosynthesis per volume of water consumed. Other methods for

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48 measuring WUE are stomatal diffusion and discrimination of carboxylation (Pearcy et al. 1994). Stomatal diffusion suggests that WUE might be expected to increase as stomata close (Smith and Griffiths 1993). Discrimination of carboxylation suggests that the degree of carbon isotope discrimination in different plants might be related to WUE (Farquhar et al. 1982). Water use efficiency is different for different crops. In a mixed sward of orchardgrass, creeping red fescue, and bromegrass, Krogman (1967) observed that up to a certain level of crop growth, factors promoting growth such as N also promotes WUE. Christians (1998) noted that higher N use might decrease WUE in grasses. However, limited information is available about the effect of fertilizer source on a plants WUE. Previous research has been done on TWU of turf, while little work has been done on TWU of landscape plants. The effect of fertilizer formulations on water use in different plant species also is not well understood. Turf and ornamentals co-exist in a landscape and may receive similar fertilization and irrigation regimes. The objectives of this study were to compare total water use by turf and ornamentals and to determine the effect of fertilizer treatments on water consumption. Materials and Methods The experiment was performed in a climate-controlled greenhouse at the G.C. Horn Memorial Turfgrass Field Laboratory at the University of Florida in Gainesville. St. Augustinegrass var. Floratam (Stenotaphrum secundatum [Walt.]Kuntze) and a combination of ornamentals that included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. were established in large plastic pots in May 2002. The pots measured 0.8 m diameter by 0.4 m tall with a volume of 300 L. Mature St.

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49 Augustinegrass sod was harvested from the research field of the G.C. Horn Memorial Turfgrass Field Laboratory and landscape plants grown in 2.8 L containers were acquired from a retail nursery. Pots were placed on reinforced metal tables in the greenhouse. Five cm of gravel was placed at the bottom of the pots, and a mesh cloth was placed over the gravel to retain the media. Pots were then filled with Arredondo fine sand (loamy, siliceous, hypothermic, Grossarenic Paleudalt). Arredondo fine sand has high P content; Mehlich I extracted P content in this media is 200 ppm. Plants were allowed to establish for a 2 month period before treatments began. There were three fertilizer treatments: quick release fertilizer (QRF) 16-4-8 (ammonium sulfate, concentrated superphosphate, and potassium chloride), QRF 15-0-15 (ammonium sulfate and potassium chloride), and a slow release fertilizer (SRF) 8-4-12 (polymer coated sulfur coated urea, ammonium phosphate and polymer coated potassium sulfate). Fertilizer treatments were applied six times at 2-month intervals (17 July, 19 September, 20 November 2002, 17 January, 18 March and 21 May 2003) at a rate of 4.9 g N m-2 to both turf and ornamentals and each of these 2-month periods was called one fertilizer cycle. Irrigation was applied uniformly to both turf and ornamentals as needed over the course of the year. Irrigation schedules varied with season, but the rate of irrigation was the same for both turf and ornamentals (Table 5-1). Total Water Use values were derived from equation 2-2.

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50 Total Water Use (TWU) = WF+ (IW1+WU1) + (IW2+WU2) + (IW3+WU3) (Eq. 2-2) WF = water applied with fertilizer, which was 4L in all fertilizer cycles. IW1 = Water applied before first leaching event, excluding WF IW2 = Water applied between first and second leaching event IW3 = Water applied between second and third leaching event WUn= WAn-WLn, n = leaching event number (n=1, 2, 3) WAn = water applied to a pot on a leaching event WLn = water leached from a pot on a leaching event In this study, WUE was measured by per unit volume of root mass WUER, shoot mass WUES, and total of root and shoot mass WUET. Data were analyzed to find the overall water use efficiency over the year and during fertilizer cycle 6 (May-July). Time domain reflectometry (TDR) (IMKO Micromodultechnik GmbH; Ettlingen, Germany) was used weekly to measure soil moisture content at different soil levels ( 0-20 cm). A 5 cm diameter plastic tube was inserted vertically in the center of each pot allowing the TDR probe to be inserted to various depths. When not in use, tubes were capped to avoid entrance of water. During the last fertilizer cycle, no water was applied for a period of seven days to measure the change of soil moisture in both turf and ornamentals. After 12 months of fertilizer treatments, shoots and roots from each pot were harvested and dried for 24 hours at 75 C. Ornamental roots were excavated and washed but were not separated by plant species due to the intermingling between roots. Turf was mowed every week with scissors to maintain a height of 9 cm and clippings were removed. During the summer, turf leaf blade length was measured prior to mowing. In the ornamental pots cypress mulch was applied to the soil surface at a depth of 2.5 cm. A micronutrient blend (STEP, The Scotts Company) was applied at a rate of

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51 6.7 g m-2 in September 2002 to both turf and ornamentals. To control a minor infestation of armyworm (Spodoptera spp.) in the turf, 8% Bifenthrin was applied at a rate of 4g L-1. Ligustrums were treated with a 2% insecticidal oil during November to control a scale (Hemiberlesia lataniae) infestation. Greenhouse temperature was monitored using a Hobo temperature data logger (Onset Computer Corp; Bourne, MA) (Table 5-2) and light intensity at different canopy levels was measured weekly with Li-COR 250 (LI-COR, Inc. Lincoln, NE). Experimental design was a randomized complete block model with four replications. Data were analyzed with the SAS analytical program to determine treatment differences at the 0.05 significance level and means were separated with Fishers LSD, Waller-Duncan, and correlation was calculated with Proc GLM (SAS institute, Inc. 2003). Websites cited in this thesis were last verified by the author on November17, 2003. Results and Discussion Comparison of Water Consumption by Turf and Ornamentals In all fertilizer cycles, turf consumed less water than ornamentals (Figure 5-1).Water use of ornamentals during fertilizer cycles ranged from 11% to 83% more than turf. Averaged over the year, water consumption of ornamentals was 39% more than turf. Due to the pot confinement, the ornamentals became root bound, this is logical and represents greater water uptake due to increased root mass within the containers. Minimal differences in water use between plant types occurred during the first cycle (Jul-Sep) after planting. This cycle was part of the establishment period, during which time ornamentals had less shoot and root mass and therefore used less water than when mature. Greater differences in water consumption were found in cycles 3 and 4

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52 (November to mid March). During the winter season, St. Augustinegrass typically goes into dormancy and uses less water (Trenholm et al. 2000a). In the controlled environment, St. Augustnegrass was not completely dormant, and use was reduced. Canna was the only plant that went dormant, which was noted by senescent foliage. The lack of dormancy in the remaining ornamentals resulted in higher water use of ornamentals as compared to turf during the winter. In this research, when averaged over a one-year period, turf consumed less water than ornamentals per unit area of land. However, in a landscape, due to differences in rooting depth and growth rate between plant species, turf may require more frequent watering than ornamental shrubs or trees. Effect of Fertilizer on Water Consumption of Turf and Ornamentals Turf used 11% more water when treated with QRF 15-0-15 than with SRF 8-4-12 (Table 5-3). During the first fertilizer cycle, while plants were still establishing, QRF treated turf grew faster due to greater availability of N in solution, which resulted in greater water consumption. Sartain (1992) observed a reduction in growth and uptake of N by bermudagrass during the growth period when additional P was added, which was explained by the competition of H2PO4 and NO3-N for uptake. The addition of P resulted in less uptake of N and less growth. Since 16-4-8, contains P and 15-0-15 does not, it may be inferred that results are influenced by P. From fertilizer cycle 2 through 4 (Sep to Mar), St. Augustinegrass growth was reduced, and no differences in water consumption due to fertilizer treatments were observed (Table 5-3). During the fifth fertilizer cycle (March to May), however, turf was actively growing and was very responsive to fertilizer. SRF treated turf used nearly 5% less water than QRF treatments, probably due to the reduced growth rate resulting from

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53 SRF as compared to QRF. Leaf length measurements in summer showed that weekly growth was 3-4 cm in QRF treatments and 1-2 cm in SRF treatment. It is also possible that turf began active re-growth in March, and QRF treated turf recovered faster due to more available N for plant growth, thus increasing the water use. In the sixth cycle, (May to Jul), there was no difference in water consumption between the plant types. Ornamentals showed variation in water consumption due to different fertilizer formulations (Table 5-4). SRF 8-4-12 treated plants consumed less water in all cycles except the first fertilizer cycle (Jul-Sep), In the second fertilizer cycle (Sep-Nov) QRF 15-0-15 and 16-4-8 treated plants consumed 9% and 6% more water, respectively than those receiving SRF 8-4-12. This suggests that more shoot growth encourages greater ET and hence, more water consumption. Similar results were observed by Feldhake et al. (1983) and Biran et al. (1981). In this study, higher total shoot mass was found in QRF treated ornamental plants (Table 4-3). Plants receiving SRF fertilizer had less shoot mass and used less water, but in a similar study Broschat (1995) noticed QRFs produced less biomass than SRFs in Spathyphyllum. Water Use Efficiency (WUE) Quick release fertilizer treated turf had higher WUET and WUES in May-July period (Table 5-5), but no differences were found over the year. Similarly, QRF treated ornamentals had higher WUES in May-July period (Table 5-6), but no differences were found over the year. Water use efficiency by shoots (WUES) was higher in turf than in ornamentals both in the May-July period and over the entire year (Table 5-7). Opposite results were noticed with WUER and WUET. Both were higher in ornamentals than in turf during both the May-July period and over the entire year (Table 5-7).

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54 Correlation between Shoots, Roots, and Soil Moisture with Water Use For turf, TWU was directly correlated to shoot mass, root mass and total mass (root + shoot) (Table 5-8). Higher water consumption is associated with higher amount of shoot growth (Parr et al. 1984; Biran et al. 1981). An increase in shoot growth encourages more leaves and the greater leaf area means a greater number of stomata, resulting in greater potential for ET. Additionally, an increase in root mass increases the water uptake capacity of the plant, which can result in more water use. Results from the last three fertilizer cycles show that TWU was inversely proportional to soil moisture content (Table 5-8). To support the water use by plants, water was absorbed from the soil, which was a limited source of moisture. Therefore, the increase in water consumption by plants resulted in a reduction in the soil moisture content. Change in Soil Moisture Content during Seven Days with No Irrigation A 7-day period of no irrigation in the summer showed differences in soil moisture content (Fig.5-2). During the first two days of dry down, soil moisture did not differ between turf and ornamentals. Moreover, from 4 to 7 days, ornamental pots had lower soil moisture content in comparison to turf. This was probably due to higher root mass in ornamentals than turf (Table 3-3; Table 4-4), which resulted in greater water use. Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) results from the lower 20 cm indicate that from day 2-7, ornamental pots had less soil moisture content than turf (Fig. 5-3). Results from the upper 20cm showed no differences between turf and ornamentals (Fig. 5-4) at any point in time. This is most likely due to the root distribution pattern. Turf roots are concentrated in the top half of the pot, with less density at greater depths. Ornamental roots are distributed uniformly throughout the soil profile.

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55 Conclusions This study provides the opportunity to observe differences in total water consumption in a unit volume of soil, which may be extrapolated to water use by plants in an urban landscape. Results showed that on an average, ornamentals consumed 39% more water than turf, which varied from 11% to as high as 83%, depending on the season. The greatest difference in water consumption was found during winter, when St. Augustinegrass remained semi-dormant and ornamentals continued to grow. Both turf and ornamentals consumed less water when treated with SRF and higher WUE in both turf and ornamentals was found with SRF treatment. In turf, TWU was directly proportionate to shoot mass and root mass. In ornamentals this relationship was observed only for shoot mass. This enclosed container research provides preliminary data upon which in situ research may be modeled. Results obtained in this research may vary in an actual landscape setting due to root growth and branching habits, differences in ET rate in an open environment, and other variables that would be present in an uncontrolled environment. Further research is required to verify water use efficiency between turf and ornamentals in an urban landscape.

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56 Table 5-1. Irrigation schedule (L) in 6 fertilizer cycles. Fertilizer cycle (FC) Water applied with fertilizer (WF) Water applied before first leaching event (IW1) Water applied between first and second leaching event (IW2) Water applied between second and third leaching event (IW3) 1st FC (Jul-Sep) 4 16 12 24 2nd FC (Sep-Nov) 4 16 10 12 3rd FC (Nov-Jan) 4 8 8 12 4th FC (Jan-Mar) 4 8 8 12 5th FC (Mar-May) 4 9 9 38 6th FC (May-Jul) 4 20 20 40 Table 5-2. Average temperature (C) in the green house during the study. 2002 2003 Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul 84.04 84.41 80.1 73.48 71.6 72.46 73.19 72.6 79.61 83.01 86.23 89.02 Table 5-3. Effects of fertilizer source on water consumption (L) of turf in 6 fertilizer cycles. Frtz. Cycle-1 (Jul-Sep) Cycle-2 (Sep-Nov) Cycle-3 (Nov-Jan) Cycle-4 (Jan-Mar) Cycle-5 (Mar-May) Cycle-6 (May-Jul) 15-0-15 105.9 a z 88.1 a 70.6 a 68.7 a 116.1 a 136.4 a 16-4-8 101.7 ab 86.4 a 71.7 a 64.8 a 119.3 a 140.3 a 8-4-12 94.1 b 79.2 a 65.2 a 60.1 a 112.4 b 132.1 a P-value 0.08 NS NS NS 0.009 NS CV 5.94 NS NS NS 1.77 NS z Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. P> 0.05 is non significant (NS).

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57 Table 5-4. Effects of fertilizer source on water consumption (L) of ornamentalsz in 6 fertilizer cycles. Frtz. Cycle-1 (Jul-Sep) Cycle-2 (Sep-Nov) Cycle-3 (Nov-Jan) Cycle-4 (Jan-Mar) Cycle-5 (Mar-May) Cycle-6 (May-Jul) 15-0-15 116.0 az 126.2 a 110.2 a 124.7 a 166.3 a 181.4 a 16-4-8 113.6 a 122.0 ab 108.2 a 128.5 a 164.5 a 184.5 a 8-4-12 106.5 a 114.9 b 98.2 b 100.4 b 140.7 b 168.0 b P-value NS 0.025 0.008 0.009 0.043 0.032 CV NS 3.52 3.57 7.66 7.75 9.88 z Ornamentals included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. y Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. P> 0.05 is non significant (NS). Table 5-5.Water use efficiency (WUE) of turf measured (g L-1) during summer and over the year. Fertilizers WUE CV P-value 8-4-12 6.5 b z 16-4-8 7.6 a WUE by Shoot 15-0-15 7.9 a 6.63 0.017 8-4-12 1.1a 16-4-8 1.2 a WUE by Root 15-0-15 1.2 a NS NS 8-4-12 7.6 b 16-4-8 8.8 a May-July WUE by Total mass (Root + Shoot) 15-0-15 9.1 a 5.65 0.01 8-4-12 9.5 a 16-4-8 11.0 a WUE by Shoot 15-0-15 11.1 a NS NS 8-4-12 1.5 a 16-4-8 1.7 a WUE by Root 15-0-15 1.7 a NS NS 8-4-12 11.1 a 16-4-8 12.7 a Yearly WUE by Total mass (Root + Shoot) 15-0-15 12.7 a NS NS z Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. P> 0.05 is non significant (NS).

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58 Table 5-6. Water use efficiency (WUE) of ornamentalsz measured (g L-1) during summer and over the year. Fertilizers WUE CV P-value 8-4-12 2.8 b y 16-4-8 3.7 a WUE by Shoot 15-0-15 3.7 a 11.84 0.037 8-4-12 8.6 a 16-4-8 9.9 a WUE by Root 15-0-15 10.3 a NS NS 8-4-12 11.5 a 16-4-8 13.7 a May-July WUE by Total mass (Root + Shoot) 15-0-15 13.9 a NS NS 8-4-12 3.9 a 16-4-8 4.9 a WUE by Shoot 15-0-15 4.8 a NS NS 8-4-12 12.1 a 16-4-8 13.4 a WUE by Root 15-0-15 13.6 a NS NS 8-4-12 16.0 a 16-4-8 18.4 a Yearly WUE by Total mass (Root + Shoot) 15-0-15 18.4 a NS NS z Ornamentals included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. y Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. P> 0.05 is non significant (NS).

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59 Table 5-7. Comparison of water use efficiency (WUE) between turf and ornamentalsz measured (g L-1) during summer and over the year. Plant WUE CV P-value Turf 7.4 a y WUE by Shoot Ornamentals 3.4 b 12.75 <0.0001 Turf 1.1 b WUE by Root Ornamentals 9.6 a 32.1 <0.0001 Turf 8.6 b May-July WUE by Total mass (Root +Shoot) Ornamentals 13.0 a 18.2 <0.0001 Turf 10.5 a WUE by Shoot Ornamentals 4.6 b 14.7 <0.0001 Turf 1.6 b WUE by Root Ornamentals 13.0 a 32.9 <0.0001 Turf 12.2 b Yearly WUE by Total mass (Root +Shoot) Ornamentals 17.6 a 19.3 0.0003 z Ornamentals included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. y Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. P> 0.05 is non significant (NS). Table 5-8. Correlation between water use and soil moisture, shoot, and root volume. Plants Source of Variation Turf Ornamentals TWU Shoot 0.72 0.0081 0.71 0.0089 TWU Root 0.68 0.014 NS TWU Total mass (Root + Shoot) 0.74 0.0054 NS TWU Soil moisture content -0.64 <0.0001 Values greater than 0.64 significant at p= 0.05 and others non-significant (NS).

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Water consumption by Turf and Ornamentals95.2112121.1117.9157.2131.9136.3115.964.569.284.5100.5177.9105.504080120160200Cy-1Cy-2Cy-3Cy-4Cy-5Cy-6AverageWaterVolume (L) Turf Ornamentals ababababababab Figure 5-1. Water consumption (L) in turf and ornamentalsz in 6 fertilizer cycles. 60 z Ornamentals included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. Bars with the same letter are not different at the 0.05 probability level.

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61 17.5915.28 18.7716.3617.7311.419.3618.548121620241247DaysSoil moisture (%) Turf Ornamentals a a b b Figure 5-2. Change in soil moisture (%) in turf and ornamentalz pots in a period of 7 days without irrigation. z Ornamentals included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. 22.5222.321.5819.9720.3818.9216.412.138121620241247DaysSoil moisture (%) Turf Ornamentals a a a b b b Figure 5-3. Change in soil moisture (%) in turf and ornamentalz pots in a period of 7 days without irrigation at the lower 20 cm. z Ornamentals included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level.

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62 15.2412.7516.5414.1610.6713.616.216.78121620241247DaysSoil moisture (%) Turf Ornamentals Figure 5-4. Change in soil moisture in turf and ornamentalz pots in a period of 7 days without irrigation at the upper 20 cm. z Ornamentals included Canna generalis L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestica Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L.

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CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSIONS This research looked at 1) the effects of fertilizer sources on turf and ornamentals 2) nitrate leaching and, 3) differences in total water consumption per unit volume of soil between turf and ornamentals. Both QRFs 15-0-15 and 16-4-8 produced better plant quality than SRF 8-4-12; however, higher amounts of NO3-N were leached from 16-4-8-treated plants. The slow release fertilizer (SRF) 8-4-12 leached less NO3-N than the QRFs but, had reduced plant quality. Higher biomass production was associated with QRFs. Less NO3-N leached from turf than from ornamentals and turf consumed less water in the confines of the container environment. Research is needed to verify the results in the landscape. Due to differences in root growth and distribution in the landscape, results might vary from those seen in this research. Fertilization frequency might also influence the results, due to release characteristics of the fertilizer treatments. With less frequent fertilizer application or higher leaching potential, higher average quality scores might be obtained with SRF. This controlled environment research provides preliminary data upon which in situ research may be modeled. Further research is required to verify how nutrient release rate affects plant quality, nutrient leaching, and water use in an urban landscape. Increased knowledge of nutrient and water uptake and use between plant species in the landscape would allow for more efficient fertilization and water management in the urban landscape. 63

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LIST OF REFERENCES Allen, S.E., C.M. Hunt, and G.L. Terman. 1971. Nitrogen release from sulfur-coated urea, as affected by coating weight, placement, and temperature. Agron. J. 63: 529-533. Beard, J.B. 2002. Turf management for golf courses. Ann Arbor Press, Inc. Chelsa, MI. Beard, J.B. 1973. Turfgrass: science and culture. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Biran, I., B. Bravado, I. Bushkin-Harav, and E. Rawitz. 1981. Water consumption and growth rate of 11 turfgrasses as affected by mowing height, irrigation frequency, and soil moisture. Agron. J. 75: 85-90. Black, R.J. 2002. Florida 4-H Horticulture identification and judging study manual: ornamentals. Univ. of Fla. Coop. Ext. Serv., 4H PSJ 23. Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Bowman, D.C., C.T. Cherney, and T.W. Rufty, Jr. 2002. Fate and transport of nitrogen applied to six warm season turfgrasses. Crop Sci. 42: 833-841. Bronson, K. F., A. B. Onken, J. W. Keeling, J. D. Booker, and H. A. Torbert. 2001. Nitrogen response in cotton as affected by tillage system and irrigation level. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 65: 1153-1163. Broschat, T.K. 1995. Nitrate, phosphate, and potassium leaching from container-grown plants fertilized by several methods. Hortscience 30(1): 74-77. Brown, K.W., J.C. Thomas, and R.L. Duble. 1982. Nitrogen source effect on nitrate and ammonium leaching and run off losses from greens. Agron. J. 74: 947-950. Carter, G.A. 1993. Response of leaf spectral reflectance to plant stress. Am. J. Bot. 80: 230-243. Carter, G.A. and R.L. Miller. 1994. Early detection of plant stress by digital imaging within narrow stress-sensitive wavebands. Remote Sense. Environ. 50: 295-302. Christians, N. 1998. Fundamentals of turfgrass management. Ann Arbor Press, Inc. Chelsa, MI. 64

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65 Cisar, J. L., G. H. Snyder, and G. S. Swanson. 1992. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium fertilization for histosol-grown St. Augustine grass sod. Agron. J. 84: 475-479. Cox, D.A. 1993. Reducing nitrogen leaching losses from containerized plants: The effectiveness of controlled release fertilizers. J. Plant. Nutr. 16: 533-545. CROPSCAN, Inc. 2003. Multispectral radiometer. CROPSCAN, Inc. Rochestrer, MN. Accessed in November, 2003 at www.cropscan.com. Devitt, D.A., and R.L. Morris. 1989. Growth of common bermudagrass as influenced by plant growth regulators, soil type and nitrogen fertility. J. Environ. Hort. 7: 1-8. Ebdon, J.S., A.M. Petrovic, and R.A. White. 1999. Interaction of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium on evapotranspiration rate and growth of Kentucky bluegrass. Crop Sci. 39: 209-218. Erickson, J.E., J.L Cisar, J.C. Volin, and G.H. Snyder. 2001. Comparing nitrogen runoff and leaching and between newly established St. Augustinegrass turf and an alternative residential landscape. Crop Sci.41: 1889-1895. Farquahar, G.D., M.H. OLeary, and J.A. Berry. 1982. The relationship between carbon isotope discrimination and intercellular carbon dioxide concentration. Aust. J. Plant Physiol. 9: 121-137. Feldhake, C.M., R.E. Danielson, and J.D. Butler. 1983. Turfgrass evapotranspiration I. Factors influencing rate in urban environment. Agron. J. 75: 824-830. Feldhake, C.M., R.E. Danielson, and J.D. Butler. 1984. Turfgrass evapotranspiration II. Response to deficit irrigation. Agron. J. 76: 85-89. Flipse, W.J., Jr., B.G. Katz, J.B. Linder, and R. Markel. 1984. Sources of nitrate in ground water in a sewered housing development. Central Long Island, New York. Ground Water. 32: 418-426. Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection (FDEP). 2003. Groundwater in Florida. FDEP Tallahassee, FL. Accessed in November 2003 at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/ water/ groundwater. Gilman, E.F., and D.G. Watson. 1993. Ligustrum japonicum: Japanese Privet. Univ. of Fla. Coop. Ext. Serv. ENH-511. Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Gilman, E.F., and T.H. Yeager. 1990. Fertilizer type and nitrogen rate affects field-grown laurel oak and Japanese ligustrum. Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.103: 370-372.

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66 Green, R.L., K.S. Kim, and J.B. Beard. 1990. Eff ects of flurprimidol, mefluidide, and soil moisture on St. Augustinegrass evapotranspiration rate. HortScience 25: 439-441. Gross, C.M., J.S. Angle, and M.S. Welterlen. 1990. Nutrient and sediment losses from turfgrass. J. Environ. Qual.19: 663-668. Haynes J., J. McLaughlin, L. Vasquez, and A. Hunsberger. 2001. Low-maintenance landscape plants for south Florida. Univ. of Fla. Coop. Ext. Serv., ENH 854. Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Heckathorn, S.A., E.H. De Lucia, and R.E. Zielinski. 1997. The contribution of drought-related decreases in foliar nitrogen concentration to decreases in photosynthetic capacity during and after drought in prairie grasses. Physiol. Plant 101: 173-182. Hornsby, A.G. 1999. Ground water: the hidden resource. Univ. of Fla. Coop. Ext. Serv., SL-48. Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Killian, K.C., O.J. Attoe, and L.E. Engelbert. 1966. Urea formaldehyde as a slowly available form of nitrogen for Kentucky bluegrass. Agron. J. 58: 204-206. Kim, K. S., and J.B. Beard. 1988. Comparative turfgrass evapotranspiration rates and associated plant morphological characteristics. Crop Sci. 28(2): 328-331. Klepper, B. 1990. Irrrigation of agricultural crops-agronomy monograph no. 30. Madison, WI. Knox, G.W. 1991. Landscape design for water conservation. Univ. of Fla. Coop. Ext. Serv., ENH-72. Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Krogman, K.K. 1967. Evapotranspiration by irrigated grass as related to fertilizer. Can. J. Plant Sci. 47: 281-287. Liyanage, C.E., M.I. Thabrew, and D.S.P. Kuruppuarachchi. 2000. Nitrate pollution in ground water of Kalpitiya: an evaluation of the content of nitrates in the water and food items cultivated in the area. J. Nat. Sci. Foundation of Sri Lanka. 28(2): 101-112. Midcap, J.T., R.J. Black, and S.A. Rose. 1991. Ligustrum or Privet. Univ. of Fla. Coop. Ext. Serv., ENH 45. Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Nonami, H., and J.S. Boyer. 1990. Primary events regulating stem growth at low water potentials. Plant Physiol. 94: 1601-1609. Parr, T.W., R.W. Cox, and R.A. Plant. 1984. The effects of cutting height on root distribution and water use of ryegrass turf. J. Sports Turf Res. Inst. 60: 45-53.

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67 Peacock, C. H., and A.E. Dudeck. 1981. Effects of shade on morphological and physiological parameters of St. Augustinegrass cultivars. p. 493-500. In R.W. Sheard (ed.) proc.4th int. Turfgrass Res. Conf., Guelph, ON, Canada.19-23 July. Int. Turfgrass Soc., and Ontario Agric. Coll., Univ. of Guelph, Guelph, ON. Peacock, C.H., and A.E. Dudeck. 1984. Physiological responses of St. Augustinegrass to irrigation scheduling. Agron. J. 76: 275-279. Pearcy, R.W., J. Ehleringer, H.A. Mooney, and P.W. Rundel. 1994. Plant physiological ecology. Chapman and Hall. London, UK. Petrovic, A.M. 1990. The fate of nitrogenous fertilizers applied to turfgrass. J. Environ Qual. 19: 1-14. Pye, V.I., R. Patrick, and J. Quarles. 1983. Ground water contamination in the United States. Univ. of Pennsylvania press, Philadelphia, PA. SAS Institute, Inc. 2003. SAS users guide: Statistics, SAS system version 8. SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, NC. Sagi M, A. Dovrat, T. Kipnis, and H.S. Lips. 1988. Nitrate reductase, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase and glutamine synthetase in annual ryegrass as affected by salinity and nitrogen. J. Plant Nutr. 21: 707-723. Salisbury, F. B. and C.W. Ross. 1999. Plant physiology. Fourth edition. Brooks/Cole Pub. Co .Belmont, CA Sartain, J.B. 1985. Mobility and extractability of phosphorus applied to the surface of Tifway bermudagrass turf. Soil Crop Sci. Soc. Florida Proc. 39: 47-50. Sartain, J.B. 1992. Phosphorus and zinc influence on bermudagrass growth. Soil Crop Sci. Soc. Florida Proc. 51: 39-42. Sartain, J.B. 2001. Soil Testing and interpretation for Florida turfgrasses. Univ. of Fla. Coop. Ext. Serv. SL 181.Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Sifers I.S. and J.B. Beard. 1999. Drought resistance in warm season grasses. Golf Course Management 67(9): 67-70. Smith, J.A.C. and H. Griffiths. 1993. Water deficits. Bios Scientific Publishers. Oxford, UK. Snyder, G.H., B.J. Augustin, and J.M. Davidson. 1984. Moisture sensor-controlled irrigation for reducing N leaching in bermudagrass turf. Agron. J. 76: 964-969.

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68 StandardOut, Inc. 2003. The plants database. StandardOut, Inc. Accessed in November, 2003 at http://plantsdatabase.com. Stratton, M.L ., G.L. Good, and A.V. Barker. 2001. The effects of nitrogen source and concentration on the growth and mineral composition of privet. J. Plant Nutrition. 24 (11): 1745-1772. Taiz, L., and E. Zeiger. 2002. Plant physiology. Third edition. The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company Inc. Redwood city, CA. Tjia, B., and R.J. Black. 1991. Cannas for Florida landscape. Univ. of Fla. Coop. Ext. Serv., Circ. 424. Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL. The Nitrate Elimination Co., Inc. 2000. Nitrate: Health risks to consumer. The Nitrate Elimination Co., Inc. Lake Linden, MI. Accessed in November, 2003 at http://www.nitrate.com. Trenholm, L. E., R.N. Carrow, and R.R. Duncan. 1999. Relationship of multispectral radiometry data to qualitative data in turfgrass research. Crop Sci. 39: 763-769. Trenholm L.E., R.N. Carrow, and R.R. Duncan. 2001. Wear tolerance, growth, and quality of seashore paspalum in response to nitrogen and potassium. Hortscience 36(4): 780-783. Trenholm, L. E., J.L. Cisar, and J.B. Unruh. 2000a. St. Augustinegrass for Florida lawns. Univ. of Fla. Coop.Ext. Serv., ENH 5. Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Trenholm, L.E., E.F. Gilman, G.W. Knox, and R.J. Black. 2002. Fertilization and irrigation needs for Florida lawns and landscapes. Univ. of Fla. Coop. Ext. Serv., ENH 860. Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Trenholm, L. E., M.J. Schlossberg, G. Lee, W. Parks, and S.A. Geer. 2000b. An evaluation of multispectral responses on selected turf grass species. Int. J. Remote Sens. 21(4): 709-721. Trenholm, L. E., J.B. Unruh, and J.L. Cisar. 2003. Watering your Florida lawn. Univ. of Fla. Coop. Ext. Serv., ENH 9. Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Turgeon, A.J. 1991. Turfgrass management. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Yeager, T.H., and E.F. Gilman. 1991. Fertilization recommendations for trees and shrubs in home and commercial landscapes. Univ. of Fla. Coop. Ext. Serv., Circ. 948. Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Subhrajit Saha was born in 1977 in a small Indian city called Kanchrapara. Soon after his birth, his family moved to another small city named Kalyani, where he spent his boyhood. He completed his twelve years of education at the Kalyani University Experimental High School. In 1996, he joined Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya (State Agricultural University), where he received his B.Sc. degree in horticulture. He joined the University of Florida in 2001 and will graduate with a M.S. degree in environmental horticulture in 2004. Upon graduation he will continue for a Ph.D. at the University of Florida. 69


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EFFECT OF FERTILIZER SOURCE ON NITRATE LEACHING, PLANT WATER
CONSUMPTION, AND TURF AND ORNAMENTAL QUALITY
















By

SUBHRAJIT K. SAHA


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2004















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I express my deep gratitude to Dr. Laurie E. Trenholm (cochair of my supervisory

committee) for her excellent guidance and assistance during the course of my graduate

work. I would like to thank my other cochair (Dr. J. Bryan Unruh) for his advice,

support, and inspiration. I sincerely appreciate my external committee member (Dr. Jerry

Sartain) for his help and suggestions. I also would like to thank my two other committee

members (Dr. Rick Schoellhorn and Dr. Tim Broschat) for their assistance. Dr.

Schoellhorn's friendliness always inspired me and Dr. Broschat always helped me with

his valuable inputs.

I gratefully acknowledge Florida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN) and Florida

Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for partial funding of this research. I

would like to thank Brian Owens for technical support of my study and for his valuable

suggestions. I thank Joon Lee, Shirley Anderson, Mark Warner, Ty Twist and Brian

Hinote for their help in my research.

I extend warm thanks to Prof. N. Roychowdhury and Dr. Shilpi Roychowdhury,

Prof. N.P. Koley and Biva Koley for their inspiration and advice. I am grateful to

Samiran Sinha, Dr. Suman and Debjani Mazumder, Dr. Kajal and Suparna Biswas for

their love and friendship. I am deeply grateful to my parents (Mr. S.N. Saha and Mrs.

Aloka Saha) for their love and moral support. I extend my gratitude to my brother-in-law

(Major S.K. Saha); my sister (Mrs. Indrani Saha), and my nieces (Sanjana and Nilanjana)

for their love and encouragement.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS
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A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S .................................................................................................. ii

LIST O F TA B LE S ............... .. ......................... .......... .... ............... v

L IST O F F IG U R E S .... ...... ................................................ .. .. ..... .............. vii

A B S T R A C T .......................................... .................................................. v iii

CHAPTER

1 IN TR OD U CTION ............................................... .. ......................... ..

Environm mental Concern .................. .................................. ........ ........... ..
P lan t M materials .................................................................................. 3
St. A ugustinegrass ....................................... ..... ........... .. ........ ..
O rnam mental Plants ............... ......... .........................................................
M ultispectral Reflectance (M SR) M easurem ent ........................................ ...............6
Water ........................................................
Nitrogen ............. ....... ... .............................. ...............

2 M ATERIALS AND M ETHOD S ........................................ ......................... 10

3 EFFECT OF FERTILIZER SOURCE ON NITRATE LEACHING AND ST.
AUGUSTINEGRASS TURF QUALITY....................... ...... ..............15

In tro d u ctio n ........................................................................................................... 1 5
M materials and M methods ....................................................................... .................. 18
R results and D iscu ssion .............................. ........................ .. ...... .... ...... ...... 22
M ultispectral R eflectance......... ................................................ ...................22
V isual Q quality, C olor, and D density ........................................ .....................22
T hatch A ccum ulation ................................................ ....................................23
Shoot and R oot G row th ......................................................................... .. .... 23
Nitrate Leaching by Concentration (mg L)............................................24
N itrate Leaching by V olum e (m g) ............................. ..... ............................ 25
L eaf Tissue N utrient .................. .......................... .................... .. 25
C o n clu sio n s..................................................... ................ 2 6









4 EFFECT OF FERTILIZER SOURCE ON NITRATE LEACHING AND
ORNAM ENTAL PLANT QUALITY ............................................. .....................33

In tro d u ctio n ........................................................................................................... 3 3
M materials and M methods ....................................................................... ..................35
R results and D iscu ssion .............................. ........................ .. ...... .... ...... ...... 38
M ultispectral R eflectance ......... ................................................ ............... 38
Shoot and R oot G row th ........................................................................ 39
N itrate L teaching (m g L )......................................................... ............... 40
Leaf Tissue N utrient .................. ............................ .... .. .. .. ........ .... 40
C o n c lu sio n s..................................................... ................ 4 1

5 WATER CONSUMPTION IN TURF AND ORNAMENTALS .............................46

In tro du ctio n .............. ................................. ................................ 4 6
M materials and M methods ....................................................................... ..................4 8
Results and Discussion ............................... .. ... ................ ... .............. 51
Comparison of Water Consumption by Turf and Ornamentals......................... 51
Effect of Fertilizer on Water Consumption of Turf and Ornamentals ................52
W ater U se Efficiency (W U E)......................................................... .................. 53
Correlation between Shoots, Roots, and Soil Moisture with Water Use.............54
Change in Soil Moisture Content during Seven Days with No Irrigation...........54
C o n c lu sio n s..................................................... ................ 5 5

6 CON CLU SION S .................................. .. .......... .. .............63

LIST OF REFEREN CES ......................... ................. ........................... ............... 64

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E TCH ..................................................................... ..................69
















LIST OF TABLES


Table page

3-1. Multispectral reflectance values in turfgrass throughout the fertilizer cycle. ............27

3-2. Turfgrass visual quality in response to fertilizer sources. ........................................28

3-3. Turf thatch, shoot and root weight in response to fertilizer treatments.................... 28

3-4. Nitrate leaching (mg L1) from turf and ornamentals in response to fertilizer
treatm ents. ...........................................................................29

3-5. Nitrate leaching (mg) from turf and ornamentals in response to fertilizer
treatm ents. ...........................................................................30

3-6. Turf leaf tissue nutrient concentration (ppm) in response to fertilizer treatments. ....30

4-1. Multispectral reflectance values in ornamentals throughout the fertilizer cycle........42

4-2. Comparison of shoot weight of Allamanda cathartica pruned in October ................43

4-3. Ornamental shoot dry weight (g) in response to fertilizer treatments......................43

4-4. Cumulative ornamental root dry weight (g) in response to fertilizer treatments........44

4-5. Nitrate leaching (mg L1) from ornamentals in response to fertilizer treatments.......44

4-6. Ornamental leaf tissue nutrient concentration (ppm) in response to fertilizer
treatm ents. ...........................................................................45

5-1. Irrigation schedule (L) in 6 fertilizer cycles. ................................... ............... 56

5-2. Average temperature (C) in the green house during the study..............................56

5-3. Effects of fertilizer source on water consumption (L) of turf in 6 fertilizer cycles....56

5-4. Effects of fertilizer source on water consumption (L) of ornamentals in 6 fertilizer
c y c le s ............................................................................ 5 7

5-5.Water use efficiency (WUE) of turf measured (g L1) during summer and over the
y ear. ................................................................................ 57









5-6. Water use efficiency (WUE) of ornamentals measured (g L1) during summer and
over the year. ..........................................................................58

5-7. Comparison of water use efficiency (WUE) between turf and ornamentals
measured (g L-1) during summer and over the year. .............................................59

5-8. Correlation between water use and soil moisture, shoot, and root volume................59















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure p

3-1. Nitrate (mg L-1) leaching between turf and ornamentals......................................31

3-2. Nitrate (mg L1) leaching from turf and ornamentals in six fertilizer cycles.............31

3-3. Nitrate leaching (mg L-1) from different fertilizers averaged from both turf and
o rn a m e n ta ls. .............................................................................................................3 2

5-1. Water consumption (L) in turf and ornamentals in 6 fertilizer cycles......................60

5-2. Change in soil moisture (%) in turf and ornamental pots in a period of 7 days
w without irrigation ................................................................................................. 6 1

5-3. Change in soil moisture (%) in turf and ornamenta pots in a period of 7 days
w without irrigation at the low er 20 cm .......................................... ............... 61

5-4. Change in soil moisture in turf and ornamental pots in a period of 7 days without
irrigation at the upper 20 cm ............................................................................. 62















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

EFFECT OF FERTILIZER SOURCE ON NITRATE LEACHING, PLANT WATER
CONSUMPTION, AND TURF AND ORNAMENTAL QUALITY

By

Subhrajit K. Saha

May 2004

Cochair: Laurie E. Trenholm
Cochair: J. Bryan Unruh
Major Department: Environmental Horticulture

Due to increasing concern over potential pollution of Florida's water resources

from fertilization of home lawns, statewide research is being conducted to verify different

aspects of turfgrass Best Management Practices. The objectives of this study were to

evaluate differences in plant quality, water consumption, and fertilizer leaching between

turfgrass and landscape plants in response to different fertilizer formulations.

The experiment was performed in a climate-controlled greenhouse at the G.C. Horn

Turfgrass Field Laboratory at the University of Florida in Gainesville. 'Floratam' St.

Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum [Walt.] Kuntze.) was compared to a mix of

common Florida ornamentals including Canna (Canna generalss, Nandina (Nandina

domestic ), Ligustrum (Ligustrum japonicum), and Allamanda (Allamanda cathartica).

All plants were grown in 300 L plastic pots in Arredondo fine sand. There were three

fertilizer treatments (quick release fertilizers (QRF) 16-4-8 and 15-0-15, and slow release









fertilizer (SRF) 8-4-12) applied at 4.9 g nitrogen (N) m-2 every other month. This

2-month period is referred to as a fertilizer cycle, of which there were six. Water was

applied as required and turfgrass pots were mowed weekly. Leachate was collected at 15,

30, and 60 d after fertilizer application; and was analyzed for nitrate (N03-N) content.

Experimental design was a randomized complete block design with four replications.

Visual quality ratings and time domain reflectometry (TDR) data were collected weekly.

Multispectral reflectance (MSR) readings were taken three times during each fertilizer

cycle. Results indicate that turf was more responsive than ornamentals to fertilizer

treatment. Best turfgrass responses were found with the quick release treatments during

the first 2 weeks after fertilizer application. Quick release fertilizers produced greater

biomass than the slow release fertilizer in turf and Allamanda. Average of all six fertilizer

cycles showed ornamentals consumed 38% more water than turf. Mean N03-N

concentration in leachates was significantly higher in ornamentals than in turf. These

results may have implications in future research on nutrition, irrigation, and

environmental management of an urban landscape.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Environmental Concern

Water is vital to the introduction and existence of life on earth. Total water

resources of the world include both surface and groundwater. About 97% of the world's

fresh water is groundwater (Hornsby 1999), which is the source of most of the world's

drinking water. As the earth's population grows, keeping sufficient amounts of

nonpolluted water available is a primary environmental concern.

In 1990, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) reported

that the average daily withdrawal of groundwater in Florida was over 17 billion L. This

supplied drinking water to 90% of the more than 14 million residents of Florida (Florida

Dept. of Environmental Protection 2003). Consequently, when groundwater becomes

contaminated, it directly affects human health.

Improper application of fertilizers and pest-management chemicals can cause

ground and surface water pollution from percolation and runoff of surplus nutrients and

chemicals. Among the nutrients, N03-N is considered to be one of the most important

water pollutants today (Petrovic 1990); and a high intake of nitrates is known to be

hazardous to human health (Hornsby 1999).

There are many instances of N03-N pollution in different parts of the world. In a

groundwater study at Kalpitiya peninsula of Sri Lanka, Liyanage et al. (2000) observed

that groundwater quality was negatively impacted by indiscriminate use of nitrogenous

fertilizer. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limit for N03-N in









drinking water is 10 mg L-1, which was sometimes exceeded by 100-150%. Liyanage et

al. (2000) observed that high N03-N in drinking water caused abnormal methemoglobin

concentration (>2%) in a high percentage of Sri Lankan infants. Nitrate is converted to

nitrite (N02-N), which combines with hemoglobin to form toxic methemoglobin. This

decreases the ability of blood to carry oxygen, causing the syndrome known as

methemoglobinemia, also called "blue baby syndrome" (The Nitrate Elimination Co., Inc.

2001).

Several valuable aquifers have been polluted by human activity in the

southeastern US (Hornsby 1999). This is mainly because most of Florida has a high water

table and sandy soils that render the groundwater vulnerable to contaminants. The

maximum amount of pollutant a water body can receive and still meet water quality

standards is calculated by Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL). The EPA issued

regulations in 1985 and 1992 that implement section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act

[Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act (EPA)]. Water can be treated to remove

contaminants, but considering the huge cost involved, the best protection is prevention

(Homsby 1999).

In residential areas, turfgrass is often considered to be a major contributor to non-

point source pollution and is alleged to provide a significant source ofNO3-N in ground

waters. Research has shown that fertilizer management is a factor in reducing non-point

source pollution (Gross et al. 1990), which has led to the development of Best

Management Practices (BMPs) (Trenholm et. al. 2002). Best Management Practices are

guidelines for implementation of environmentally sound agronomic practices to reduce

potential contamination of ground or surface water due to commercial lawn care









practices. These BMPs were developed by regulatory, academic, and industry

professionals and are intended to preserve Florida's water resources. While BMPs have

been developed for commercial and residential lawns and landscapes in Florida, there is a

lack of research data regarding many issues related to green industry horticultural

practices. Research is currently underway throughout the state to verify and refine these

BMPs.

Plant Materials

St. Augustinegrass

St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum [Walt] Kuntze) is one of the most

popular turfgrasses for home lawns in Florida. St. Augustinegrass is believed to be native

to the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean region and thus performs best in

well drained, sandy soils of urban areas of subtropical coastal Florida (Trenholm et al.

2000a). St. Augustinegrass is commonly used in Florida residential lawns (Erickson et al.

2001) and is popular in the gulf coast of Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas (Christians

1998). This coarse-textured, stoloniferous grass is from the Paniceae tribe (Turgeon

1991). It can be identified by its collar, which is broad, continuous, and smooth

(Christians 1998).

St. Augustinegrass prefers moderate cultural practices with a fertility requirement

ranging from 10 to 30 g N m-2yr-1 (Trenholm et al., 2002). In some regions, regular

irrigation is needed due to poor drought tolerance (Christians 1998). In contrast, Sifers

and Beard (1999) observed that 'Floratam' St. Augustinegrass survived 158 days of

summer drought while retaining excellent green color. Peacock and Dudeck (1984)

observed that stomata of St. Augustinegrass are not protected by a wax coating; and have

high evapotranspiration (ET) under both drought and non-drought conditions. In another









study, Kim and Beard (1988) noticed that 'Texas Common' St. Augustinegrass exhibited

a medium to low ET rate (5.8 mm d-1), which was attributed to low canopy resistance. It

also had a wider leaf blade, and medium vertical leaf extension rate. Compared to five

other warm season grasses (common bermudagrass, 'Tifway' hybrid bermudagrass,

centipedegrass, 'Meyer' zoysiagrass, and 'Emerald' zoysiagrass), Bowman et al. (2002)

found that 'Raleigh' St. Augustinegrass produced the highest amount of leaf tissue and

almost double the root mass compared to the other species. They concluded that the

higher root mass might increase the ability of St. Augustinegrass to absorb nitrate from

the soil.

St. Augustinegrass also is more shade tolerant than many other turfgrass species,

although there is a wide range of shade tolerance within the species (Trenholm 2002).

Peacock and Dudeck (1981) noticed that shade did not affect stolon length, total

chlorophyll content, or leaf weight in six cultivars of St. Augustinegrass.

Ornamental Plants

Canna generals L. 'Brandywine', Ligustrumjaponicum Thunb 'Lake Tresca',

Nandina domestic Thunb 'Harbor Dwarf 'and Allamanda cathartica L. are four

ornamental plants commonly grown in Florida. Little research has been done on these

plants when grown separately; and no study has evaluated them as part of a mixed

vegetation landscape. Irrigation requirements and fertility regimes of these plants are not

well understood either.

Ligustrumjaponicum, or Japanese privet, belongs to the Oleaceae family (Gilman

and Watson 1993). This evergreen shrub has simple leaves that are ovate to elliptic in

shape, flowers that are fragrant with four united white petals, and fruits that are blue-

black drupe-like berries (Midcap et al. 1991). Flowering seasons are late winter through









early spring, mid spring, and late spring through early summer. This plant can achieve

heights of 1.2 to 2.4 meters (StandardOut, Inc. 2003). Ligustrumjaponocum is tolerant of

the diverse soils of Florida. Gilman and Yeager (1990) noticed that L. japonocum

receiving soluble granular fertilizers were larger than control plants and plants receiving

30 g N m2 yrl were larger than the plants receiving 15 g N m-2yr1. They observed no

growth difference due to fertilizer types. Similarly, Stratton et al. (2001) noticed that N

content in plant and root mass of Ligustrum ibolium did not differ with N source.

Allamanda cathartica, or golden trumpet, belongs to the Apocynaceae family

(Black 2002). This evergreen, vine-like shrub has simple, elliptic-oblong leaves that are

generally 10 tol5 cm long (Black 2002). It flowers in summer, producing funnel-shaped

flowers with bright yellow rounded petals. It exudes milky sap when any part of the plant

is broken (Haynes et al. 2001). It can be propagated from cuttings and seed and has

medicinal values, but all parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested (StandardOut, Inc.

2003). No research on fertility regimes of Allamanda has been documented.

Nandina domestic or dwarf nandina belongs to the Berberidaceae family

(StandardOut, Inc. 2003). This evergreen to semi-deciduous shrub has red fall colors with

compound and spirally arranged leaves. It has six petaled white flowers, which are born

in panicles (Black 2002). Flowering time is late spring to early summer. Height can

reach 1.2 tol.8 meters (StandardOut, Inc. 2003). No comparative fertility study of

Nandina has been documented.

Canna generals belongs to the Cannaceae family (StandardOut, Inc. 2003). This

perennial plant flowers throughout the year in its native habitat. In tropical and

subtropical areas, height of cannas range from 75 cm to 300 cm, while in temperate









regions, cannas rarely exceed 120 to 180 cm height (Tjia and Black 1991). Simple leaves

are alternate to spirally arranged and are ovate to elliptic-lanceolate in shape (Black

2002). The leaves may be pure green, greenish blue, coppery to purplish, ruby, or green

with white stripes (Tjia and Black 1991). Flower colors are magenta, red, scarlet, orange,

red-orange, gold, or bright yellow. Canna may be propagated by rhizomes or seed

(StandardOut, Inc. 2003).

Multispectral Reflectance (MSR) Measurement

To assess the growth or compare treatment responses, qualitative responses are

commonly used in turfgrass research, where quality might be expressed by visual and

functional characteristics (Turgeon 1991). These are often described as the combination

of shoot density, color, and growth habit (Beard, 1973). Multispectral radiometry

provides a reliable method for qualitative comparison of turfgrass at various wavelengths

(Trenholm et al. 1999). It has been shown to discriminate between stressed and non-

stressed vegetation (Carter 1993; Carter and Miller 1994). Plants acquire energy for

physiological activities by absorbing sunlight. Light is either reflected or absorbed by the

plant, based largely on the condition of the leaf surfaces and overall health of the plant.

Multispectral radiometry measures the reflected light and can be used to infer crop

condition or fertility status. Measurements at the visible and near infrared (NIR) regions

of the spectrum can be useful for determining plant response to treatments. Multispectral

reflectance measurements can detect changes in leaf chlorophyll concentration (Carter

1993; Carter and Miller 1994; Trenholm et al. 2000b). Use of spectral reflectance

measurements are increasing in turfgrass research.









Water

Water is the most important constituent of plant cells and controls plant growth

and development (Salisbury and Ross 1999; Taiz and Zeigler 2002). Loss of water

through evaporation from soil and transpiration from the plant represents the total amount

of water lost, which is known as evapotranspitration (ET) (Turgeon 1991).

Evapotranspiration is important in irrigation management because crop yield is often

directly related to the amount of water lost through ET during the cropping season

(Bronson et al. 2001).Total water use (TWU) is the sum of(ET) and the water trapped in

plant cells for growth and development, which is an insignificant amount. The rate of ET

depends on different factors. Environmental influences include humidity (Nonami and

Boyer 1990), wind speed and soil moisture (Beard 2002). Morphological factors include

pubescence and degree of cuticular wax (Peacock and Dudeck 1984).

Total water use can be correlated to soil moisture content. In a controlled

environment, plants grown in containers reflect changes in soil moisture content with

changes in water uptake and ET. Water requirements vary between crops and turfgrass

species. It is recommended that turf be irrigated on an "as needed basis" (Trenholm et. al.

2003). The frequency with which water is needed will vary based on season, temperature,

soil type, grass species, and presence of shade. Difference in root anatomy (Klepper

1990) is one of the factors that require greater frequency of irrigation in turf than in

shrubs.

The relationship between nitrogen and water is also very important. Nitrogen rate

influenced ET in Kentucky bluegrass (Ebdon et al. 1999), however the effects of N

source on ET are not well understood. Feldhake et al. (1983, 1984) observed that

Kentucky bluegrass grown under a deficient N level had lower ET. Similarly, ET









increased with increasing N levels in a mixed sward of orchardgrass, creeping red fescue,

and bromegrass (Krogman 1967). Heckathorn et al. (1997) reported that drought stress

decreased leaf nitrogen content, which in turn reduced photosynthetic capacity in prairie

grasses.

Nitrogen

Nitrogen is one of the main elemental constituents of plant cells (Salisbury and

Ross 1999).To meet commercial yield requirements, nitrogen (N) is supplied in the form

of fertilizers. Among all essential nutrients supplied by fertilizer, N is required in the

greatest quantity (Bowman et al. 2002) and thus is applied to crops in the largest quantity

(Snyder et al. 1984). Nitrogen is available to plants in different forms including nitrate

(NO3) and ammonium (NH4) (Bowman et al. 2002). The fate of N fertilizers is important

for both turf management and environmental quality. While applied fertilizers nourish the

plant, improper or excess application of nitrogenous fertilizer can result in leaching of

nitrate. Leaching of nutrients is both a loss to crops and a threat to ground water quality

(Hornsby 1999; Gross et al.1990).

Nitrate is considered one of the most damaging ground water contaminants (Pye

et al. 1983). In residential areas with a large percentage of turfgrass, turf fertilization has

been proposed as a significant contributor of nitrates to ground water (Flipse et al. 1984).

However, in contrast, research has shown that properly managed and fertilized turf is not

a significant source of groundwater contamination (Erickson et al. 2001; Gross et al.

1990; Snyder et al. 1984). Nutrient leaching from turf is nominal due to the thick densely

matted root and shoot system (Gross et al. 1990).

Intensive research has been done on turf, while little work has been done on other

landscape plants to determine fertility regime, water use, and the potential for









environmental impact. The traditional Florida landscape is comprised of both turf and

ornamentals (Knox 1991). Due to this coexistence, all plants species often receive similar

fertilization and irrigation, although no studies have been conducted to determine the

effects of turf fertilizer on ornamental plants or the effects of ornamental fertilizers on

turfgrass.

In a study between St. Augustinegrass and a mixed landscape, Erickson et al.

(2001) observed that significantly greater amounts of nitrate were leached from

ornamentals (1.46 mg L1) than from turf (<0.2 mg L1) when water soluble N was

applied. More than 30% of the fertilizer N was leached from the ornamentals and < 2%

from turf. However, little or no information is available on the fate of fertilizer sources

applied to both turf and ornamentals. The objectives of this study were a) to evaluate

responses of turfgrass and ornamentals to fertilizer sources, b) to evaluate the potential

for environmental impairment resulting from fertilizer sources, and c) to compare water

use in turf and ornamentals in response to fertilizer sources.














CHAPTER 2
MATERIALS AND METHODS

The experiment was performed in a climate-controlled greenhouse at the G.C.

Horn Memorial Turfgrass Field Laboratory at the University of Florida in Gainesville. St.

Augustinegrass var. Floratam (Stenotaphrum secundatum [Walt.]Kuntze) and a

combination of ornamentals that included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine,

Ligustrumjaponicum Thunb var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb var. Harbor

Dwarf and Allamanda cathartica L. were established in large plastic pots in May 2002.

The pots measured 0.8 m diameter by 0.4 m tall with a volume of 300 L. Mature St.

Augustinegrass sod was harvested from the research field and landscape plants grown in

2.8 L containers were acquired from a retail nursery.

Pots were placed on reinforced metal tables in the greenhouse. Five cm of gravel

was placed at the bottom of the pots and was covered with a mesh cloth to prevent soil

migration into the gravel layer. Pots were then filled with Arredondo fine sand (pH 6.5)

(loamy, siliceous, hypothermic, Grossarenic Paleudalt). Arredondo fine sand has high P

content; Mehlich I extracted P content in this media is 200 ppm. Plants were allowed to

establish for a 2-month period before fertilizer treatments started.

There were three fertilizer treatments: quick release fertilizer (QRF) 16-4-8

(ammonium sulfate, concentrated superphosphate, and potassium chloride), QRF 15-0-15

(ammonium sulfate and potassium chloride), and a slow release fertilizer (SRF) 8-4-12

(polymer coated sulfur coated urea, ammonium phosphate, and polymer coated potassium

sulfate). Fertilizer treatments were applied six times at 2-month intervals (17 July, 19









September, 20 November 2002, 17 January, 18 March, and 21 May 2003) at a rate of

4.9 g N m2 to both turf and ornamentals and each of these 2-month periods was called

one fertilizer cycle.

Leachate was collected three times during each fertilizer cycle, at 2, 4, and 8

weeks after the fertilizer application. To facilitate leachate collection, a hole was drilled

into one side of the pot. A 13 mm diameter polyethylene tube was attached to the pot to

allow leachate to drain into a dark 19 L plastic bucket. Leachate was filtered through 11

cm diameter Whatman qualitative filter papers (Fisher Scientific International) and

collected in 20 ml aliquots per pot. Samples were acidified with sulfuric acid (conc.

96.3%) to lower pH and frozen. Samples were submitted to the Analytical Research

Laboratory (ARL) in Gainesville for N03-N analysis. Throughout the study the volume

of total leachate collected was measured. Results are presented based on both nutrient

concentration in leached water (mg L1) and total nutrient content (TNC) leached (mg).

Total nutrient content (TNC) was calculated by multiplying nutrient concentration by the

corresponding leachate volume.

TNC= Nutrient concentration x Leached water volume (Eq. 2-1)

Irrigation was applied uniformly to both turf and ornamentals as needed over the course

of the year. Irrigation schedules varied with season, but the rate of irrigation was the

same for both turf and ornamentals (Table 5-1). Total Water Use values were derived

from equation 2-2.

Total Water Use (TWU) = WF+ (IWi+WUi) + (IW2+WU2) + (IW3+WU3)

(Eq. 2-2)

WF = water applied with fertilizer, which was 4L in all fertilizer cycles.
IW1 = Water applied before first leaching event, excluding WF









IW2 = Water applied between first and second leaching event
IW3 = Water applied between second and third leaching event
WUn= WAn-WLn, n = leaching event number (n=l, 2, 3)
WAn = water applied to a pot on a leaching event
WLn = water leached from a pot on a leaching event

In this study, Water use efficiency (WUE) was measured by per unit volume of

root mass WUER, shoot mass WUEs, and total of root and shoot mass WUET. Data were

analyzed to find the overall water use efficiency over the year and during fertilizer cycle

six (May-July).

Turf visual quality ratings were taken weekly on a scale of 1 to 9, with 9 being

best, 1 being worst and 6 being acceptable. Multispectral reflectance (MSR) readings

were taken three times during each fertilizer cycle; at weeks 1-2, 3-5, and 7-8, using a

Cropscan model MSR 16R (CROPSCAN, Inc., Rochester, MN). Reflectance is measured

at specific wave lengths: 450, 550, 660, 694, 710, 760, 835, and 930 nm. Some important

MSR indexes are normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), measured as (R930-

R660)/( R930+R660) and Stress-1, measured as R710/R760.

Time domain reflectometry (TDR) (IMKO Micromodultechnik GmbH; Ettlingen,

Germany) was used weekly to measure soil moisture content at different soil levels. Five

cm diameter plastic tubes were inserted vertically in the center of the pots allowing the

TDR probe to be inserted to various depths. When not in use, tubes were capped to avoid

entrance of water. During the last fertilizer cycle, no water was applied for a period of

seven days to measure the change of soil moisture in both turf and ornamental pots.

To determine thatch accumulation, three 25.5 cm2 cores were collected from each

turf pot during the first week of May. Shoots and roots were removed from the collected

plugs, dried for 48 hours at 720 C, and weighed to measure the thatch. Dried thatch was









ashed in a muffle furnace (4500 C for 5 hours) and organic material weight was

determined.

Recently matured leaf tissue samples were collected in July and November 2002,

and March and July 2003. Samples were dried, ground, and analyzed for nutrient

concentration (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu and Mn). Analysis of N was done by total

Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) procedure and the remaining elements were analyzed with

Spectro Ciros ICP (SPECTRO Analytical Instruments GMBH & Co. KG, Kleve,

Germany). After 12 months of fertilizer treatments, shoots and roots from each pot were

harvested and dried for 24 hours at 750 C. Roots of ornamental plants were excavated and

washed, but were not separated by plant species due to the intermingling of roots.

Turf was mowed every week with scissors to maintain a height of 9 cm and

clippings were removed. During the summer, turf leaf blade length was measured prior to

mowing. Cypress mulch was applied to the soil surface to a depth of 2.5 cm. A

-2
micronutrient blend (STEP, The Scotts Company) was applied at a rate of 6.7 g m-2

during September 2002 to both turf and ornamentals. To control a minor infestation of

armyworm (Spodoptera spp.) in turf, 8% Bifenthrin was applied at a rate of 4g L1.

Ligustrum were treated with 2% insecticidal oil during November to control scale

(Hemiberlesia lataniae) infestation. Allamanda was pruned in October to a height of 45

cm and dried shoot weight was collected. Greenhouse temperature was monitored using a

Hobo temperature data logger (Onset Computer Corp; Bourne, MA) (Table 5-2) and light

intensity at different canopy levels was measured weekly with Li-COR 250 (LI-COR,

Inc. Lincoln, NE).






14


Experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replications.

Data were analyzed with the SAS analytical program to determine treatment differences

at the 0.05 significance level and means were separated with Fisher's LSD and Waller-

Duncan test (SAS institute, Inc. 2003). Websites cited in this thesis were last verified by

the author on Novemberl7, 2003.














CHAPTER 3
EFFECT OF FERTILIZER SOURCE ON NITRATE LEACHING AND ST.
AUGUSTINEGRASS TURF QUALITY

Introduction

St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum [Walt.]Kuntze) is one of the most

popular turfgrasses for home lawns in Florida. This grass is commonly used in Florida

residential lawns (Erickson et al. 2001) and is popular on the gulf coast of Mississippi,

Louisiana, and Texas (Christians 1998). St. Augustinegrass is believed to be native to the

coast of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean region and thus performs well in

sandy, well-drained Florida soils (Trenholm et al. 2000a). Due to its poor cold tolerance

(Turgeon 1991) St. Augustinegrass is not used in the northern U.S. (Christians 1998).

This coarse textured, stoloniferous grass is from the Paniceae tribe (Turgeon

1991) and can be identified by its collar, which is broad, continuous, and smooth

(Christians 1998). St. Augustinegrass is more shade tolerant than many other warm

season turfgrass species, although there is a wide range of shade tolerance within the

species (Trenholm et al. 2002). Peacock and Dudeck (1981) noticed shade did not affect

the length of stolons, total chlorophyll content, nor leaf weight in six cultivars of St.

Augustinegrass.

To assess the growth, or to compare treatment responses, qualitative responses are

commonly used in turfgrass research, where quality might be expressed by visual and

functional characteristics (Turgeon 1991). These are often described as the combination









of shoot density, color, and growth habit (Beard 1973). Multispectral radiometry (MSR)

may be used to quantify these subjective values and provides a reliable method for

comparison of turf response to treatments (Trenholm et al. 1999). Plants use varying

amount of light at different wavelengths for physiological processes. Some of the light is

assimilated for those use, while some is reflected off the leaf surface. Measurement of the

amount of light reflected at various wavelengths can be correlated with crop health,

chlorophyll content, fertility, and stress (Carter 1993; Carter and Miller 1994; Trenholm

et al. 2000b).

When irrigating St. Augestinegrass, it is recommended that water be applied on an

"as needed basis" (Trenholm et al. 2003). In some regions, St. Augestinegrass requires

regular irrigation because of its poor drought tolerance (Christians 1998). However, in a

drought resistance study, Sifers and Beard (1999) observed that 'Floratam' St.

Augustinegrass survived 158 days of summer drought and retained excellent green color.

Peacock and Dudeck (1984) observed that stomata of St. Augustinegrass are not

protected by a wax coating and therefore have high ET under both drought and non-

drought conditions. In another study, Kim and Beard (1988) noted that St.

Augustinegrass exhibited a medium to low ET rate of 5.8 mm d-1, which was attributed to

low canopy resistance, wider leaf blades, and moderate vertical leaf extension rate.

St. Augustinegrass prefers moderate cultural practices (Cisar et al. 1992) with a

fertility requirement of 10 to 30 g N m2 yr1 (Trenholm et al., 2002). University of Florida

recommendations for St. Augustinegrass fertilization vary, depending on location in the

state. In northern Florida, 10-20 g N m-2 yr is recommended, while in central and south









Florida 10-25 g N m-2 yr-1 and 20-30 g N m-2y-1, respectively, are recommended

(Trenholm et al. 2002).

In residential areas, turfgrass is often cited as a major contributor to non-point

source pollution, which may lead to elevated levels of NO3-N in ground waters. Nitrate

has the potential to contaminate groundwater (Petrovic 1990) if not carefully applied, and

its application to lawns has led to controversy regarding turfgrass use. While some claim

that turf use should be minimized to avoid pollution, research has shown that properly

applied fertilizer will be assimilated by the grass (Snyder et al. 1984; Erickson et al.

2001) and that proper fertilizer management is a factor in reducing non-point source

pollution (Gross et al. 1990). Proper fertilizer application includes using appropriate

rates, optimal timing, and applying the correct amount of water after fertilizing.

Research has shown that the application of controlled release fertilizers to turf

reduces fertilizer leaching (Killian et al. 1966). Concentration of N03-N in leachate from

turfgrass was found to be dependent on N source, with higher amounts in quick release

products. Brown et al.(1982) observed nitrate losses of 8.6 to 21.9% in golf course greens

(bermudagrass, perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, and creeping

bentgrass) fertilized with ammonium nitrate .When slow release sources such as

isobutylidene diurea (IBDU) and ureaformaldehyde (UF) were used, only 0.2 to 1.6%

nitrate was leached. Sulfur coated urea (SCU) is often found in turf fertilizers and it is

less likely to leach (Allen 1971). The mechanism of N release from SCU is by water

penetration through micropores and imperfections in the fertilizer coating; release rate is

therefore directly affected by the coating thickness and quality (Sartain 2001).









The traditional Florida landscape is comprised of both turf and ornamentals

(Knox 1991). Due to this coexistence, all plants species often receive similar fertilization

and irrigation. While research has been done on the fertility of turf and its effect on

environmental quality, little information is available on the effects of turf fertilizer

formulations on ornamental plants or the effects of ornamental fertilizer formulations on

turfgrass. In a nutrient management study comparing St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum

secundatum [Walt.] Kuntze) and a mixed landscape planting, Erickson et al. (2001)

observed that a greater amount of NO3-N was leached from ornamentals (1.46 mg L-1) in

comparison to turf (<0.2 mg L-1). More than 30% of the applied N was leached from the

ornamentals and less than 2% from the turfgrass.

The Florida Green Industries Best Management Practices (BMPs) were developed

in 2002, along with an outreach program, to provide education on fertilizer management

to the landscape maintenance industries of Florida. Due to lack of information regarding

effects of fertilizer source on turf vs. ornamentals, the objectives of this study were a) to

evaluate responses of turfgrass and ornamentals to fertilizer sources and b) to evaluate the

potential for environmental impairment resulting from fertilizer sources.

Materials and Methods

The experiment was performed in a climate-controlled greenhouse at the G.C.

Horn Memorial Turfgrass Field Laboratory at the University of Florida in Gainesville. St.

Augustinegrass var. Floratam (Stenotaphrum secundatum [Walt.]Kuntze) and a

combination of ornamentals that included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine,

Ligustrumjaponicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor

Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. were established in large plastic pots in May 2002.

The pots measured 0.8 m diameter by 0.4 m tall with a volume of 300 L. Mature St.









Augustinegrass sod was harvested from the research field of the G.C. Horn Memorial

Turfgrass Field Laboratory and landscape plants grown in 2.8 L containers were acquired

from a retail nursery.

Pots were placed on reinforced metal tables in the greenhouse. Five cm of gravel

was placed at the bottom of the pots, and a mesh cloth was placed over the gravel to

retain the media. Pots were then filled with Arredondo fine sand (loamy, siliceous,

hypothermic, Grossarenic Paleudalt). Plants were allowed to establish for a 2-month

period before treatments began.

There were three fertilizer treatments: quick release fertilizer (QRF) 16-4-8

(ammonium sulfate, concentrated superphosphate, and potassium chloride), QRF 15-0-15

(ammonium sulfate and potassium chloride), and a slow release fertilizer (SRF) 8-4-12

(polymer coated sulfur coated urea, ammonium phosphate, and polymer coated potassium

sulfate). Fertilizer treatments were applied six times at 2-month intervals (17 July, 19

September, 20 November 2002, 17 January, 18 March and 21May 2003) at a rate of 4.9 g

-2
N m2 to both turf and ornamentals and each of these 2-month periods is considered one

fertilizer cycle.

Leachate was collected three times during each fertilizer cycle, at 2, 4, and 8

weeks following the fertilizer application. To facilitate leachate collection, a hole was

drilled into one side of the pot. A 13 mm diameter polyethylene tube was attached to the

pot to allow leachate to drain into a dark 19 L plastic bucket. Leachate was filtered

through 11 cm diameter Whatman qualitative filter papers (Fisher Scientific

International) and collected in 20 ml aliquots per pot. Samples were acidified with

sulfuric acid (conc. 96.3%) to lower pH and frozen. Samples were submitted to the









Analytical Research Laboratory (ARL) in Gainesville for N03-N analysis. Throughout

the study the volume of total leachate collected was measured. Results are presented

based on both nutrient concentration in leached water (mg L1) and total nutrient content

(TNC) leached (mg) over the fertilizer cycle. Total nutrient content (TNC) was calculated

by multiplying nutrient concentration with the corresponding leachate volume.

TNC= Nutrient concentration x Leached water volume (Eq. 2-1)

Irrigation was applied uniformly to both turf and ornamentals as needed over the course

of the year.

Turf visual quality ratings were taken weekly on a scale of 1 to 9, with 9 being

best, 1 being worst and 6 being acceptable turf quality. Multispectral reflectance (MSR)

readings were taken three times during each fertilizer cycle; at weeks 1-2,3-5, and 7-8,

using a Cropscan model MSR 16R (CROPSCAN, Inc., Rochester, MN). Reflectance was

measured at specific wave lengths: 450, 550, 660, 694, 710, 760, 835, and 930 nm. Some

important MSR indices are normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), measured as

(R930-R660)/( R930+R660) and Stress-1, measured as R710/R760.

Time domain reflectometry (TDR) (IMKO Micromodultechnik GmbH; Ettlingen,

Germany) was used weekly to measure soil moisture content at different soil levels. Five

cm diameter plastic tubes were inserted vertically in the center of the pots allowing the

TDR probe to be inserted to various depths. When not in use, tubes were capped to avoid

entrance of water. During the last fertilizer cycle, no water was applied for a period of

seven days to measure the change of soil moisture in both turf and ornamentals.

To determine thatch accumulation, three 25.5 cm2 cores were collected from each

turf pot during the first week of May. Shoots and roots were removed from the collected









plugs, dried for 48 hours at 720 C, and weighed to measure the thatch. Dried thatch was

ashed in a muffle furnace (4500 C for 5 hours) and organic material weight was

determined.

Recently matured leaf tissue samples were collected in July and November 2002,

and March and July 2003. Samples were dried, ground, and analyzed for nutrient

concentration (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu and Mn). Analysis of N was done by total

Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) procedure and the remaining elements were analyzed with

Spectro Ciros ICP (SPECTRO Analytical Instruments GMBH & Co. KG, Kleve,

Germany). After 12 months of fertilizer treatments, shoots and roots from each pot were

harvested and dried for 24 hours at 750 C. Roots of ornamental plants were excavated and

washed but were not separated by plant species due to the intermingling of roots.

Turf was mowed every week with scissors to maintain a height of 9 cm and

clippings were removed. During the summer, turf leaf blade length was measured prior to

mowing. Cypress mulch was applied to ornamentals at a thickness of 2.5 cm. A

-2
micronutrient blend (STEP, The Scotts Company) was applied at a rate of 6.7 g m-2

during September 2002 to both turf and ornamentals. To control a minor infestation of

armyworm (Spodoptera spp.) in turf, 8% Bifenthrin was applied at a rate of 4g L1.

Ligustrum were treated with a 2% insecticidal oil during November to control scale

(Hemiberlesia lataniae) infestation. Greenhouse temperature was monitored using a

Hobo temperature data logger (Onset Computer Corp; Bourne, MA) (Table 3-2) and light

intensity at different canopy levels was measured weekly with Li-COR 250 (LI-COR,

Inc. Lincoln, NE).









Experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replications.

Data were analyzed with the SAS analytical program to determine treatment differences

at the 0.05 significance level and means were separated with Fisher's LSD and Waller-

Duncan (SAS institute, Inc. 2003). Websites cited in this thesis were last verified by the

author on Novemberl7, 2003.

Results and Discussion

Multispectral Reflectance

Multispectral reflectance (MSR) values in the first two week period were

optimized with QRF treatments (Table 3-1). At week 3-5, wavelengths 450 and 710 nm

and Stress-1 index had better responses from QRF 15-0-15 than from SRF 8-4-12.

The results observed during the first two weeks are likely due to differences in the

rate of N release. Both quick release fertilizers released N faster than SRF, resulting in

better turf vigor and quality in the first two weeks following application. After two

weeks, the rate of N release from QRFs presumably decreased and no differences were

found during weeks 3-5 at wavelengths 550, 660, and 694 nm (Table 3-1). No differences

in MSR values were noted during the last two weeks of the fertilizer cycle (data not

shown). The availability of N has an impact on shoot growth (Turgeon 1991) and total

chlorophyll content, can be detected by MSR (Carter 1993; Carter and Miller 1994;

Trenholm et al. 2000a).

Visual Quality, Color, and Density

Similar to the MSR data, higher visual quality scores in the first two weeks

following fertilizer applications were obtained with QRF treatments (Table 3-2). At week

3, QRF 15-0-15 treated turf had better quality than 8-4-12 treated turf, but no differences

were found in color and density due to different fertilizer formulations. Beyond three









weeks after fertilizer application, no differences in color, quality, and density were noted

(data not shown). Again, faster initial release of N from the QRFs resulted in better turf

quality, color, and density and a gradual decrease in N release reduced turf quality, color,

and density in the later part of the fertilizer cycle. Similar results were noticed by

Trenholm et al. (2001), who observed that N influenced visual quality and color in two

ecotypes of seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum Swartz).

Thatch Accumulation

Measurement of thatch weight showed differences due to fertilizer treatments

(Table 3-3). Thatch accumulation was 38% and 16% greater for 15-0-15 and 16-4-8,

respectively, than SRF 8-4-12. This is probably due to the difference in N release rate.

Faster release of N from QRFs has been associated with increased thatch accumulation in

bermudagrass (Sartain 1985). Since equal amounts of N were supplied by both fertilizers,

perhaps there was an individual or cumulative effect of P and K on thatch accumulation.

In previous studies, Sartain (1992) observed a reduction in growth and uptake of N by

bermudagrass during the warm season growth period when additional P was added. This

was attributed to the competition of H2PO4 and N03-N uptake with the addition of P,

resulting in less uptake of N and less growth. Since 16-4-8 contains P and 15-0-15 does

not, it might be inferred that P might has a competiitve influence on thatch accumulation.

Shoot and Root Growth

Greater shoot mass (24%) was observed in QRF treated turfgrass compared to

SRF (Table 3-3), due to the faster rate of N release from the QRFs. In annual ryegrass

(Lolium multifloram Lam) plant biomass increased with N concentration in nutrient

solutions. Sagi et al.(1997). No differences were found in root mass due to fertilizer

treatments (Table 3-3).









Nitrate Leaching by Concentration (mg L-1)

Nitrate concentration in leached water was higher in ornamentals than in turf

(Figure 3-1; Figure 3-2; Table 3-4). Differences were found on day 15 and day 60 and

with the average of all three leachate events (Figure 3-1).

16-4-8 QRF leached less N03-N from turf than from ornamentals. Differences

were noticed on day 15, day 60 and with the average of all three leachate events (Table 3-

4). There were no differences in leaching between plant type with 8-4-12 and 15-0-15

treatments. Differences in N03-N leaching were found between turf and ornamentals in

fertilizer cycle 2 (Sep-Nov), cycle 4 (Jan-Mar) and cycle 5 (Mar-May) and with the

average of all three cycles (Figure 3-2). In all of these cases, nitrate concentration in the

leachate from turf was lower than from ornamentals (Figure3-2). In a study in south

Florida, Erickson et al. (2001) observed that a greater amount of N03-N was leached

from ornamentals (1.46mg L-1) in comparison to turf (<0.2 mg L-1). More than 30% of

the applied N was leached from the ornamentals and < 2% from the turfgrass.

Averaged over both plant treatments, the most N03-N was leached from QRF 16-

4-8 and the least from 8-4-12 (P-value 0.07), (Figure 3-3). This is most likely due to the

slow release nature of 8-4-12, which allowed plants to take up nutrients over a longer

period of time resulting less leaching. Turf treated with quick release 16-4-8 produced

higher N03-N concentration than 15-0-15. In previous studies, Sartain (1992) observed a

reduction in uptake of N by bermudagrass during the warm season growth period when

additional P was added, which was explained by the competition of H2PO4 and N03-N

for uptake. Addition of P resulted in less uptake of N, which could account for

differences seen here between QRF treatments.









Nitrate Leaching by Volume (mg)

Average N03-N leaching results showed that turf leached 2.9 mg and ornamentals

leached 4.3 mg in a fertilizer cycle. Turf leached 32% less N03-N than ornamentals and

was most likely due to the differences in root anatomy between turfgrass and ornamentals

(Klepper 1990). The dense, intermingled, fibrous root network of turf was more efficient

in taking up the nutrients than the ornamentals.

There were differences between plant treatments over time for total N03-N

leached from QRF 16-4-8 (Table 3-5). Turf leached less on day 15 and when averaged

over all leaching events. There were no differences over time in the other two fertilizer

treatments.

Both by concentration and by total volume, turf leached less N03-N than

ornamentals. This may be due to the intermingled fibrous, root network found in turf

(Turgeon 1991), which filters nutrients more effectively than ornamentals. When treated

with QRF 16-4-8, ornamentals leached more N03-N than turf, but no differences were

found with QRF 15-0-15 and SRF 8-4-12.This was probably due to the difference in rate

of N release between fertilizers and difference in root anatomy between plant types. Turf

roots were more efficient in taking up the N03-N as it was released at faster rate from the

applied 16-4-8.

Leaf Tissue Nutrient

Turf leaf tissue nutrient analysis showed no differences in total Kjeldahl nitrogen

(TKN) between different fertilizer treatments (Table 3-6). This was probably due to the

application of nitrogen at the same rates. Similar results were also found for all other

nutrients, none of them showed significant difference due to fertilizer treatments (Table

3-6).









Conclusions

This research provides information about the effect of two quick release turf

fertilizers and one slow release palm fertilizer on turf and their effects on environmental

quality. Multispectral reflectance and visual quality results showed that QRFs resulted in

better quality turf for the first two weeks following fertilizer application. Less biomass

production (thatch and shoot weight) was observed in SRF treated turf. No difference was

noticed in leaf nutrient contents due to fertilizer treatments. Turf leached less NO3-N than

ornamentals. 16-4-8 QRF leached more nitrate than SRF 8-4-12. Overall results indicate

that both QRFs 15-0-15 produced better plant quality, while 15-0-15 and SRF 8-4-12 had

a reduction in nitrate leachate.

This enclosed container research provides preliminary data upon which in situ

research may be modeled. Results obtained in this research may vary in an actual

landscape setting due to root growth and branching habits, differences in ET rate in an

open environment, and other variables that would be present in an uncontrolled

environment. Further research is required to verify how nutrient release rate affects turf

and ornamental quality and nitrate leaching in an urban landscape.












Table 3-1. Multis ectral reflectance values in turfgrass throughout the fertilizer cycle.
Weeks WV 450 550 660 694 710 NDVI Stress-1
0-2 (nm)
16-4-8 3.71 az 7.80 a 3.71 a 4.99 a 9.63 a 0.86 a 0.24 a
(QRF)
Fertili- 15-0-15 3.76 a 7.83 a 3.82 a 5.07 a 9.71 a 0.86 a 0.24 a
zer (QRF)
8-4-12 5.18 b 10.33 b 6.06 b 7.54 b 13.51 b 0.79 b 0.33 b
(SRF)
Anova P-value 0.0002 0.0018 <0.0001 <0.0001 <0.0004 <0.0001 <0.0001

CV 30.7 31.1 35.4 33.4 33.5 4.9 19.4

Weeks 15-0-15 4.04 a 7.34 a 4.25 a 5.79 a 8.67 a 0.837 a 0.27 a
3-5 (QRF)
16-4-8 4.80 ab 8.79 a 4.82 a 6.11 a 11.15 ab 0.832 a 0.29 ab
Fertili- (QRF)
zer 8-4-12 6.42 b 9.89 a 6.34 a 7.58 a 12.59 b 0.774 a 0.37 b
(SRF)
Anova P-value 0.08 NS NS NS 0.06 NS 0.03

CV 39.7 NS NS NS 29 NS 22.6

z Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. Means are averaged over 6 fertilizer
cycles.









Table 3-2. Turfgrass visual quality in response to fertilizer sources.
Weeks Fertilizer Quality Color Density
15-0-15 (QRF) 7.1 az 7.2 a 7.1 a
Week 1 16-4-8 (QRF) 7.0 a 7.1 a 7.0 a
8-4-12 (SRF) 6.6 b 6.6 b 6.6 b
P-value <0.0001 0.005 0.0002
Anova CV 0.96 2.5 0.93
15-0-15 (QRF) 7.5 a 7.5 a 7.4 a
Week 2 16-4-8 (QRF) 7.4 a 7.4 a 7.3 a
8-4-12 (SRF) 7.0 b 7.0 b 7.0 b
P-value 0.002 <0.0001 0.0014
Anova CV 1.4 0.8 1.2
15-0-15 (QRF) 7.0 a 7.0 a 6.9 a
Week 3 16-4-8 (QRF) 6.9 ab 6.9 a 6.8 a
8-4-12 (SRF) 6.7 b 6.7 a 6.7 a
P-value 0.03 0.12 0.12
Anova CV 1.68 1.98 1.74
z Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability
level. Means are averaged over 6 fertilizer cycles.

Table 3-3. Turf thatch, shoot and root weight in response to fertilizer treatments.
Fertilizer Mean thatch dry Mean shoot dry Mean root dry
weight weight weight
(g cm-2)(g) (g)
15-0-15 0.150 az 1082.46 a 161.83 a
(QRF)
16-4-8 (QRF) 0.126 b 1069.96 a 168.25 a
8-4-12 (SRF) 0.108 c 867.59 b 140.68 a
Anova P=0.0011 P 0.048 NS
CV 6.44 10.48 NS
z Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability
level.









Table 3-4. Nitrate leaching (mg L-1) from turf and ornamentals in response to fertilizer
treatments


ornamentals included Canna generaiis L. var. lrandywine, Ligustrum japonicum
Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda
cathartica L.
SMeans followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability
level. P> 0.05 is non significant (NS). Means are averaged over six fertilizer cycles.


Fertilizer Plant Day 15 Day 30 Day 60 Average

16-4-8 Turf 0.16 by 0.14 a 0.11 b 0.14 b

(QRF) Ornamentals 0.66 a 0.60 a 0.28 a 0.52 a

P-value 0.01 NS 0.006 0.002

Anova CV 172.2 NS 104.4 121.5

15-0-15 Turf 0.30 a 0.19 a 0.11 a 0.21 a

(QRF) Ornamentals 0.40 a 0.24 a 0.28 a 0.26 a

P-value NS NS NS NS

8-4-12 Turf 0.13 a 0.10 a 0.10 a 0.11 a

(QRF) Ornamentals 0.28 a 0.23 a 0.17 a 0.23 a

P-value NS NS NS NS









Table 3-5. Nitrate leaching (mg) from turf and ornamentals in response to fertilizer
treatments.
Fertilizer Plant Day 15 Day 30 Day 60 Total

16-4-8 Turf 1.10 by 0.74 a 0.76 a 2.57 b

(QRF) Ornamentals 2.67 a 1.95 a 1.00 a 5.6 a

P-value 0.009 NS NS 0.01

Anova CV 108.9 NS NS 96.3

15-0-15 Turf 2.20 a 0.90a 0.87 a 3.9 a

(QRF) Ornamentals 1.85 a 0.94 a 0.61 a 3.4 a

P-value NS NS NS NS

8-4-12 Turf 0.84 a 0.70 a 0.68 a 2.22 a

(SRF) Ornamentals 1.63 a 1.21 a 1.00 a 3.83 a

P-value NS NS NS NS

z Ornamentals included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum
Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda
cathartica L.
YMeans followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability
level. P> 0.05 is non significant (NS). Means are averaged over 6 fertilizer cycles.

Table 3-6. Turf leaf tissue nutrient concentration (ppm) in response to fertilizer
treatments.
Fertilizer TKN P K Ca Mg Zn Mn Cu Fe
16-4-8 1070 36.64 151.05 28.05 21.06 0.19 0.22 0 0.06
15-0-15 1120 29.1 134.65 26.42 17.63 0.16 0.2 0 0.14
8-4-12 840 34.64 162.7 24.94 21.61 0.24 0.36 0.0012 0.19
Average 1010 33.46 149.45 26.47 20.1 0.196 0.26 0.0004 0.13
P-value NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS NS


P> 0.05 is non significant (NS). Means
throughout the year.


are averaged from leaf tissue collections taken











0.5

- 0 .4
E



0.2
,--

c 0.1
-_


0 -


1 0.44


U.3b


0.1


Day 15


Day 30


0.33


0.11


Day 60


U Turf U Ornamentals

Figure 3-1. Nitrate (mg L-1) leaching between turf and ornamentals.

z Ornamentals included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum
Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda
cathartica L. Bars with the same letter are not different at the 0.05 probability level.
Means are averaged over 6 fertilizer cycles.



0.5
0.44
0.4 0.39
CM0.35 0.33
S0.3 0.27 0.31 0.29 0.29



00.2
.0.15

0 0.1
-J.


0
Cy-1 Cy-2 Cy-3 Cy-4 Cy-5 Cy-6 Avg.
U Turf U Ornamentals

Figure 3-2. Nitrate (mg L1) leaching from turf and ornamentalsz in six fertilizer cycles.

z Ornamentals included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum
Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda
cathartica L. Bars with the same letter are not different at the 0.05 probability level.
Means are average of 3 leachate collections per fertilizer cycle.


I
















0.4 0.33

00.24
0 16-4-8
m m 15-0-15
0.2
0 8--4-12

c0.1
-j o

a ab b

Figure 3-3. Nitrate leaching (mg L1) from different fertilizers averaged from both turf
and ornamentals.

z Ornamentals included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum
Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda
cathartica L. Bars with the same letter are not different at the 0.05 probability level.
Means are averaged over six fertilizer cycles.














CHAPTER 4
EFFECT OF FERTILIZER SOURCE ON NITRATE LEACHING AND
ORNAMENTAL PLANT QUALITY

Introduction

Canna generals L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrumjaponicum Thunb. var. Lake

Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. are

landscape ornamentals commonly grown in Florida. Canna generals, a perennial

flowering plant found in the tropics and subtropics, belongs to the Cannaceae family (Tjia

and Black 1991). Ligustrumjaponicum, an evergreen woody shrub with fragrant white

flowers and berrylike fruits, belongs to the Oleaceae family (Midcap et al. 1991).

Nandina domestic, a semi-deciduous shrub, that turns red in the fall, belongs to the

Berberidaceae family (Black 2002). Allamanda cathartica is a vine-like shrub with bright

yellow flowers and it belongs to the Apocynaceae family (Black 2002). Little research

has been done on these plants when grown separately and the author is not aware of

studies that have evaluated these plants as part of a mixed vegetation landscape. Irrigation

requirements and fertility regimes and comparative quality measurement of these plants

are not well understood either.

It is known that improper application of nitrogen fertilizer can lead to leaching

which is a major source of ground water pollution (Hornsby 2003). Nitrate (NO3-N) has a

tendency to leach in sandy soils (Petrovic 1990); and because the water table in many

parts of Florida is close to the soil surface, the combination of sandy soil and shallow

water table might potentially cause water pollution from urban horticultural activities.









Nitrate contamination of Florida's ground and surface waters is a serious issue and has

recently been the topic of much research.

Impairment of environmental quality not only depends on fertilizer concentration,

but also on fertilizer type. Broschat (1995) observed that NO3-N leaching from container

grown plants was greater when soluble fertilizer was applied. The nutrient loss from SRF

was one half the amount lost from QRF. He concluded that the use of slow or controlled

release fertilizers on container grown plants can minimize leaching losses. The potential

for NO3-N leaching from SRF also depends on application frequency. Cox (1993) found

that a single large dose of SRF applied to container-grown Marigold (Tagetes erecta L.),

leached more NO3-N than two split doses. However, little information is available to

quantify N leaching from the whole landscape (Erickson 2001).

From an economic perspective, quality of the plant is also of great importance.

One of the methods for measuring crop health and quality is light reflectance with a

multispectral radiometer. Multispectral radiometry provides a reliable method for

qualitative comparison of plants (Trenholm et al. 1999). Plants get the energy by

absorbing sunlight for its physiological activities. Partial sunlight is absorbed by the plant

from the total sunlight coming into the plant canopy. Some light, however is reflected,

depending on the crop condition. This instrument measures the reflected part of the

visible and near infrared (NIR) regions of the light spectrum; and the region most

affected by stresses of various kinds (CROPSCAN, Inc. 2003). Multispectral radiometry

can discriminate between stressed and non-stressed vegetation (Carter 1993 Carter and

Miller 1994). Multispectral reflectance measurements can detect the changes in leaf

chlorophyll concentration (Carter 1993; Carter and Miller 1994; Trenholm et al. 2000b)









and can be used in turfgrass and agronomic crop research. Reflectance measurements can

be conveniently used in turf research, where the crop canopy is uniform, allowing

virtually no transmittance as would occur in many plant species. Little research has been

done to evaluate the effectiveness of MSR to measure ornamental plant health and

quality. In ornamental plants, woody shoots, flowers, and fruits lack chlorophyll and are

not uniformly distributed, which may affect results of MSR.

The traditional landscape comprises both turf and ornamentals, which often

receive the same fertilization regime (Knox 1991). While intensive research has been

done on the fertility of turf and its effect on environmental quality, little is known about

nutrient management of urban landscape ornamentals and their potential role in

environmental pollution. Because information is lacking on the effect of fertilizer source

applied to ornamentals, the objectives of this study were to evaluate responses of

landscape plants to fertilizers and to evaluate the potential for environmental impairment

resulting from fertilization of landscape plants.

Materials and Methods

The experiment was performed in a climate-controlled greenhouse at the G.C.

Horn Memorial Turfgrass Field Laboratory at the University of Florida in Gainesville. A

combination of ornamentals including Canna generals L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum

japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb.var Harbor Dwarf and

Allamanda cathartica L. were established in large plastic pots in May 2002. The pots

measured 0.8 m diameter by 0.4 m tall and had a volume of 300 L. Landscape plants

grown in 2.8 L containers were acquired from a retail nursery for use in this study.

Pots were placed on reinforced metal tables in the greenhouse. Five cm of gravel

was placed at the bottom of the pots, and with a mesh cloth was placed over the gravel to









retain the media. Pots were then filled with Arredondo fine sand (loamy, siliceous,

hypothermic, Grossarenic Paleudalt). Plants were allowed to establish for a 2-month

period before treatments began.

There were three fertilizer treatments: quick release fertilizer commonly used in

turf (QRF) 16-4-8 (ammonium sulfate, concentrated superphosphate, and potassium

chloride), QRF 15-0-15 (ammonium sulfate and potassium chloride), and a slow release

fertilizer (SRF) 8-4-12 (polymer coated sulfur coated urea, ammonium phosphate and

polymer coated potassium sulfate). Fertilizer treatments were applied six times at 2-

month intervals (17 July, 19 September, 20 November 2002, 17 January, 18 March and

21May 2003) at a rate of 4.9 g N m-2. Each of these 2-month periods was called one

fertilizer cycle.

Irrigation was applied as needed, which varied with season (Table 3-1). Leachate

was collected three times during each fertilizer cycle, at 2, 4, and 8 weeks following the

fertilizer application. To facilitate leachate collection, a hole was drilled into one side of

the pot. A 13 mm diameter polyethylene tube was attached to the pot to allow leachate to

drain into a dark 19 L plastic bucket. Leachate was filtered through 11 cm diameter

Whatman qualitative filter papers (Fisher Scientific International) and a 20 ml aliquot

was collected from each pot. Samples were acidified with sulfuric acid (conc. 96.3%) to

lower pH and frozen. Samples were submitted to the Analytical Research Laboratory

(ARL) in Gainesville for N03-N analysis. Throughout the study the total volume of

leachate collected was measured. Results are presented based on both nutrient

concentration in leached water and total nutrient content (TNC) leached. Total nutrient









content (TNC) was calculated by multiplying nutrient concentration with the

corresponding leachate volume.

TNC= Nutrient concentration x Leached water volume (Eq. 2-1)

Multispectral reflectance (MSR) readings were taken three times during each

fertilizer cycle; at weeks 1-2, 3-5, and 7-8, using a Cropscan model MSR 16R (Cropscan,

Inc., Rochester, MN). Reflectance was measured at specific wave lengths: 450, 550, 660,

694, 710, 760, 835, and 930 nm. Some important MSR indexes are normalized difference

vegetation index (NDVI), measured as (R930-R660)/( R930+R660) and Stress-1, measured as

R710/R760.

Time domain reflectometry (TDR) (IMKO Micromodultechnik GmbH; Ettlingen,

Germany) was used weekly to measure soil moisture content at different soil levels. Five

cm diameter plastic tubes were inserted vertically in the center of the tubs allowing the

TDR probe to be inserted to various depths. When not in use, tubes were capped to avoid

entrance of water.

Recently matured leaf tissue samples were collected in July and November 2002,

and March and July 2003. Samples were dried, ground, and analyzed for nutrient

concentration (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu, and Mn). Analysis of N was done by total

Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) procedure and remaining elements were analyzed with Spectro

Ciros ICP (SPECTRO Analytical Instruments GMBH & Co. KG, Kleve, Germany).

After 12 months of fertilizer treatments, shoots and roots from each pot were harvested

and dried for 24 hours at 750 C. Roots of ornamental plants were excavated and washed

but were not separated by plant species due to the intermingling between roots.









A micronutrient blend (STEP, The Scotts Company) was applied at a rate of 6.7 g

m-2 in September 2002. Ligustrum were treated with a 2% insecticidal oil during

November to control a scale (Hemiberlesia lataniae) infestation. Cypress mulch was

applied to the soil surface to a depth of 2.5 cm. Allamanda was pruned in October to a

height of 45 cm and dried shoot weight was collected. Greenhouse temperature was

monitored using a Hobo temperature data logger (Onset Computer Corp; Bourne, MA)

(Table 5-2) and light intensity at different canopy levels was measured weekly with Li-

COR 250 (LI-COR, Inc. Lincoln, NE).

Experimental design was a randomized complete block model with four

replications. Data were analyzed with the SAS analytical program to determine treatment

differences at the 0.05 significance level and means were separated with Fisher's LSD

and Waller-Duncan test (SAS institute, Inc. 2003). Websites cited in this thesis were last

verified by the author on Novemberl7, 2003.

Results and Discussion

Multispectral Reflectance

Multispectral reflectance results from the first two week period show that there

were differences due to fertilizer treatments in Stress-1 index, with best responses from

QRF 15-0-15 (Table 4-1). Results from weeks 3-5 indicate that growth index NDVI had

better responses with QRF 15-0-15 than SRF 8-4-12. In the last two weeks of the

fertilizer cycle, treatment differences were observed at wavelengths 550 and 710 nm. At

all these wavelengths, SRF 8-4-12 had better responses than QRF 16-4-8.

For the first five weeks, better responses from QRF may be due in part to the

faster rate of N release by the QRF, which encouraged foliar growth and may have

increased the total chlorophyll content. Increased chlorophyll has been shown to affect









MSR results (Carter 1993; Carter and Miller 1994; Trenholm et al. 2000b). Unlike 15-0-

15, the slower rate of N release by SRF 8-4-12 would have less impact on foliar growth

during weeks 0-5. At the end of the fertilizer cycle, however, better results were obtained

from SRF 8-4-12, because N release was still occurring. Because, SRF 8-4-12 contains

sulfur coated urea, plant roots can assimilate N for a longer period of time (Yeager and

Gilman 1991), allowing better plant growth and vigor. Better response from QRF 15-0-15

than from 16-4-8 may be due to the influence of P. Sartain (1992) observed a reduction in

growth and uptake of N by bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon x C. transvaalensis) during

the warm season growth period when additional P was added, which was explained by

the competition of H2PO4 and N03-N for uptake. The addition of P resulted in less uptake

of N and less growth. Since, 16-4-8, contains P and 15-0-15 does not, it can be inferred

that P might have an effect on N uptake, thus impacting plant quality.

Shoot and Root Growth

Allamanda had 33% less shoot mass in SRF treated plants than in either QRF

treatment (Table 4-2). Accumulation of dry matter in QRF treated plants was similar.

These results are directly related to N-release characteristics of the fertilizer treatments.

However, these results contradict findings by Broschat (1995) in Spathyphyllum. In his

work QRF treated plants had lower dry weight than SRF treated plants. Similarly,

Allamanda shoot weight collected at termination again showed higher biomass with QRF

treatments (Table 4-3). In Allamanda, SRF treated plants had a lanky growth habit with

fewer shoots and fewer leaves at the basal part of the shoots. However, this effect was not

noticed in Canna, Nandina, and Ligustrum, which had no shoot weight difference due to

treatments. Cumulative dry shoot weight of all plants at termination resulted in lower

biomass with SRF treatments (Table 4-3). This may have been due to a major portion of









shoot mass being contributed from Allamanda plants. There were no differences in root

weight due to fertilizer treatments (Table 4-4).

Nitrate Leaching (mg L1)

Differences due to fertilizer treatments were found when all leachate events were

averaged (Table 4-5). 15-0-15 QRF and SRF 8-4-12 leached 50% and 56% less N03-N

16-4-8 QRF. This may be due to the slow release nature of 8-4-12, where plants had more

time to take up the nutrient as it released over a longer period of time. As noted above,

Sartain (1992) observed a reduction in uptake of N by bermudagrass during the warm

season growth period when additional P was added, which was attributed to the

competition of H2PO4 and N03-N for uptake. No differences were found in volume of

nitrate leached due to fertilizer treatments (Data not shown).

Leaf Tissue Nutrient

Leaf tissue nutrient analysis showed that there were no differences in total

Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) between fertilizer treatments for any of the ornamentals (Table

4-6). Similar results were found by Stratton et al. (2001), who noticed N concentration in

the plant did not differ with N source in Ligustrum ibolium. Nitrogen was applied at the

same rate in all three treatments and the difference was only in rate of release, which

might not have an effect on leaf N content.

In Canna, no differences due to the fertilizer treatments were found in leaf

nutrient concentrations other than K (Table 4-6). 8-4-12 SRF treated Canna plants

showed higher leaf K content than QRF treated Canna plants. In Nandina, Ligustrum,

and Allamanda, no differences were found in leaf nutrient contents due to the fertilizer

treatments. Leaf nutrient concentrations varied with species. Canna had the highest P, K,









and Mn content, while highest Ca, Mg, Zn, and Cu content was found in Allamanda

leaves and Ligustrum had the highest Fe content.

Conclusions

This research provides information about the effect of two quick release turf

fertilizers and a slow release palm fertilizer on ornamentals and their effects on

environmental quality. Multispectral reflectance results have shown better plant quality in

QRF 15-0-15 treated plants during the first five weeks of evaluation, while SRF 8-4-12

treated plants exhibited the best quality during the later three weeks of the fertilizer cycle.

Greater shoot growth was observed in QRF treated Allamanda plants. Greater

concentration of N03-N was leached from QRF 16-4-8. Leaf K content was higher in 8-

4-12 treated Canna, but no differences were found with any other nutrients. This

enclosed container research provides preliminary data upon which in situ research may be

modeled. Results obtained in this research may vary in an actual landscape setting due to

root growth and branching habits, differences in ET rate in an open environment, and

other variables that would be present in an uncontrolled environment. Further research is

required to verify how nutrient release rate affects ornamental quality and nitrate leaching

in an urban landscape.









Table 4-1. Multispectral reflectance values in ornamentals throughout the fertilizer
cycle.
Weeks Fertilizers Wavelengths (nm)
550 660 710 NDVI Stress-1
16-4-8 (QRF) 9.38 ay 4.97 a 15.28 a 0.83 a 0.35 ab

0-2 15-0-15 (QRF) 7.66 a 4.12 a 13.57 a 0.87 a 0.32 a

8-4-12 (SRF) 9.43 a 5.00 a 15.98a 0.84 a 0.38 b

Anova P-value NS NS NS NS 0.04

CV NS NS NS NS 24.10

16-4-8 (QRF) 8.07 a 3.44 a 12.58 a 0.87 ab 0.32 a

3-5 15-0-15 (QRF) 6.26 a 3.38 a 10.46 a 0.90 a 0.30 a

8-4-12 (SRF) 6.54 a 2.41 a 11.65 a 0.86 b 0.34 a

Anova P-value NS NS NS 0.03 NS

CV NS NS NS 3.7 NS

16-4-8 (QRF) 12.12 b 6.67 a 18.18 b 0.81 a 0.38 a

6-8 15-0-15 (QRF) 9.02 ab 4.18 a 14.56 ab 0.86 a 0.34 a

8-4-12 (SRF) 8.40 a 4.43 a 12.89 a 0.84 a 0.35 a

Anova P-value 0.05 NS 0.05 NS NS

CV 51.4 NS 45.6 NS NS

z Ornamentals included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum
Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda
cathartica L.
Y Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability
level. Means are averaged over 6 fertilizer cycles.









Table 4-2. Comparison of shoot weight of Allamanda cathartica pruned in October.
Fertilizer Mean dry shoot wt. (g)

15-0-15 (QRF) 150.5 az

16-4-8 (QRF) 156.6 a

8-4-12 (SRF) 103.6 b

Anova P = 0.046

CV 18.37

z Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability
level.

Table 4-3. Ornamental shoot dry weight (g) in response to fertilizer treatments.
Fertilizers Canna Nandina Ligustrum Allamanda Total

16-4-8 (QRF) 35.3 ay 45.0 a 149.5 a 435.6 a 683.3 a

15-0-15 (QRF) 50.9 a 44.4 a 156.7 a 415.2 a 667.2 a

8-4-12 (SRF) 63.1 a 38.9 a 138.5 a 236.9 b 477.5 b

Anova NS NS NS P=0.0004 P=0.0067

CV NS NS NS 10.03 10.44
z Ornamentals included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum
Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda
cathartica L.
YMeans followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability
level. Shoots were collected at termination.









Table 4-4. Cumulative ornamental root dry weight (g) in response to fertilizer
treatments.
Fertilizer Mean dry root wt. (g)

15-0-15 (QRF) 1867.0 a y

16-4-8 (QRF) 1838.7 a

8-4-12 (SRF) 1449.5 a

Anova NS

z Ornamentals included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum
Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda
cathartica L.
Y Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability
level.

Table 4-5. Nitrate leaching (mg L1) from ornamentals in response to fertilizer
treatments.
Fertilizer Day 15 Day 30 Day 60 Average

16-4-8 0.66 ay 0.60 a 0.28 a 0.52 a
(QRF)

15-0-15 0.40 a 0.24 a 0.18 a 0.26 b
(QRF)
8-4-12 0.28 a 0.23 a 0.15 a 0.23 b
(QRF)
NS NS NS P=0.002

Anova
NS NS NS CV=117.83


z Ornamentals included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum
Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda
cathartica L.
YMeans followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability
level. P> 0.05 is non significant (NS). Means are averaged over 6 fertilizer cycles.












Table 4-6. Ornamental leaf tissue nutrient concentration (ppm) in res onse to fertilizer treatments.
Plants Fertilizer TKN P K Ca Mg Zn Mn Cu Fe
Canna 16-4-8 1240 24.17 134.28 99.9 45.81 0.09 1.85 0.01 0.08
b
15-0-15 1190 25.6 145.28 101.88 51.19 0.09 2.4 0.01 0.06
b
8-4-12 1140 31.75 190.7 a 84.7 48.55 0.13 3.4 0.02 0.08
Average 1190 27.17 156.75 95.49 48.52 0.10 2.55 0.01 0.07
Nandina 16-4-8 1040 20.44 50.24 88.87 19.84 0.23 0.27 0.014 0.11
15-0-15 1070 19.24 48.89 82.43 14.34 0.19 0.14 0.008 0.05
8-4-12 1040 25.08 56.04 85.7 20.99 0.22 0.23 0.007 0.03
Average 1050 21.59 51.72 85.67 18.39 0.21 0.21 0.009 0.06
Ligustrum 16-4-8 740 15.38 47.44 133.68 23.27 0.36 1.29 0.01 0.09
15-0-15 740 15.91 45.47 136.78 18.66 0.35 1.55 0.006 0.24
8-4-12 670 17.44 51.81 122.53 18.48 0.41 1.17 0.003 0.15
Average 717 16.24 48.24 130.99 20.14 0.37 1.34 0.006 0.16
Allamanda 16-4-8 1070 24.52 67.65 272.18 73.45 0.69 2.69 0.04 0.17
15-0-15 1070 21.1 82.71 183.75 49.19 0.44 2.08 0.03 0.04
8-4-12 990 21.35 79.79 150.93 39.24 0.44 1.76 0.02 0.02
Average 1043 22.32 76.72 202.29 53.96 0.52 2.18 0.03 0.08
z Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability level. Means are averaged from leaf tissue
collections taken throughout the year














CHAPTER 5
WATER CONSUMPTION IN TURF AND ORNAMENTALS

Introduction

Water is the most important constituent of plant cells and it controls plant growth

and development (Salisbury and Ross 1999; Taiz and Zeiger 2002). Loss of water

through evaporation from soil and transpiration from the plant represents the total amount

of water lost, which is known as evapotranspitration (ET) (Turgeon 1991).

Evapotranspiration is an essential physiological process and is greatly affected by

availability of water. ET is important in irrigation management because crop yield is

often directly related to the amount of water lost through ET during the cropping season

(Bronson et al. 2001).

The rate of ET depends on many environmental factors including humidity

(Nonami and Boyer 1990), wind speed, soil moisture (Beard 2002), and shade.

Morphological factors include leaf pubescence and degree of cuticular wax present on the

leaves (Peacock and Dudeck 1984). Plant water consumption may also depend on

anatomical factors such as leaf area index, leaf orientation, and shoot density (Kim and

Beard 1988). Higher turfgrass ET rates were found to be associated with higher amounts

of shoots (Biran et al. 1981; Feldhake et al. 1983; Parr et al. 1984). In contrast lower ET

rates were prevalent with lower shoot growth in bermudagrass (Devitt and Morris 1989)

and St.Augustinegrass (Green et al. 1990). Greater root volume also encourages higher

water uptake. Root systems develop with both downward movement and horizontal

proliferation of branches at any given depth. Root length density (RLD) depends on the









number of vertical axes, branching history, and elongation rates, which indicate relatively

different root development patterns between monocots such as turf and dicots such as

ornamentals (Klepper 1990). Plants with more extensive root systems will draw moisture

from a larger volume of soil (Christians 1998).

Total water use (TWU) is the sum of (ET) and the water trapped in plant cells for

growth and development, which is a small amount. Total water use can be correlated with

soil moisture content. In a controlled environment, plants grown in containers might

reflect changes in soil moisture content due to changes in water uptake and ET. In the

landscape, water requirements vary between plant species. Turf should be irrigated on an

as needed basis, which will vary based on season, temperature, soil type, grass species,

and the presence or absence of shade. The frequency or amount of irrigation required by

turf may differ from other plants in the landscape, due largely to differences in root and

shoot mass. Difference in root architecture is one of the factors causing greater frequency

of irrigation in turf than in shrubs. The dense intermingled root system of turf generally

allows it to consume water from the top 15-30 cm of soil at a faster rate than ornamental

roots. The deeper ornamental roots allow shrubs to extract large volumes of water stored

from rainfall and past irrigations, meaning that irrigation frequency may be less for

ornamentals than for turf.

There are different ways to measure water use efficiency. While the differences in

how plant species consume water may result in different irrigation requirements, they do

not necessarily reflect water use efficiency (WUE). Water use efficiency (WUE) can be

defined in many ways, including the ratio of biomass produced per unit of water used or

as the measure of photosynthesis per volume of water consumed. Other methods for









measuring WUE are stomatal diffusion and discrimination of carboxylation (Pearcy et al.

1994). Stomatal diffusion suggests that WUE might be expected to increase as stomata

close (Smith and Griffiths 1993). Discrimination of carboxylation suggests that the

degree of carbon isotope discrimination in different plants might be related to WUE

(Farquhar et al. 1982).

Water use efficiency is different for different crops. In a mixed sward of

orchardgrass, creeping red fescue, and bromegrass, Krogman (1967) observed that up to a

certain level of crop growth, factors promoting growth such as N also promotes WUE.

Christians (1998) noted that higher N use might decrease WUE in grasses. However,

limited information is available about the effect of fertilizer source on a plant's WUE.

Previous research has been done on TWU of turf, while little work has been done

on TWU of landscape plants. The effect of fertilizer formulations on water use in

different plant species also is not well understood. Turf and ornamentals co-exist in a

landscape and may receive similar fertilization and irrigation regimes. The objectives of

this study were to compare total water use by turf and ornamentals and to determine the

effect of fertilizer treatments on water consumption.

Materials and Methods

The experiment was performed in a climate-controlled greenhouse at the G.C.

Horn Memorial Turfgrass Field Laboratory at the University of Florida in Gainesville. St.

Augustinegrass var. Floratam (Stenotaphrum secundatum [Walt.]Kuntze) and a

combination of ornamentals that included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine,

Ligustrumjaponicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor

Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. were established in large plastic pots in May 2002.

The pots measured 0.8 m diameter by 0.4 m tall with a volume of 300 L. Mature St.









Augustinegrass sod was harvested from the research field of the G.C. Horn Memorial

Turfgrass Field Laboratory and landscape plants grown in 2.8 L containers were acquired

from a retail nursery.

Pots were placed on reinforced metal tables in the greenhouse. Five cm of gravel

was placed at the bottom of the pots, and a mesh cloth was placed over the gravel to

retain the media. Pots were then filled with Arredondo fine sand (loamy, siliceous,

hypothermic, Grossarenic Paleudalt). Arredondo fine sand has high P content; Mehlich I

extracted P content in this media is 200 ppm. Plants were allowed to establish for a 2

month period before treatments began.

There were three fertilizer treatments: quick release fertilizer (QRF) 16-4-8

(ammonium sulfate, concentrated superphosphate, and potassium chloride), QRF 15-0-15

(ammonium sulfate and potassium chloride), and a slow release fertilizer (SRF) 8-4-12

(polymer coated sulfur coated urea, ammonium phosphate and polymer coated potassium

sulfate). Fertilizer treatments were applied six times at 2-month intervals (17 July, 19

September, 20 November 2002, 17 January, 18 March and 21 May 2003) at a rate of

4.9 g N m2 to both turf and ornamentals and each of these 2-month periods was called

one fertilizer cycle.

Irrigation was applied uniformly to both turf and ornamentals as needed over the

course of the year. Irrigation schedules varied with season, but the rate of irrigation was

the same for both turf and ornamentals (Table 5-1). Total Water Use values were derived

from equation 2-2.









Total Water Use (TWU) = WF+ (IWi+WUi) + (IW2+WU2) + (IW3+WU3)

(Eq. 2-2)

WF = water applied with fertilizer, which was 4L in all fertilizer cycles.
IW1 = Water applied before first leaching event, excluding WF
IW2 = Water applied between first and second leaching event
IW3 = Water applied between second and third leaching event
WUn= WAn-WLn, n = leaching event number (n=l, 2, 3)
WAn = water applied to a pot on a leaching event
WLn = water leached from a pot on a leaching event

In this study, WUE was measured by per unit volume of root mass WUER, shoot

mass WUEs, and total of root and shoot mass WUET. Data were analyzed to find the

overall water use efficiency over the year and during fertilizer cycle 6 (May-July).

Time domain reflectometry (TDR) (IMKO Micromodultechnik GmbH; Ettlingen,

Germany) was used weekly to measure soil moisture content at different soil levels ( 0-20

cm). A 5 cm diameter plastic tube was inserted vertically in the center of each pot

allowing the TDR probe to be inserted to various depths. When not in use, tubes were

capped to avoid entrance of water. During the last fertilizer cycle, no water was applied

for a period of seven days to measure the change of soil moisture in both turf and

ornamentals.

After 12 months of fertilizer treatments, shoots and roots from each pot were

harvested and dried for 24 hours at 750 C. Ornamental roots were excavated and washed

but were not separated by plant species due to the intermingling between roots.

Turf was mowed every week with scissors to maintain a height of 9 cm and

clippings were removed. During the summer, turf leaf blade length was measured prior to

mowing. In the ornamental pots cypress mulch was applied to the soil surface at a depth

of 2.5 cm. A micronutrient blend (STEP, The Scotts Company) was applied at a rate of









6.7 g m-2 in September 2002 to both turf and ornamentals. To control a minor infestation

of armyworm (Spodoptera spp.) in the turf, 8% Bifenthrin was applied at a rate of 4g L1.

Ligustrums were treated with a 2% insecticidal oil during November to control a scale

(Hemiberlesia lataniae) infestation. Greenhouse temperature was monitored using a

Hobo temperature data logger (Onset Computer Corp; Bourne, MA) (Table 5-2) and light

intensity at different canopy levels was measured weekly with Li-COR 250 (LI-COR,

Inc. Lincoln, NE).

Experimental design was a randomized complete block model with four

replications. Data were analyzed with the SAS analytical program to determine treatment

differences at the 0.05 significance level and means were separated with Fisher's LSD,

Waller-Duncan, and correlation was calculated with Proc GLM (SAS institute, Inc.

2003). Websites cited in this thesis were last verified by the author on Novemberl7,

2003.

Results and Discussion

Comparison of Water Consumption by Turf and Ornamentals

In all fertilizer cycles, turf consumed less water than ornamentals (Figure 5-

1).Water use of ornamentals during fertilizer cycles ranged from 11% to 83% more than

turf. Averaged over the year, water consumption of ornamentals was 39% more than turf

Due to the pot confinement, the ornamentals became root bound, this is logical and

represents greater water uptake due to increased root mass within the containers.

Minimal differences in water use between plant types occurred during the first

cycle (Jul-Sep) after planting. This cycle was part of the establishment period, during

which time ornamentals had less shoot and root mass and therefore used less water than

when mature. Greater differences in water consumption were found in cycles 3 and 4









(November to mid March). During the winter season, St. Augustinegrass typically goes

into dormancy and uses less water (Trenholm et al. 2000a). In the controlled

environment, St. Augustnegrass was not completely dormant, and use was reduced.

Canna was the only plant that went dormant, which was noted by senescent foliage. The

lack of dormancy in the remaining ornamentals resulted in higher water use of

ornamentals as compared to turf during the winter.

In this research, when averaged over a one-year period, turf consumed less water

than ornamentals per unit area of land. However, in a landscape, due to differences in

rooting depth and growth rate between plant species, turf may require more frequent

watering than ornamental shrubs or trees.

Effect of Fertilizer on Water Consumption of Turf and Ornamentals

Turf used 11% more water when treated with QRF 15-0-15 than with SRF 8-4-12

(Table 5-3). During the first fertilizer cycle, while plants were still establishing, QRF

treated turf grew faster due to greater availability of N in solution, which resulted in

greater water consumption. Sartain (1992) observed a reduction in growth and uptake of

N by bermudagrass during the growth period when additional P was added, which was

explained by the competition of H2PO4 and N03-N for uptake. The addition of P resulted

in less uptake of N and less growth. Since 16-4-8, contains P and 15-0-15 does not, it

may be inferred that results are influenced by P.

From fertilizer cycle 2 through 4 (Sep to Mar), St. Augustinegrass growth was

reduced, and no differences in water consumption due to fertilizer treatments were

observed (Table 5-3). During the fifth fertilizer cycle (March to May), however, turf was

actively growing and was very responsive to fertilizer. SRF treated turf used nearly 5%

less water than QRF treatments, probably due to the reduced growth rate resulting from









SRF as compared to QRF. Leaf length measurements in summer showed that weekly

growth was 3-4 cm in QRF treatments and 1-2 cm in SRF treatment. It is also possible

that turf began active re-growth in March, and QRF treated turf recovered faster due to

more available N for plant growth, thus increasing the water use. In the sixth cycle, (May

to Jul), there was no difference in water consumption between the plant types.

Ornamentals showed variation in water consumption due to different fertilizer

formulations (Table 5-4). SRF 8-4-12 treated plants consumed less water in all cycles

except the first fertilizer cycle (Jul-Sep), In the second fertilizer cycle (Sep-Nov) QRF

15-0-15 and 16-4-8 treated plants consumed 9% and 6% more water, respectively than

those receiving SRF 8-4-12. This suggests that more shoot growth encourages greater ET

and hence, more water consumption. Similar results were observed by Feldhake et al.

(1983) and Biran et al. (1981). In this study, higher total shoot mass was found in QRF

treated ornamental plants (Table 4-3). Plants receiving SRF fertilizer had less shoot mass

and used less water, but in a similar study Broschat (1995) noticed QRFs produced less

biomass than SRFs in Spathyphyllum.

Water Use Efficiency (WUE)

Quick release fertilizer treated turf had higher WUET and WUEs in May-July

period (Table 5-5), but no differences were found over the year. Similarly, QRF treated

ornamentals had higher WUEs in May-July period (Table 5-6), but no differences were

found over the year.

Water use efficiency by shoots (WUEs) was higher in turf than in ornamentals

both in the May-July period and over the entire year (Table 5-7). Opposite results were

noticed with WUER and WUET. Both were higher in ornamentals than in turf during both

the May-July period and over the entire year (Table 5-7).









Correlation between Shoots, Roots, and Soil Moisture with Water Use

For turf, TWU was directly correlated to shoot mass, root mass and total mass

(root + shoot) (Table 5-8). Higher water consumption is associated with higher amount of

shoot growth (Parr et al. 1984; Biran et al. 1981). An increase in shoot growth

encourages more leaves and the greater leaf area means a greater number of stomata,

resulting in greater potential for ET. Additionally, an increase in root mass increases the

water uptake capacity of the plant, which can result in more water use.

Results from the last three fertilizer cycles show that TWU was inversely

proportional to soil moisture content (Table 5-8). To support the water use by plants,

water was absorbed from the soil, which was a limited source of moisture. Therefore, the

increase in water consumption by plants resulted in a reduction in the soil moisture

content.

Change in Soil Moisture Content during Seven Days with No Irrigation

A 7-day period of no irrigation in the summer showed differences in soil moisture

content (Fig.5-2). During the first two days of dry down, soil moisture did not differ

between turf and ornamentals. Moreover, from 4 to 7 days, ornamental pots had lower

soil moisture content in comparison to turf. This was probably due to higher root mass in

ornamentals than turf (Table 3-3; Table 4-4), which resulted in greater water use.

Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) results from the lower 20 cm indicate that

from day 2-7, ornamental pots had less soil moisture content than turf (Fig. 5-3). Results

from the upper 20cm showed no differences between turf and ornamentals (Fig. 5-4) at

any point in time. This is most likely due to the root distribution pattern. Turf roots are

concentrated in the top half of the pot, with less density at greater depths. Ornamental

roots are distributed uniformly throughout the soil profile.









Conclusions

This study provides the opportunity to observe differences in total water

consumption in a unit volume of soil, which may be extrapolated to water use by plants

in an urban landscape. Results showed that on an average, ornamentals consumed 39%

more water than turf, which varied from 11% to as high as 83%, depending on the

season. The greatest difference in water consumption was found during winter, when St.

Augustinegrass remained semi-dormant and ornamentals continued to grow.

Both turf and ornamentals consumed less water when treated with SRF and higher

WUE in both turf and ornamentals was found with SRF treatment. In turf, TWU was

directly proportionate to shoot mass and root mass. In ornamentals this relationship was

observed only for shoot mass.

This enclosed container research provides preliminary data upon which in situ

research may be modeled. Results obtained in this research may vary in an actual

landscape setting due to root growth and branching habits, differences in ET rate in an

open environment, and other variables that would be present in an uncontrolled

environment. Further research is required to verify water use efficiency between turf and

ornamentals in an urban landscape.









Table 5-1. Irrigation schedule (L) in 6 fertilizer cycles.
Fertilizer Water applied Water applied Water applied Water applied
cycle (FC) with fertilizer before first between first and between second
(WF) leaching event second leaching and third leaching
(IW) event (IW2) event (IW3)
1st FC 4 16 12 24
(Jul-Sep)
2nd FC 4 16 10 12
(Sep-Nov)
3rd FC 4 8 8 12
(Nov-Jan)
4th FC 4 8 8 12
(Jan-Mar)
5th FC 4 9 9 38
(Mar-May)
6thFC 4 20 20 40
(May-Jul)

Table 5-2. Average temperature (C) in the green house during the study.
2002 2003
Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul
84.04 84.41 80.1 73.48 71.6 72.46 73.19 72.6 79.61 83.01 86.23 89.02

Table 5-3. Effects of fertilizer source on water consumption (L) of turf in 6 fertilizer
cycles.
Frtz. Cycle-1 Cycle-2 Cycle-3 Cycle-4 Cycle-5 Cycle-6
(Jul-Sep) (Sep-Nov) (Nov-Jan) (Jan-Mar) (Mar-May) (May-Jul)
15-0-15 105.9 az 88.1 a 70.6 a 68.7 a 116.1 a 136.4 a

16-4-8 101.7 ab 86.4 a 71.7 a 64.8 a 119.3 a 140.3 a

8-4-12 94.1 b 79.2 a 65.2 a 60.1 a 112.4 b 132.1 a

P-value 0.08 NS NS NS 0.009 NS

CV 5.94 NS NS NS 1.77 NS

z Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability
level. P> 0.05 is non significant (NS).









Table 5-4. Effects of fertilizer source on water consumption
fertilizer cycles.


(L) of ornamentals in 6


Frtz. Cycle-1 Cycle-2 Cycle-3 Cycle-4 Cycle-5 Cycle-6
(Jul-Sep) (Sep-Nov) (Nov-Jan) (Jan-Mar) (Mar-May) (May-Jul)
15-0-15 116.0 az 126.2 a 110.2 a 124.7 a 166.3 a 181.4 a

16-4-8 113.6 a 122.0 ab 108.2 a 128.5 a 164.5 a 184.5 a

8-4-12 106.5 a 114.9 b 98.2 b 100.4 b 140.7 b 168.0 b

P-value NS 0.025 0.008 0.009 0.043 0.032

CV NS 3.52 3.57 7.66 7.75 9.88

z Ornamentals included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum
Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda
cathartica L.
YMeans followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability
level. P> 0.05 is non significant (NS).

Table 5-5.Water use efficiency (WUE) of turf measured (g L1) during summer and over
the year.
Fertilizers WUE CV P-value
WUE by Shoot 8-4-12 6.5 b z 6.63 0.017
16-4-8 7.6 a
15-0-15 7.9 a
May-July WUE by Root 8-4-12 1.la NS NS
16-4-8 1.2 a
15-0-15 1.2 a
WUE by Total 8-4-12 7.6 b 5.65 0.01
mass 16-4-8 8.8 a
(Root + Shoot) 15-0-15 9.1 a
8-4-12 9.5 a NS NS
WUE by Shoot 16-4-8 11.0 a
15-0-15 11.1 a
WUE by Root 8-4-12 1.5 a NS NS
Yearly 16-4-8 1.7 a
15-0-15 1.7 a
WUE by Total 8-4-12 11.1 a NS NS
mass 16-4-8 12.7 a
(Root + Shoot) 15-0-15 12.7 a
z Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability
level. P> 0.05 is non significant (NS).









Table 5-6. Water use efficiency
and over the vear


(WUE) of ornamentals measured (g L-1) during summer


Fertilizers WUE CV P-value
WUE by Shoot 8-4-12 2.8 b Y 11.84 0.037
16-4-8 3.7 a
15-0-15 3.7 a
May-July WUE by Root 8-4-12 8.6 a NS NS
16-4-8 9.9 a
15-0-15 10.3 a
WUE by Total 8-4-12 11.5 a NS NS
mass 16-4-8 13.7 a
(Root + Shoot) 15-0-15 13.9 a
8-4-12 3.9 a NS NS
WUE by Shoot 16-4-8 4.9 a
15-0-15 4.8 a
WUE by Root 8-4-12 12.1 a NS NS
Yearly 16-4-8 13.4 a
15-0-15 13.6 a
WUE by Total 8-4-12 16.0 a NS NS
mass 16-4-8 18.4 a
(Root + Shoot) 15-0-15 18.4 a
z Ornamentals included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum
Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda
cathartica L.
YMeans followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability
level. P> 0.05 is non significant (NS).









Table 5-7. Comparison of water use efficiency (WUE) between turf and ornamentals
measured (g L-1) during summer and over the year.
Plant WUE CV P-value
WUE by Turf 7.4 a Y 12.75 <0.0001
Shoot Ornamentals 3.4 b
WUE by Root Turf 1.1 b 32.1 <0.0001
May-July Ornamentals 9.6 a
WUE by Total Turf 8.6 b 18.2 <0.0001
mass
mas Ornamentals 13.0 a
(Root +Shoot)
WUE by Turf 10.5 a 14.7 <0.0001
Shoot Ornamentals 4.6 b
WUE by Root Turf 1.6 b 32.9 <0.0001
Ornamentals 13.0 a
Yearly
WUE by Total Turf 12.2 b 19.3 0.0003
mass
m O Ornamentals 17.6 a
(Root +Shoot)
z Ornamentals included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum
Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda
cathartica L.
YMeans followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05 probability
level. P> 0.05 is non significant (NS).

Table 5-8. Correlation between water use and soil moisture, shoot, and root volume.
Source of Variation Plants
Turf Ornamentals
TWU 0.72 0.71
Shoot 0.0081 0.0089

TWU 0.68 NS
Root 0.014
TWU 0.74 NS
Total mass (Root+ 0.0054
Shoot)
TWU -0.64
Soil moisture content <0.0001

* Values greater than 0.64 significant at p= 0.05 and others non-significant (NS).



















200

" 160
0
E 120

> 80
40
40


0 Turf
* Ornamentals


Cy-1 Cy-2 Cy-3 Cy-4 Cy-5 Cy-6 Average


Figure 5-1. Water consumption (L) in turf and ornamentals in 6 fertilizer cycles.


z Ornamentals included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic
Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda cathartica L. Bars with the same letter are not different at the 0.05 probability level.











24

S20 19.36
a

16 16.36
028
Eo b
12 11.4

8 -
1 2 4 7
Days

Turf -- Ornamentals

Figure 5-2. Change in soil moisture (%) in turf and ornamental pots in a period of 7 days
without irrigation.

z Ornamentals included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum
Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda
cathartica L. Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05
probability level.





24 a
a- a

20 17
16-
16 b 6.4
E b
12 12.13
b
8
1 2 4 7
Days

-- Turf Ornamentals

Figure 5-3. Change in soil moisture (%) in turf and ornamental pots in a period of 7 days
without irrigation at the lower 20 cm.

SOrnamentals included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum
Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda
cathartica L. Means followed by the same letter do not differ significantly at the 0.05
probability level.







62



24



S16.7
16" 16.54
E
'4 6 12 12.75
t 1 2 -* 1 0 6 7

8
1 2 4 7
Days

Turf -- Ornamentals

Figure 5-4. Change in soil moisture in turf and ornamental pots in a period of 7 days
without irrigation at the upper 20 cm.

SOrnamentals included Canna generals L. var. Brandywine, Ligustrum japonicum
Thunb. var. Lake Tresca, Nandina domestic Thunb. var. Harbor Dwarf, and Allamanda
cathartica L.














CHAPTER 6
CONCLUSIONS

This research looked at 1) the effects of fertilizer sources on turf and ornamentals

2) nitrate leaching and, 3) differences in total water consumption per unit volume of soil

between turf and ornamentals. Both QRFs 15-0-15 and 16-4-8 produced better plant

quality than SRF 8-4-12; however, higher amounts of NO3-N were leached from 16-4-8-

treated plants. The slow release fertilizer (SRF) 8-4-12 leached less NO3-N than the

QRFs but, had reduced plant quality. Higher biomass production was associated with

QRFs. Less NO3-N leached from turf than from ornamentals and turf consumed less

water in the confines of the container environment. Research is needed to verify the

results in the landscape. Due to differences in root growth and distribution in the

landscape, results might vary from those seen in this research. Fertilization frequency

might also influence the results, due to release characteristics of the fertilizer treatments.

With less frequent fertilizer application or higher leaching potential, higher average

quality scores might be obtained with SRF. This controlled environment research

provides preliminary data upon which in situ research may be modeled. Further research

is required to verify how nutrient release rate affects plant quality, nutrient leaching, and

water use in an urban landscape. Increased knowledge of nutrient and water uptake and

use between plant species in the landscape would allow for more efficient fertilization

and water management in the urban landscape.
















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Subhrajit Saha was born in 1977 in a small Indian city called Kanchrapara. Soon

after his birth, his family moved to another small city named Kalyani, where he spent his

boyhood. He completed his twelve years of education at the Kalyani University

Experimental High School. In 1996, he joined Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya

(State Agricultural University), where he received his B.Sc. degree in horticulture.

He joined the University of Florida in 2001 and will graduate with a M.S. degree

in environmental horticulture in 2004. Upon graduation he will continue for a Ph.D. at

the University of Florida.