Effect of clippings management on turfgrass sward productivity and nitrogen content in the clippings and soil
¹Estonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences,Kreutzwaldi 1, 51014 Tartu, Estonia; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
²Estonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences,Kreutzwaldi 1, 51014 Tartu, Estonia
³Agricultural Research Centre, Teaduse 4/6, 75501 Saku, Estonia
The maintenance of turfgrass sward includes mowing and fertilization. Every year turfgrass sward produces a sizeable amount of clippings containing large amounts of nutrients which will be available for plants during the decomposition process. The aim of this research was to study clippings decomposition speed, the effect of returned clippings to the turfgrass sward’s clippings yield and total nitrogen content in clippings and soil. The study was carried out on turfgrass sward (seed mixture composition Festuca rubra rubra 50% and Poa pratensis 50%). The turfgrass clippings were either removed after cutting or returned to the plots. The clippings yield and nitrogen content in the clippings were measured after every cutting. The soil samples from different plots were analyzed for total nitrogen at the beginning and the end of the growing season. The decomposition dynamics of clippings was studied using the litterbag technique. Also the nitrogen mineralization from decaying material and the concentration changes of cellulose and lignin were studied during 12 weeks.The results showed that the turfgrass clippings mass and the content of nitrogen decreasedduring the decomposition process very quickly. The degradation of cellulose takes place after about 30% of initial weight decomposition. During the 12 week study period we did not fix the beginning of lignin decomposition. Higher productivity was obtained in treatments where clippings were removed. N content did not differ in plant from plots where clippings returned or removed but N content in soil of plots with clippings returned decreased compared to N content in soil of plots where clippings were removed.