EVALUATION OF COMPOST TOPDRESSING, COMPOST TEA AND CULTIVATION ON TALL FESCUE QUALITY, SOIL PHYSICAL PROPERTIES AND SOIL MICROBIAL ACTIVITY
Carroll, Mark J.
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Compost topdressing, compost tea, and hollow tine cultivation are common cultural practices employed in organic lawn care programs. Restrictions on the amount of bagged fertilizer nitrogen and phosphorus applied to turf have raised questions about the need to place similar restrictions on compost turfgrass applications. In a three-year study the effect of reduced and common practitioner use rates of compost topdressing, the use of compost tea and of hollow tine cultivation on soil physical and biological properties and turfgrass quality were evaluated. Cultivation, monthly compost tea application and compost topdressing applied at rates consistent with annual bagged fertilizer nitrogen restrictions had little effect on soil organic matter, microbial activity, bulk density and infiltration. The use of a synthetic fertilizer resulted in higher turf quality than the use of compost on most evaluation dates. Nutrient fertilizer restrictions if applied to compost will likely result in a decline in turf quality.