This study aims to establish experimental plots to study the effects of fertilizer placed upon ornamental turf. With this in mind, we focused on two types of turf systems commonly found in residential suburban communities, an established lawn and a newly installed sod lawn. The principle objective was to establish a sampling system that would allow the establishment of benchmarks for later studies for comparisons of the two systems. The new sod site is located on the campus of the SUNY at Stony Brook and the established site is located at the SCWA Administration Building in Oakdale.
The SUNY site is located in a plot of lawn found adjacent to the West Side of the Earth and Space Sciences Building. This site was chosen because it was located in a region with minimal foot traffic while affording easy access to the building. The pre-existing lawn covered an area approximately 50 by 10 meters, and was landscaped by the University grounds crew. The site is located at approximately 40o54’53.6” N lat. and 73o7’34.9” W long. (Figure 1). In the approximate center of this area, a 5 by 3-meter plot was chosen to be the sod study site.
Four tension lysimeters were installed in this area at depths of 40, 100, and 150 cm and spaced at a distance of roughly 1.5 meters from one another (Figure 2 & 3). Three of the four lysimeters were placed in the sod region and one was placed outside the region as a control. This installation is detailed in the section of the report providing greater information about the lysimeter units.
Figure 1 – SUNY Site Map
Prior to the installation of the lysimeters, a sod-cutter was used to clear the pre-existing vegetation. The lysimeters were then installed. At this point the area was prepared for the planting of the sod. Careful attention was placed on following the procedures recommended by the sod manufacturer and industry standards. The soil in the plot was turned over by hand, with rocks being removed from the top four inches beneath the surface. Lime was applied at a rate of 40 lb. per 1000 sq. ft. The plot was then graded with a rake, while peat and fertilizer were added in controlled amounts. The peat was added to a thickness of 4 cm over the site and fertilizer was added at a rate of 3.5 lb. / 1000 sq. ft. After the plot was graded for a second time, it was wetted and a Dura-Sod blend of Fescue and Bluegrass variety turf (a blend of sod recommended and donated by the DeLalio Co., a local company) was installed. Following the installation of the sod turf, the area was watered heavily for the first week to allow the sod to take root. (Irrigation Data can be found in the SUNY Irrigation Table and Figure of the Appendix)
Figure 2 – Aerial Sketch of SUNY Site (with approximate distances)
The soil at this site is classified according to the USDA Soil Survey of Long Island as a Riverhead and Haven soils, graded 0-8 percent. These soil series consist of deep, well-drained, moderately coarse textured soils that formed in a mantle of sandy loam or fine sandy loam over thick layers of coarse sand and gravel (Warner et al., 1975). Due to the grading for construction of SUNY facilities the original soil profile was disturbed in this region. During the drilling for the lysimeters, soil was collected and sampled at regular intervals, to be later classified on the basis of grain size.
Figure 3 – Profile of the SUNY Site (with lysimeter depth)