Main content area

High pH Treatments and the Alleviation of Soil Hydrophobicity on Golf Greens

Karnok, Keith A., Rowland, Everett J., Tan, Kim H.
Agronomy journal 1993 v.85 no.5 pp. 983-986
Agrostis stolonifera var. palustris, hydrophobicity, soil pH, humic acids, fulvic acids, soil treatment, phytotoxicity, abiotic stress, air temperature, wettability, athletic fields, Georgia
Hydrophobic soil associated with localized dry spots (LDS) on creeping bentgrass (Agrostic palustris Huds.) putting greens has been shown to be caused by a humic and/or fulvic acid coating of the sand particles. Under laboratory conditions, humic acid begins to solubilize at pH 7.0 and is completely soluble at pH 9.5 or greater. The purpose of this study was to determine the potential of high pH treatments for alleviating soil hydrophobicity of a creeping bentgrass golf green. Three seperate studies were conducted on the University of Georgia Experimental Golf Greem, Athens, GA, during the spring and summer of 1990 and speing of 1991. The creeping bentgrass green, constructed with an 85% sand and 15% peat root zone mixture, had a well documented history of LDS caused by hydrophobic soil. Soil hydrophobicity was determined by the molarity of an aqueous ethanol droplet (MED) technique. Results showed that an application of 0.1 M NaOH sufficient to saturate the upper 50mm of soil, followed by a water flush of one pore volume, significantly reduced soil hydrophobicity if repeated three or more times. In one study, soil hydrophobicity was completely eliminated after nine consecutive daily treatments of 0.1 M NaOH, each of which was followed by a water flush. A concurent decrease in soil humic matter content suggested that its dissolution and removal was responsible for the increased wettability of the soil profile. Bentgrass treated with NaOH showed varying degrees of phytotoxicity. The severity of injury depended on the number of consecutive applications and air temperature. Little or no discoloration was noted when air temperatures was ≤24 °C; however, severe wilt and desiccation occured when treatments were applied when air temperature was ≥ °C. High pH treatments may be an effective means to soil hydrophobicity on sand-based golf putting greens. Contribution of the Georgia Agric. Exp. Stn., Athen