Effect of compost-, sand-, or gypsum-amended waste foundry sands on turfgrass yield and nutrient content

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Received for publication July 19, 2008. To prevent the 7 to 11 million metric tons of waste foundry sand (WFS) produced annually in the USA from entering landfills, current research is focused on the reuse of WFSs as soil amendments. The effects of different WFS-containing amendments on turfgrass growth and nutrient content were tested by planting perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) and tall fescue (Schedonorus phoenix (Scop.) Holub) in different blends containing WFS. Blends of WFS were created with compost or acid-washed sand (AWS) at varying percent by volume with WFS or by amendment with gypsum (9.6 g gypsum kg–1 WFS). Measurements of soil strength, shoot and root dry weight, plant surface coverage, and micronutrients (Al, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, B, Na) and macronutrients (N, P, K, S, Ca, Mg) were performed for each blend and compared with pure WFS and with a commercial potting media control. Results showed that strength was not a factor for any of the parameters studied, but the K/Na base saturation ratio of WFS:compost mixes was highly correlated with total shoot dry weight for perennial ryegrass (r = 0.995) and tall fescue (r = 0.94). This was further substantiated because total shoot dry weight was also correlated with shoot K/Na concentration of perennial ryegrass (r = 0.99) and tall fescue (r = 0.95). A compost blend containing 40% WFS was determined to be the optimal amendment for the reuse of WFS because it incorporated the greatest possible amount of WFS without major reduction in turfgrass growth.

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