The fate and transport of Phosphorus in turfgrass ecosystems

Phosphorus losses from turfgrass areas are perceived to contribute to water quality problems, yet a comprehensive review of P fate in turfgrass ecosystems is lacking. According to available data in the literature, phosphorus fertilizer inputs (2–10 kg ha–1) slightly exceed the estimated outputs of phosphorus in clippings (0.4–7.5 kg ha–1). Sediment losses from turf areas are negligible, generally limited to establishment, but runoff and leaching losses of P vary from inconsequential to severe depending on rate, source, and timing of fertilizer application. Soil properties were found to have a larger effect on runoff volume than vegetative properties. Highest runoff and leaching losses of P occurred when rainfall occurred or was simulated shortly after P fertilizer application. Leaching losses of P have historically been considered relatively minor; however, the limited research results available indicate that annual P leaching losses from mineral soils (0.2–0.7 kg ha–1) are similar in magnitude to runoff-P losses from turfgrass systems. One major gap in the knowledge is how P sources other than fertilizer (i.e., soil and plant tissue) and irrigation affect runoff and leaching losses of P.

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