Nutrient and chemical changes in turfgrass sand-based root zones are not well understood. This study was conducted to characterize nutrient and chemical properties in putting greens influenced by root zone mixture and establishment treatment, putting green age, and soil depth. Putting greens were constructed and established with Agrostis stolonifera L. in sequential years from 1997 to 2000. Treatments included root zone mixtures of 80:20 (v:v) sand and sphagnum peat and 80:15:5 (v:v:v) sand, sphagnum peat, and soil, and accelerated versus controlled establishment. In the establishment year, the accelerated treatment received 2.6-, 3.0-, and 2.6-fold more nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, respectively, than the controlled treatment. Soil samples were taken in Fall 2001, Spring 2004, and Summer 2004 and were analyzed for nutrient and chemical properties such as pH, cation exchange capacity (CEC), organic matter (OM), total soluble salts (TSS), and 12 nutrients. The root zone mixture and establishment treatments had minimal effects on most nutrient and chemical properties with the exception of phosphorus and pH. Cation exchange capacity, OM, TSS, and all nutrients decreased with soil depth, whereas soil pH increased. The putting green age × soil depth interaction was significant for many of the nutrient and chemical properties, but separating soil samples into mat and original root zone instead of predetermined soil sampling depths eliminated most of these interactions. The mat layer had higher CEC and OM values and nutrient concentrations and lower pH values than the original root zone mixture.
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