Direct measurement of denitrification using 15N-labeled fertilizer applied to turfgrass

B. P. Horgan, B. E. Branham, R. L. Mulvaney

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    21 Scopus citations


    Denitrification losses are a possibility from turfgrass because of frequent irrigation, multiple applications of N fertilizers, and an abundance of readily decomposable organic C in thatch and verdure. Field experiments were conducted to directly measure N2 and N2O evolved from a Flanagan silt loam soil under Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) or creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds.). Mass spectrometric procedures were used to analyze atmospheric samples collected from replicated 15N fertilized turf (49 kg ha-1). Data showed that labeled fertilizer N (LFN) losses ranged from 2.1 to 7.3% for N2 and from 0.4 to 3.9% for N2O; that large N2 and N2O fluxes occurred after heavy rainfall events; and that more N2 was evolved than N2O. Emission of gas was detected while standing water was visible within cylinders, suggesting the transfer of gases from the flooded soil to the atmosphere through the turfgrass plants. Evolution of N2 and N2O was greater from creeping bentgrass treated with KNO3 than urea through the first 3 wk of the experiment, whereas N2 emission was greater for urea during the last 2 wk of the experiment, presumably because of NO3 production through nitrification. Nitrous oxide was detected on the day of fertilization with the KNO3 treatment, and the mole fraction of N2O decreased from 0.44 to 0.11 with each weekly application of N.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1602-1610
    Number of pages9
    JournalCrop Science
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


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