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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  701P0304,  . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15724)
Authors:   K.W. King, J.C. Balogh, and N.R. Fausey
Keywords:   nitrate, phosphorus, golf course, gravel lined trench, water quality, baseflow

Knowledge of the water and soil quality in urban watersheds is becoming increasingly important from a regulatory and environmental perspective. Recent evidence suggests turfgrass nutrients in runoff and subsurface flow pose potential risks to surface water quality. Research on water quality associated with turfgrass has focused on surface runoff, but not subsurface flows. Establishing the potential for input of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) to streams from subsurface drainage features on golf courses is essential for many urban managers especially those under regulatory scrutiny. Discharges from two gravel filled trenches, located on Morris Williams Municipal Golf Course in Austin, TX, were monitored for nutrients (NO3+NO2-N and PO4-P) and flow volume. Median concentrations of NO3+NO2-N and PO4-P in this drainage water were significantly different ( = 0.05) from zero. Based on measured discharge volume and nutrient concentration, a substantial amount of total nitrogen (4.3%) and phosphorus (5.0%) fertilizer is lost through subsurface drainage. NO3+NO2-N losses tended to follow a seasonal pattern with peak concentrations generally occurring in fall and winter. Peaks were also lagged from application by approximately two to four months. A strong seasonal pattern with respect to PO4-P concentrations was not detected. The findings of this study suggest a need for an integrated management plan with respect to turf type, nutrients, and water management. Subsurface flow has a significant affect on the hydrologic and nutrient balances on turfgrass systems.

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