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Reclaimed Water for Turfgrass Irrigation
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Sustainable irrigation of turfgrass grown on coarse-textured soils with reclaimed water must avoid detrimental effects of soluble salts on plant growth and soil quality and groundwater enrichment of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). The purpose of this study was (1) to investigate the effects of irrigating with municipal reclaimed water containing higher concentrations of soluble salts than potable water on turfgrass growth and quality and (2) to compare the effects of reclaimed and potable water on turfgrass assimilation and leaching of N and P. A sand-based medium plumbed to supply potable and reclaimed water and instrumented with lysimeters to collect leachate was planted with hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon x Cynodon transvaalensis var. Tifsport) and creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera var. L-93). Both species produced high quality turfgrass with the reclaimed water. Although both grasses are moderately or highly salt tolerant when fully established, the bermudagrass growth and quality were reduced by the reclaimed water upon breaking dormancy, and its N use during this period was reduced. Continuous use of reclaimed water of the quality used in the study poses a potential soil Na accumulation problem. Both turfgrasses assimilated high amounts of N and P with minimal potential losses to groundwater.