Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology, National Parks Board, Singapore Botanic Gardens1
Turfgrass species were evaluated for their rooting and foliar characteristics, and their interaction with the soil. The rooting system was divided into three compartments, one above another, such that the top and bottom compartments of the root system could be supplied with a nutrient deprived solution. Exposure of parts of the roots to nitrate deprivation caused a localised retardation of root initiation and extension, compared with zones receiving the full supply of nutrients. This resulted in considerable modification to root form, coupled with a significant depression in foliar growth. The extension of roots was the least affected by the deprivation of potassium. Phosphate and calcium deprivations gave rise to similar responses in root and foliar formation. Results from this study showed that external concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and calcium are required by the root system in varying amounts for optimal growth of roots. Turfgrass coverage and turf quality ratings further reinforced these findings. No significant difference was observed between the different grasses examined here. All three species responded similarly to the deprivation of the various nutrients. Results from this study confirmed that targeted fertilization programs are beneficial and can help reduce cost, chemical usage and prevent leachate and contamination.
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