SREL Reprint #2515




Influence of fly ash on soil physical properties and turfgrass establishment

Domy C. Adriano and John T. Weber

The University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802

Abstract: A field study (1993-96) assessed the benefits of applying unusually high rates of coal fly ash as a soil amendment to enhance water retention of soils without adversely affecting growth and marketability of the turf species, centipedegrass [Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro) Hack.]. A Latin Square plot design was employed that included 0 (control, no ash applied), 280, 560, and 1120 Mg ha-1 application rates of unweathered precipitator fly ash. The fly ash was spread evenly over each plot area, rototilled, and allowed to weather under natural conditions for 8 mo before seeding. High levels of soluble salts, indicated by the electrical conductivity (EC) of soil extracts, in tandem with an apparent phytotoxic effect from boron (B), apparently inhibited initial plant establishment as shown by substantially lower germination counts in treated soil. However, plant height and rooting depth were not adversely affected, as were the dry matter (DM) yields throughout the study period. Ash treatment did not significantly influence water infiltration rate, bulk density, or temperature of the soil, but substantially improved water-holding capacity (WHC) and plant-available water (PAW). Enhanced water retention capacity improved the cohesion and handling property of harvested sod.

SREL Reprint #2515

Adriano, D. C., and J. T. Weber. 2001. Influence of fly ash on soil physical properties and turfgrass establishment. Journal of Environmental Quality 30:596-601.

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