Modeling NO3–N leaching during establishment of turfgrasses irrigated with tailored reclaimed water

Mengistu Geza, Sanjit K. Deb, Bernd Leinauer, Shavonne Stanek, Elena Sevostianova, Matteo Serena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Turfgrass systems have been identified as potential sources of nitrate leaching and subsequent groundwater contamination. The HYDRUS (2D/3D) model was used to quantify nitrate leaching from bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] and buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm] established by either seed or sod and irrigated with either tailored (defined as reclaimed water with an N concentration of 15 mg L−1) or potable water and fertilized with calcium nitrate. A parameter sensitivity analysis conducted prior to model calibration revealed that soil texture, denitrification rate, and plant uptake all affected nitrate leaching. Simulated nitrate flux matched the experimental data more accurately when denitrification rate varied by soil depth. Moreover, nitrate leaching also differed between turfgrass species and between establishment methods. Leaching was higher from grasses propagated by seed than from sod at the beginning of the establishment period. Increasing the concentration of nitrate in tailored water from 0 to 200 mg L–1 increased concentrations at 50-cm depths for both species but the increase was significantly higher under buffalograss than bermudagrass and was attributed to lower nutrient uptake and denitrification rates under buffalograss. Nitrate concentrations at 50-cm depth were significantly higher for coarse sand compared with loamy sand, which was attributed to differences in retention times of the two soil types. Soil texture was even more important than nitrate application rate in predicting nitrate leaching losses and the results of the sensitivity analysis demonstrated that nitrate leaching was affected more by denitrification than by plant uptake.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere20112
JournalVadose Zone Journal
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2021

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