Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2008 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Updates from the Turf Farm study: Effects of lawn management on soil C quality and soil respiration rates.
Lilly, Paul
Co-Authors: Paul J. Lilly, Jennifer C. Jenkins
Abstract: Turfgrass (the kind grown on lawns) is a ubiquitous sight in urbanized areas throughout the United States, occupying 20-30% of urban land area and the summer weekend labor of many homeowners. Despite its ubiquity and its complicated social significance, little is known about the ecological function of lawns. The institutional turfgrass management literature, while both broad and deep, focuses on practical applications and uses primarily aesthetic metrics that are difficult to interpret ecologically. With prior BES survey work as a foundation, we are studying the effects of management on C and N cycling in turfgrass and soil, using the most commonly observed lawn management practices (mowing, watering, fertilizing), performed at similar intensities as are used by local homeowners. This update presents our most recent data on fast- and medium-turnover soil C pools and soil respiration rates, and brings in earlier results to briefly sketch the broader picture that is emerging.