Semester of Graduation

December 2022

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Plant, Environmental, and Soil Sciences

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Landscape contractors are increasingly interested in organic products for Louisiana's residential and commercial turfgrass areas. However, the use, motivations, and barriers to adopting organic practices in the commercial turfgrass and landscape industry are undocumented. A survey with Louisiana Turfgrass Association (LTA) members to gauge their perceptions on current and future use of organic products in Louisiana was performed; and a field trial was conducted to evaluate organic fertilizers during turfgrass establishment. Substantial majorities of turfgrass professionals are currently applying organic fertilizers and believe organic product use will increase due to consumer demands, potential governmental regulation, and the belief that they are a more environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic products. However, turfgrass professionals’ knowledge of organic definitions and Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) labeling were limited. Greater efficacy and access to organic products coupled with increased extension and educational efforts would increase the number of Louisiana turfgrass professionals who adopt organic practices. In the field trial, three organic fertilizers (fish-based, insect-based, and plant-based) and an industry standard synthetic water-soluble fertilizer (WSF) effects on turfgrass establishment were evaluated as a best management practice to reduce surface runoff of nutrients. Organic fertilizers resulted in similar turfgrass groundcovers, cumulative total suspended solids (TSS), and inorganic N losses relative to the synthetic WSF for the 42-day establishment periods. Fertilizer incorporation and initial irrigation most likely muted inorganic N losses among the fertilizers tested. Landscape contractors can successfully establish perennial turfgrass without decreasing runoff resistance or increasing TSS and inorganic losses.

Date

8-9-2022

Committee Chair

Beasley, Jeffrey S.

Included in

Horticulture Commons

Share

COinS