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Soil organic matter in golf greens

Mine Kerek, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Golf greens are turf surfaces constructed of very sandy soil mixtures. A desirable putting green is one in which the soil characteristics favor the growth of turf and retain a good playing surface. Several aspects of soil organic matter (SOM) were examined as being related to the soil characteristics and, in turn, to turf health. The study consisted of 47 greens from 12 golf courses located within Nebraska (U.S.A). Microbial biomass (MB) accumulated as greens aged due mainly to an increase in the soil mass comprised of particulate organic matter (POM). As MB accumulated within POM, both POM fragments and microbial cells themselves become coated with humus. Since humus is a relatively stable form of SOM, we hypothesized that humus accumulation within POM renders both POM and associated MB more resistant to degradation, thus they accumulate. The accumulation of MB was accompanied by a shift in the microbial community structure based on fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) profiles. The difference in the FAME profiles of 3 and 4 year old greens was apparent from their enrichment in C18:2(9,12). The C18:2(9,12) has commonly been used as an indicator of fungi. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, as indicated by C16:1(11), was abundant across all age groups of greens. However, the portion of FAMEs represented by C16:1(11) was greater in 3 year old greens than in older greens. Older greens (≥18 years old), on the other hand, were separated from the younger ones due to their enrichment in methyl-branched saturated fatty acids (10MeC16:0 and 10MeC18:0). Moreover, the fact that the relative abundances of 10MeC16:0 were higher than those of 10MeC18:0 suggested the presence of sulfate-reducing bacteria in older greens. A good correlation of amounts of MB with C16:0 and total FAMEs suggested a simplification of MB estimation in turfgrass systems by consideration of only the amounts of C16:0 and total FAMEs. Our results also showed that soils of established greens are good sources of labile SOM and that by optimizing N mineralization from mobile humic acid, we could supply a part of the N required for golf greens. ^

Subject Area

Agriculture, Agronomy|Biology, Microbiology|Agriculture, Soil Science

Recommended Citation

Kerek, Mine, "Soil organic matter in golf greens" (2001). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3034380.