Cycling of composted biosolids through turfgrass sod enhances sustainability across agricultural and urban landscapes

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2004: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2005
Grant Recipient: Texas A&M University
Region: Southern
State: Texas
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Donald Vietor, PhD
Texas A&M University, Soil & Crop Sciences


  • Additional Plants: ornamentals


  • Crop Production: municipal wastes, nutrient cycling
  • Farm Business Management: agricultural finance
  • Sustainable Communities: community development, urban/rural integration

    Proposal abstract:

    The purposeful goal of sustainability is not exclusive to agriculture. As urban and residential developments encroach on agricultural landscapes, environmental quality, resource conservation, nutrient cycling, and economic viability become mutual concerns of neighboring urban and agricultural stakeholders. These mutual concerns can be addressed, in part, through turfgrass sod production on agricultural lands near municipalities. Nutrients and organic matter in composted municipal biosolids (CMB) can supply affordable resources for sod production and be recycled over short hauling distances back to urban landscapes in transplanted sod. In addition to recycling CMB, the transplanted sod eliminates P fertilizer applications and enhances water infiltration and soil and water quality in receiving urban landscapes. Research is proposed to develop systems for cycling CMB through turfgrass sod produced on agricultural lands. Export and losses of contrasting CMB and fertilizer sources of phosphorus and nitrogen will be quantified during production and after transplanting of Tifway bermudagrass sod in replicated field experiments. In addition to evaluating environmental impacts of CMB cycling through sod, capital and production costs will be itemized and combined with estimates of net present value to support producer decisions about CMB cycling through sod produced at the interface between urban and agricultural landscapes. Both agricultural and urban sustainability can be improved if turfgrass sod production uses CMB as a resource and municipalities purchase sod to enhance the quality of urban environments.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. 1.Quantify and compare export of total and extractable P and N among turfgrass sod harvests produced with inorganic fertilizer and two sources and rates of CMB. 2.Quantify and compare P and N runoff losses among transplanted sods produced with contrasting CMB sources and sprigged turf established with two rates of each CMB source. 3.Relate runoff concentrations and mass losses of P and N to extractable soil P and N concentrations of treatments comprising transplanted sod or turf sprigged in soil amended with contrasting CMB sources and rates. 4.Itemize and compare capital and production costs and net present value between CMB- and fertilizer-grown sod produced on agricultural fields near municipalities.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.