Bermudagrass Sod Growth and Metal Uptake in Coal Combustion By-Product-Amended Media

M. J. Schlossberg, C. P. Vanags, W. P. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Coal combustion by-products (CCB) include fly ash and bottom ash and are generated nationally at rates of 108 Mg yr-1. Land applications of CCB have improved physicochemical properties of soil, yet inherent bulkiness and trace metal content of CCB often limit their use. Likewise, utilization of biosolids and manure as fertilizer can be problematic due to unfavorable nutrient ratios. A 2-yr field study evaluated environmental and technical parameters associated with CCB-organic waste utilization as growth media in turfgrass sod production. Experimental growth media formulated with CCB and organic waste and a sand-compost control mixture were uniformly spread at rates from 200 to 400 m3 ha-1 and sprigged with hybrid bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy]. Leaf clippings were collected and analyzed for total elemental content each year. In Year 2, growth media samples were collected during establishment 47 and 84 days after planting (DAP) and viable Escherichia coli organisms were quantified. At harvest (99 or 114 DAP), sod biomass and physicochemical properties of the growth media were measured. During sod propagation, micronutrient and metal content in leaf clippings varied by growth media and time. After 47 d of typical sod field management, viable E. coli pathogens were detected in only one biosolids-amended plot. No viable E. coli were measured at 84 DAP. In both years, sod biomass was greatest in media containing biosolids and fly ash. Following installation of sod, evaluations did not reveal differences by media type or application volume. Using CCB-organic waste mixes at the rates described herein is a rapid and environmentally safe method of bermudagrass sod production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)740-748
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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