University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


Soil testing, bermudagrass, nutrient deficiencies


There are roughly 220 golf courses in Arkansas, and as many as 50% of these courses were constructed using common bermudagrass fairways. Although resilient, common bermudagrass loses density and quality over time. In this experiment physical and chemical properties of the soil were analyzed to determine the causes of decline in turf quality observed on several fairways of a local golf course. Once a particular fairway was selected for study and preliminary soil sampling conducted, GS+, a geostatistical computer program, was used to map the location of certain chemical deficiencies. A moderate to severe Mg deficiency was detected throughout the fairway. Twelve different fertility treatments were designed to enhance the overall density, texture, and color of the turf. Magnesium sulfate (MgSO4), Primo™ (a plant growth regulator), and Nitron (an organic nitrogen source) all showed significant improvements in turf quality. Extensive and comprehensive soil testing was found to be very beneficial; “hidden” nutrient deficiencies were discovered, which allowed site-specific treatments to be included in the test.