Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Horticulture (MS)

Degree Level





Douglas Karcher

Committee Member

Micheal Richardson

Second Committee Member

Aaron Patton

Third Committee Member

Kristofor Brye

Fourth Committee Member

Patrick Berger


Biological sciences, Establishment method, Pre-harvest aerification


The use of soil-based sod on sand-based rootzones for the establishment of sports fields and golf courses is a common occurrence. Furthermore, the use of soil-based sod on sand-based rootzones can lead to potential problems associated with decreased water infiltration, gas exchange, rooting, and turfgrass quality caused by soil layering. Core-aerification and sand topdressing may help alleviate the problems associated with soil layering from the use of soil-based sod on sand-based rootzones. Therefore, the objectives of this research were to evaluate the effects of sod establishment methods and post- establishment cultural practices on the infiltration rate, moisture content, divot resistance, root mass, and overall turfgrass quality of hybrid bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. x C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy), zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Stued.), and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) grown on a native- soil (Captina silt loam) and sand-based (13 cm sand-capped) rootzone. The experiment was conducted at the Arkansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, during the growing seasons of 2010 and 2011. Three grass species (Kentucky bluegrass cv. Midnight, zoysiagrass cv. Meyer, and bermudagrass cv. Patriot) were established by four methods (soil-based sod, washed sod, pre-harvest aerified sod, and sprigs for warm season species only). Post-establishment treatments included core aerification (1.3 cm hollow tine cultivation twice annually) and no aerification, as well as topdressing rate (0.5 vs 2.5 cm annually). Results indicate that sprigs would provide the best establishment option for athletic fields with sand-based rootzones when trying to minimize the effects of soil layering. Sprigs provided increased water infiltration rates, decreased volumetric water content in the top 7.5 cm of the rootzone, and increased root mass density than pre-harvest aerified, soil-based, and washed sod. When a quicker establishment period is necessary, pre-harvest aerified and washed sod can provide an alternative to soil-based sod with increased water infiltration and decreased volumetric water contents.