APS Homepage

Oral: The Phytobiome: A New Frontier in Turfgrass Disease Management


Impacts of turf management practices on the soil microbiome.
J. CROUCH (1), C. Schmid (2), J. Hempfling (3), J. Murphy (2), B. Clarke (2), L. Beirn (2) (1) USDA-ARS, U.S.A.; (2) Rutgers University, U.S.A.; (3) Rutgers University, Canada

View Presentation

Golf course putting greens are unique, input-intensive environments that require regular fertility and pest management inputs to maintain suitable playing conditions. Little is known about how these practices impact the resident microbial communities. The objectives of this research were to use next-generation sequencing to examine the resident microbial communities inhabiting the soil of annual bluegrass (ABG) putting green turf, and to identify how nitrogen and potassium fertilization impacts the diversity and abundance of these communities. A diverse array of microorganisms were present, encompassing >50 phyla and representing hundreds of species of archaea, bacteria, and fungi. Potentially beneficial microorganisms, such as antibiotic producers, possible biocontrol agents, mycorrhizal species, and nitrogen fixers were abundant. Fertilization did not reduce microbial diversity, but did alter microbial abundance. Specifically, changes associated with fertility treatments were limited to 7% of the archaea/bacteria and 23% of the fungal communities. Seasonality also influenced microbial community composition, with samples collected in warmer months displaying similar species abundance. The research described here provides the first metabarcode-based assessment of the vast microbial community residing in the soil of ABG putting green turf, and will help facilitate future research examining how these microorganisms influence the health and function of this system.