Full TGIF Record # 19486
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Publication Type:
Author(s):Potter, Daniel A.
Title:Degradation of turfgrass thatch by earthworms and other soil fauna
Source:Kentucky Turfgrass Research. 1986, p. 31-32.
Publishing Information:Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service
Series:Progress Report 303
Keywords:TIC Keywords: Earthworms; Thatch accumulation; Microorganisms; Soil fauna; Thatch decomposition; Thatch
Abstract/Contents:Two 1986 tests to determine if soil invertebrates play a major role in thatch accumulation. Several hundred pieces of thatch (7.5 x 12 cm) were enclosed in nylon mesh bags having different sized openings and buried under a Kentucky bluegrass turf. The mesh sizes were selected to 1) admit all invertebrates including earthworms, 2) to exclude earthworms but to admit smaller invertebrates, or 3) to exclude all decomposers except microorganisms. In the other experiment, pieces of thatch were buried in identical large mesh bags in plots that were either rich in earthworms, or from which earthworms had been eliminated by chlordane applications. The thatch pieces are removed every 3-4 months to compare the rates of breakdown in samples with and without access by soil invertebrates. The differences were dramatic after only 3 months. Thatch pieces that were exposed to earthworms contained ca. 33% less organic matter and 33% more soil by weight than pieces from which earthworms were excluded. The structure of the thatch was nearly unchanged without earthworms, but the pieces were broken apart and dispersed when earthworms were present. This study will continue for at least another year, but it is already clear that worms play a major role in breaking apart and mixing thatch into the soil.
See Also:See also 1987 research update in Kentucky Turfgrass Research, no. 313 1987, p. 23-24, R=13685. R=13685

See also 1988 research update in Kentucky Turfgrass Research, no. 319 1988, p. 32-36, R=19358. R=19358
Note:Pictures, b/w
See Also:Other items relating to: BIOTHATCH
ASA/CSSA/SSSA Citation (Crop Science-Like - may be incomplete):
Potter, D. A. 1986. Degradation of turfgrass thatch by earthworms and other soil fauna. KY. Turfgrass Res. p. 31-32.
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MSU catalog number: SB 433 .A1 K4
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