The Effects of a Golf Course on Leaf Litter Breakdown Rates in a Georgia Piedmont Stream
MacGregor, R. Gilmore
Meyer, Judy L.
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Golf courses apply heavy loads of fertilizer and a variety of pesticides, including fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides, to maintain both impeccable greens and aesthetically pleasing fairways and fringes. The primary purpose of this study is to determine if these practices have an impact upon leaf litter breakdown rates in a stream draining a suburban Atlanta golf course. Liriodendron tulipifera leaf packs were placed in a reference reach upstream of the golf course and in a study reach, just below a tributary draining a green. Mass of leaf material remaining in leaf packs was determined incrementally, and the logarithmic leaf breakdown rate (k) was calculated for each reach. Fine sediment accumulation in packs, and concentrations of NO₃, NH₄, soluble reactive phosphorous (SRP), chlorothalonil, and its metabolite in the water were measured. Similar leaf breakdown rates were found for each reach, although the study reach had somewhat higher concentrations of NO₃₋N and OH-chlorothalonil.