Nicole C. Wagner

Nicole C. Wagner

Speaker | Department of Agricultural Sciences, Texas State University

San Marcos, TX | nwagner@txstate.edu

Dr. Nicole Wagner is an assistant professor at Texas State University in the Department of Agricultural Sciences. In this role, she teaches and conducts research about regenerative agricultural practices and the soil food web. She received her Ph.D. from Montana State University, focusing on agroecology. Dr. Wagner’s career spans academic, government, and nonprofit research, and analysis in the fields of agronomic and horticultural systems, precision agriculture, international trade, and agricultural commodity forecasting. Additionally, she has farm production experience on a large corn-soy farm in Minnesota, a small diversified organic vegetable farm in Montana, and the largest organic dairy in Montana.

Session Code: 2E

Track: Uses, Markets and Marketing

Session Name: Developing New Compost-Based Products and Blends

Session Time: Tuesday, January 25, 1:45 PM to 3:15 PM

Presentation Title: An Investigation on the Impact of Compost Tea Applications on Turf Quality and Soil Microbial Activity

Presentation Description: Although interest in organically managing turfgrass has grown, research regarding the benefits of compost tea application on turfgrass is relatively recent and limited. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of compost tea applications on overall turf quality and soil microbial activity. Evaluations of turfgrass were based on The National Turfgrass Evaluation Program’s guidelines and included color, turf density, overall density, percent living, and texture. Soil samples were analyzed for chemical attributes and microbial activity. The four sites of this study included: 1) soil drench compost tea application and irrigation, 2) soil drench compost tea application and no irrigation), 3) no compost tea application and irrigation, and 4) no compost tea application and no irrigation. Fifteen soil samples and turf quality observations were collected for pretest data. Then, post-test data were collected after each additional seasonal test period over the course of one year for each of the four locations. Of the four locations, the site which received compost tea applications and regular irrigation received statistically significantly higher turf quality ratings, and compost tea improved turf quality ratings beyond that of regular irrigation. Microbial populations appeared to be highest in soil samples of irrigated-compost tea treatment areas compared to control (non-treated) and non-irrigated areas. Microbial populations also increased in treated non-irrigated areas. Overall, the study results provide evidence of the value of compost tea to overall turf quality and beneficial soil microbial populations.