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Turfgrass Soils by R.W.Daniels PhD Original Presentation Landscape New Brunswick, February 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Turfgrass Soils by R.W.Daniels PhD Original Presentation Landscape New Brunswick, February 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Turfgrass Soils by R.W.Daniels PhD Original Presentation Landscape New Brunswick, February 2013


3 Present Day Work Force Life Long Learning Upgrading Present Skills

4 Students Learning Turf First Year Students (Note Physically Handling Turf Plants) Fourth Year Students Learn by Getting Close to Turf (Observing), Listening, Taking Notes

5 Lifelong Learning Adults learn Yes, Those with grey hair both teach and learn

6 Looks What's In The Soil

7 Todays Topics Soils: Composition, Terms (Structure, Texture), Soil and Water, pH, Thatch, Selecting Media Specific Media Problems: Drainage (Surface, Sub-surface, Other), Organic Topdressing, Cultivation (options) Summary

8 Initial Topics Soils: – Composition – Terms – Soil and Water – pH – Thatch – Selecting Media

9 Know Your Soils/Media All Soils/Medias are NOT the Same Develop the Right Management Program for Your Soil

10 Soils In Turfgeass Relationship and Importance of Soils in Turfgrass Management is Poorly Understood Lack of Basic Practical Knowledge of Soils Non Appreciation of Importance of Soils on Drainage, Compaction and Plant Root Growth GETTING SOILS RIGHT PREVENTS A LOT OF FUTURE PROBLEMS

11 Functions of Soil Supports Plant Provides Nutrients Reservoir for Water Receiver for Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide

12 Common Mistake in Turf Management We Base our Decisions on Visual, Above Ground Symptoms We Try a Quick Fix (It Often Works For a Short Period of Time) With Turfgrass The Bottom (Roots) Run The Top (Above Ground Visual Vegetation) Maintain (Establish) a Healthy Plant Root System and Your Worries are Greatly Demised

13 Causes of The Problem Presence of Hard Pan Extent of Layering Past Management Types of Media Used Topdressing: Material Used, Application Combination of MANY Things


15 Composition of an Ideal Soil 50 % Solids – 45 % Mineral – 5% Organic Matter 50 % Pore Space – 25 % Water (Available & Unavailable) – 25 % Air

16 Soil Phase Mineral – Various Sizes – Various Chemicals Organic Matter – Decomposed Plant and Animal Residue – Energy For Microbes – Improves Soil Physical Condition – Improves Soil Water Holding Capacity – Improves Water Infiltration – Is a Source of Nutrients

17 Composition of Ideal Soil 50 % Solid Phase Available Water Non Available Water 50 % Pore Space 25 % Air % Minerals 3-5 % OM 25 % Water

18 Compacted Media

19 Soil Compaction Air & Water Relationship Becomes Unbalanced Wear on Turf Pushes Air From Soil Excess Water Pushes Air From Soil Plant Roots DO NOT Grow In Soil Plant Roots Grow in AIR SPACES Within Soil

20 Terms In Soil Description Soil Structure – Proportion of Sand, Silt, and Clay Particles Soil Texture – Arrangement of Sand, Silt and Clay Particles Compaction & Bulk Density Pore Space

21 Soil Structure Cementing Together of Sand, Silt and Clay Cemented by Organic Matter and Humus Structure Destroyed by – Traffic, Wear, Machinery etc – High Water Content (Water acts as a Lubricant and Individual Particles Slide Over One Another)

22 Relative Size of Sand, Silt & Clay Surface Area per Gram (sq cm/g) 11 to ,000,000 Silt Clay Sand

23 Texture Determination-Feel Parent Material Soil Texture Human Feel 100 % Sand Sand Gritty % Sand Sandy-Loam Forms a Ball % Sand Loam Gritty & Smooth 50 % Silt Silt Loam Flower % Clay Clay Loam Sticky & Wet >40 % Clay Clay Rolls Into Ribbon

24 Range of Sand, Silt & Clay Within Soil Types Soil Percentage Classification Sand Silt Clay Sand Loamy Sand Sandy Loam Loam Silt Loam Clay Loam

25 Acceptable Soils Can Cause Problems Soil Percentage Classification Sand Silt Clay Loamy Sand Sandy Loam – 20 PROBLEM MEDIA Loam Silt Loam Clay Loam

26 Soil Texture Triangle

27 Terms Plant Available Water – Water Available for Plants – Irrigate When 50 % of Available Water is Depleted Gravitational Flow of Water – Water Present Between Maximum Water Holding Capacity & Field Capacity – Water Flows Multi-Directional Due to Forces of Adhesion and Cohesion

28 Other Important Terms Water Content of Soil – Maximum when all Pores are Filled with Water – Media is then Anaerobic (No Air Present) – No Root Growth – Get Presence of Toxins Field Capacity – Amount of Water Retained after Macropores Have Drained (Water Remains in Micropores)

29 Soil Porosity That Portion of Soil Not Occupies by Solids – Area Between and Within Soil Aggregates % Pore Space + % Solids = 100 % Large Pores Drain Freely Small Pores Retain Water Ideal Soil of 50 % Pores Space can carry a 150 HP Tractor Without Damaging Surface

30 Effect of Pore Size Macropores – Drain Due to Gravity – Drain First Micropores (Capillary Pores) – Drain Slowly – When Pushed Together Result in Compaction

31 Soil Texture - Sand Composed of Large Sized Particles Drains By Means of Macro-Pores Characteristics – Considered a Light Soil – Good Internal Drainage – High Concentration of Air – Good Root Growing Environment – Dries Out Rapidly – Requires Frequent Watering & Fertilization

32 Soil Texture - Clay Composed of Small Sized Particles Drains By Means of Micro-Pores Characteristics – Considered a Heavy Soil – Poor Internal Drainage – Low Concentration of Air – Poor Root Growing Environment – Drains Poorly – Requires Infrequent Watering & Fertilization

33 Infiltration Rate Speed Water is Absorbed by Soil Rate Soil Amount High Sand 7.6cm (3.0in) / Hour Low Clay 0.8cm (0.3in) / Hour

34 Critical Relationship SOIL TURFWATER

35 Water Concerns Source of Water Infiltration of Water Throughout Soil Movement of Water Within Soil Profile Control Over Water Watering Requirement – Plant Species – Turf Usage (Activity Played)

36 Importance of Water to Plant 75 to 85 % of Plant is Water 10 % Loss of Water May Kill Plant Given Time Plant will Compensate for Reduced Water Excessive Amounts of Water will also Damage Plant

37 Function Of Water In Turf Plants Source of Nutrients Medium for Nutrient Transport Regulated Plant Temperature Provides Wilt Control Reduces Fertilizer Burn

38 Excessive Soil Moisture Reduces Root Growth Reduced Drought Tolerance Reduced Wear Tolerance Succulent Leaf Growth Increased Disease Susceptibility Increased Nutrient Leaching Increased Compaction

39 Inadequate Soil Moisture Reduced Plant Growth Plant Discolors Get Temporary Wilting Get Permanent Wilting May Cause Death of Plant

40 Plant Drought Resistance Escape………Plant Dies (Annual Bluegrass) Dormancy….. Plant Becomes Dormant – Eg Older Varieties of K Bluegrass (Merion) Adaptation – > Number of Roots & Root Hairs – > Water Absorption Capacity – > Plant Root Growth

41 Water Not Available Management Strategies Spring Cultivation (Aeration) Moderate Levels of Nitrogen Adequate Levels of P, K, Fe Increase Seasonal Mowing Height Good Pest Management Cultural Practices that Reduce Plant Stress

42 Drought Tolerance of Turfgrass Species HIGH TO LOW TOLERANCE Fine Fescue Tall Fescue Kentucky Bluegrass Perennial Ryegrass Colonial Bentgrass Creeping Bentgrass

43 Water Infiltration and Soil Structure Water Movement Soil Type Rapid: Granular, Single Grain Moderate: Blocky, Prismatic Slow: Massive, Platy

44 Soil Drainage 50 % Macropores – Large Pores – Drain Rapidly – Move Air and Water 50 % Micropores – Small Pores – Hold Water Against Gravity

45 Soil Moisture Classification Gravitational…Held By Gravity Capillary…Held in Small Pores Hygroscopic…Most Tightly Held

46 Infiltration Rate Rate Water is Absorbed – Varies with Soil Texture – Varies with Rate at Which Water is Applied – Varies with Current Environmental Conditions – Varies with Existing Ground Cover – Varies with Existing Topography

47 Application of Water Soil Perk Infiltration Available Water Sand in/hr 0.8 in S-Loam in/hr 1.1 in Loam in/hr 1.5 in S-Loam in/hr 2.0 in C-Loam in/hr 1.5 in Clay in/hr 1.5 in Perk: Percolation Depth for 1 inch of Water

48 pH And Soil pH is Measurement of The Concentration of H Ions Is a Logarithmic Scale – Individual Units are Ten X Turf is Adapted to a pH Range of 5.5 to 7.0 Low pH Limits Availability of Essential Elements

49 Adjusting pH To Increase pH Add Limestone Powder, Granulated and Pelletized Forms Vary in Cost, Handling, Rate of Release To Lower pH Add Sulphur Use Sulphur Based Fertilizers

50 pH and Nutrient Availability

51 Effect of pH on Nutrient Uptake Percent Wasted Soil pH Nitrogen Phosphorus Potash Total

52 Thatch Excess Accumulation of Material Consists of Dead Roots, Stems and Leaves Impedes Plant Growth – < Root Penetration – < Nutrient Take Up – Makes Surface Uneven – Results in Uneven Mowing


54 Excessive & Severe Thatch Excessive Thatch – Limits Growth Severe Thatch – Impedes Growth

55 Thatch & Media Problems Thatch Mat Layering Clay media

56 Compaction Result of Excess Traffic – Decreases Water Infiltration Rate – Decreases Oxygen Concentration – Wet Soils Result in Increased Compaction & Less Field Playability – Poor Playing Surface (Uneven, etc)

57 Effects of Excess Traffic Soil Compacts Percent of Macropores is Reduced Decreased Water Infiltration Rate Decreased Movement of Water Within Soil Less Air Available to Plants

58 Reducing Field Compaction Increase Sand Content in Growing Media – Increases Initial Cost of Field – May Decrease Athletes Foot Traction – Increases Maintenance Cost – Increase Seasonal Water Usage – Increases Seasonal Field Usage

59 Increase Organic Matter Content Increases Water Holding Capacity Increases Nutrient Holding Capacity Decreases Water Infiltration Rates Requires Increase Frequency of Aeration Get Thatch Accumulation

60 Media Selection 100 % Soil-Based – Texture – Fertility – Organic Matter Content – Amounts of Silt + Clay 100 % Sand-Based – Need 80 % Plus Sand Component

61 Media Selection Have Media Properly Tested Specifications Are When Media is First Blended/Mixed May be Mixed With Loader (Skilled Operator) Re -Test Media After Mixing/Blending Once Placed on Site Media Changes

62 Media Preparation On Site Blending – Most Accurate Mixing With Loader – Accurate With Skilled Operator

63 Samples Taken From Mixed Material

64 Composition of Selected Turf Medias Sandy Loam – % sand, 10-45% silt, 0-20 % clay Loamy Sands – % sand, 0-30 % silt, 0-15 % clay Sand-Based – 90 % plus sand

65 Sample Water Infiltration Rates Water Infiltration Rate Sand: Soil : Peat………………….cm/ hr 85.0 : 7.5 : 7.5 ………………… : 5.0 : 10.0………………… : 0.0 : 15.0…...……………… : 0.0 : 10.0 ………………… Rate Depends on Specific Composition of Each: Sand, Soil and Peat

66 Media Particle Gradation Gravel……………………..2.0 mm and greater Very Course Sand……… mm Coarse Sand……………..1.0 – 0.5 mm Medium Sand…………….0.5 – 0.25 mm Fine Sand………………… mm Very Fine Sand………… mm Silt………………………… mm Clay.…………………… Less than mm

67 Sand Based Field Particle Distribution- Category 1 Field Particle Type Acceptable Range % Gravel < 10 Very Course Sand <10 Course + Medium Fine Sand < 25 Very Fine Sand < 10 Silt + Clay (Max) <15

68 Category 1 Field Additional Requirements 35 to 55 % Porosity 15 to 30 % Air - Filled Porosity 15 to 30 % Capillary Porosity 12.5 – 25.0 cm (5 to 10 in.) / Hour of Water Infiltration 1 to 4 % Organic Matter Concentration

69 Sand Based Field Particle Distribution- Category 2 Field Particle Type % by Acceptable Volume Range % Gravel 10 < 10 Very Course Sand or < Course + Medium Fine Sand Very Fine Sand Silt + Clay (Max)

70 Soils Common Occurring Problems and Practical Solutions

71 Latter Topics Specific Media Problems: – Drainage (Surface, Sub-surface, Other) – Topdressing (Organic) – Cultivation-Options Summary

72 Know Your Soils Touch the Soil Feel the Soil

73 Media Selection Get Consistent Supply of Media Set Your Standards-Have Specifications Test Regularly Continually Monitor Quality

74 Sourcing & Blending of Media Proper Mixing Sampling – Note Holes in Pile – Sample On site Test Samples in Lab Know Your Supplier

75 Five Athletic Field Categories Categories Design Soil (% Silt + Clay) > 40 % All Soils Sub-Surface Drains Yes Yes Yes Yes No Irrigation Yes Yes ----Optional---- No Lights Yes Yes ----Optional---- No

76 Acceptable Soils Can Cause Problems Soil Percentage Classification Sand Silt Clay Loamy Sand Sandy Loam – 20 PROBLEM MEDIA Loam Silt Loam Clay Loam

77 Soil Texture Triangle

78 Check Drainage Dig a Hole Add Water Observe Results

79 Collecting Soil Samples Difficulty in Collecting Samples is an Indicator Observe Sample Collected

80 Add Sand to Media Topdressing Silt + Clay = 25 % Reduce Silt + Clay to 10 % – Requires 1.4 inches sand Six Topdressings – At 0.25 inches

81 Program for Improving Drainage to This Field 1.5 inches Sand Required – Improves Top 4.0 Inches of Media Year 1 – 2 Topdressing / Year at 0.25 inches / Application – 0.5 inches Topdressing / Year – 2 Core Aerations Repeat in Years 2, and 3 Have only Improved Top 4.0 Inches of Growing Media AFTER THREE YEARS

82 Program (Contd) Have Hard Pan (Poorly Drained Media) at and below 4.0 inch Level Deep Tine (Verti-Drain) – Topdress – How Much Sand Penetrates Below the 4.0 inch Level? Is this Cost Efficient? Field Marginally Improves in Each Year

83 Starting Over Sometimes it Pays to be Realistic and Simply Start Over

84 Pitfalls of Construction Surface Drainage Remove Maximum Amounts of Water by Surface Drainage (Fastest, Easiest & Most Economical) Drain to Perimeter of Playing Surface Remove Excess (Drained) Water from Site

85 Initial Signs of Poor Drainage Excessive Wet Area at Perimeter Check For Wet Area In Playing Field Repair Initial Problem

86 Surface Field Drainage Crowned at Center – Water Drains to Each Side High on One Side – Water Drains Across Field Surface

87 Surface Field Drainage Crown is Center Point of Field – Water Drains in All Directions High at One Perimeter Point – Water Drains Across Playing Surface

88 Understanding Drainage Spacing of Individual Tile Lines MUST Account for: Gravitational Pull of Water Water Runs – Sideways (Lateral) Into Tile Lines – Downward in Soil Profile to Tile Lines


90 Initial Signs of Poor Drainage Dead Grass in Spring Presence of Poa Wet Areas When Aerating

91 Field Infiltromoter Field Testing for Poor Drainage Reasonably Accurate An Indicator of Degree of Internal Drainage Problems

92 Getting Soil Profile Difficulty Getting Sample No Surprise

93 TROUBLE Excessive Thatch Poor Growing Media

94 Plan The Project Make On Site Assessment Determine Drainage Pattern Determine Water Outlet Use Proper Material and Personnel Solve the Problem vs Moving it to Another Location

95 Steps in Sub-Surface (Tile) Drainage- Existing Field Cover and Protect Existing Turf During Construction Remove Existing Turf – Keep if Quality is Good – If Keeping, Remove and Store in Safe Place Excavate Drain Lines – Cut Narrow Trench – Remove Excess Material From Site

96 Drainage Instillation (Continued) Add 2.5 to 5.0 (1 to 2 in) of Pea Gravel 1.3 to 2.5 cm (0.5 to 1.0 in ) Diameter Connect Laterals at 45 Degrees Cover Installed Drains with 10 cm (4in) Layer of Pea Gravel Backfill Trench (Use Appropriate Material) Replace Sod, New Sod or Seed

97 Excavation, Installing Tile & Sand

98 How To Remove Water When Slope is Non Existent

99 Solution High Profile Area Intense Traffic No Existing Slope No Drainage Outlet Solution – Dig Large Pit – Fill With Coarse Gravel – Slope Immediate Surface

100 Organic Topdressing Environmentally Friendly Contributes to Recycling Encouraged by Society Politically Great

101 Usage of Organic Topdressing Use Properly (Small Applications) – Good Results Incorporate into existing media (AERATE) If Small Amounts are Good, LOTS MUST be GREAT – PROBLEMS……………….LAYERING

102 Organic Topdressing Initial Green-Up Apply More – Continuous Color Eventually - Get – Organic Layer – Thatch – Poor Plant Growth

103 Cultivation Options Based on Soil Depth Penetration 1 Vertical Mower I 2 N 3 Coring (Hollow/Solid Tine) C 4 Spiking H 5 Slicing E 6 S AerWay Slicer, Mole Plow Verti-drain, Hydro-jet

104 1 to 6 Inches Deep Coring – Hollow and solid tine Spiking – Drives a solid tine into media Slicing – Cuts by means of a slicing action

105 Core Cultivation Vertical Holes in Soil Core of Existing Media Removed Increased Air Flow and Water Penetration Opening for Topdressing Improve Media Over Time

106 Slicing Vs Coring

107 Hollow Tine Aerator Spoon Type Action Cores are Removed Cores: 5 to 20 mm Diameter Penetrates 7 to 20 cms Solid Tines may be Used

108 Coring (Options) Add Weights for more Depth Turf Requites 7 to 10 Days for Healing Edges of Holes Dry Out Not Done in July or August

109 Topdressing It is a Necessity Hard to do Properly Practice is Often Abused May Result in Permanent Damage Expensive (Material) and Time Consuming (Labor to Apply Material)

110 Soil Problem-Solutions Proper Diagnosis – Get Second Opinion, Do Tests Establish a Plan – Based on Agronomy – Stay With The Plan Be Realistic – Time Involved (years) – Costs (Remedies are NOT cheap) Few Remedies Equal Perfection

111 Media Specifications Specify Soil Type: Sandy Loam etc – Specify % Silt + Clay Specify Percolation (Internal Drainage) These are the Main Indicators

112 Future of Turf Care Move From an Approach of Solving Problems with Traditional Products / Practices To How Can We Solve Problems by Altering Seasonal Cultural / Management Programs / Practices

113 Future - Examples Carbon Footprint – Products & Practices Which Cause Least Negative Environmental Impact Example: Polyon Fertilizers – Formulation, Application Based on Seasonal Date for Specific Area – One to Two Applications / Season – Provide Acceptable, Consistent Results Example: Futura 3000 Perennial Ryegrass – Overwinters Well – Continually Overseeding as Required

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