Using Organic Amendments to Stabilize Sand-based Athletic Fields During Turfgrass Establishment Period
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Athletic field rootzones are often sand-based for improved drainage. Sand-based rootzones may have stability issues if turfgrass is not fully established. Our objective was to use organic amendments to improve the stability of sand-based fields during the turfgrass establishment period and avoid overuse of inorganic materials, which have negative effects. We tested coconut coir, peat and wheat straw at 1% organic material, peat at 2% organic material, and an inorganic stabilizing fiber, StaLok, in the top 10 cm of the rootzone. Surface hardness, volumetric water content, traction, penetration resistance and visual quality were measured 2 to 4 months after construction of the plots. Surface hardness was greatest in the inorganic stabilizer and the wheat straw treatments. The kinetic penetration had no differences between the wheat straw (33.78-51.10 kPa) and the StaLok fibers (34.99-56.23 kPa). Wheat straw could be used to stabilize sand-based fields as an organic alternative to inorganic fibers.