Core Samples and Water Analysis

On the course.
Darren Burton – Head Greenkeeper
Phil Rutt – Deputy Head Greenkeeper
Andrew Pledger – ICL Technical Area Sales Manager.

Water Analysis
Bore Hole Water – Sent for anaylsis

Core Samples Taken
3rd, 7th, 15th USGA Greens.
1st, 10th, 11th Clay Greens.



With the help of John Noyce (Collier Turf Care) and his knowledge of the problems that Chestfield has historically faced in the past. the decision was made to look into ways of improving our water quality from the existing bore hole.

After meeting with Andrew Pledger (ICL) at this year’s BTME in January. AP kindly visited the course today to take samples of our Water and Soil Analysis of six greens. This would normally bring a charge of £140.00 but because we use the ICL products on a regular basis there is no charge for this visit.

The aim of the Water Analysis is:
To see exactly what is in our water?
Is there any form of contamination?
And what effect is it having to the greens, Approaches and Tees?

A Sample was taken from the Irrigation Tanks that have recently been filled with fresh Bore Hole water.
These results will take upto 10 days to receive back and a report will be issued in due course.

Soil Analysis

Cores taken from our USGA Greens on the 3rd, 7th and 15th .
Cores taken from our Clay Push up greens on the 1st 10th and 11th.

Five to six cores were taken from each green, bagged and labelled.
These samples will be analysed and a report will be issued at the same time as the water analysis.
However whilst taking core samples we can learn a lot from what we see but also what we can smell.
Indicated in red in the picture are the areas of Anaerobic soil.


What is Anaerobic soil?

The term black layer is more commonly used among sportsturf managers. This problem is an anaerobic condition that can develop in rootzones due to a number of environmental and cultural factors. This condition is more common on sand based rootzones, although it can also occur on other rootzone types.

Black layer appears as a black, foul-smelling continuous or discontinuous subsurface layer in turfgrass rootzones. Chemically, black layer is a deposit of metal sulphides, which form when hydrogen sulphide gas reacts with metal elements in the soil. For hydrogen sulphide to be released, the rootzone conditions must favour the growth of sulphur reducing bacteria, which requires water and soil organic matter. The organic matter (THATCH) provides the food for the microbes, and water keeps the microbes hydrated. Soils must be relatively anaerobic (low in air) since these sulphur reducing bacteria do not survive very well in well aerated soils. The anaerobic conditions can be caused by numerous factors such as compaction, (When the ground is thawing after a Frost) excessive irrigation, (Irrigation proficiencies) organic matter accumulation, (thatch build up), sulphur application or movement of colloidal particles (Water Quality).  Coupled with this, sulphur must be available within the soil.

Effects of Black Layer

Once black layer development occurs drainage dramatically decreases in the soil. As the layer increases, the pores in the soil become filled with the hydrogen sulphide gas. Research has found that hydrogen sulphide gas is lethal to turfgrass by stopping root respiration and killing the turfgrass plant.

Symptoms

Soils with low levels of oxygen are usually darker in colour than well oxygenated rootzones. If black layer is present, particularly on a sandy soil, a dark coloured ring will form in the rootzone below the soil surface, which can range from less than an inch to several inches in thickness. Areas of turf may turn a bronze colour and thinning of the grass is likely. 

The most important measure with black layer is prevention by ensuring that the soil is well aerated and drains freely. This can be achieved through numerous techniques including

  • Using a cultivation programme which will improve water movement through the soil and subsequently increase air exchange. Examples include deep coring, hollow coring and slitting.
  • Ensuring that good subsurface and surface drainage is in place. Air Movement, Sunlight, Improved drainage.
  • Irrigation use that prevents over watering and standing water. Calibration, working efficiency’s, wetting agents, Irrigation improvements and repairs.
  • Reduction in sulphur containing fertilisers, since sulphur has been shown to reduce oxygen levels in the soil. Balanced fertiliser programs for both Clay and USGA Specification greens.

Sample Taken from the 10th Green at 12.40pm

Sample from the 10th Green at 4pm

Its not what’s going on, on top of the ground. Its what’s happening beneath it.

LOOK – TOUCH – BREAK – SMELL – LEARN – UNDERSTAND