Professional sports fields - pH maintenance?

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Bales9er
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Professional sports fields - pH maintenance?

Post by Bales9er » May 6th, 2020, 10:20 am

Being that my soil is sand much like professional sports fields and I'm not having any luck raising my pH after 2 years of regular lime applications and OM additions as much as I can, its got me wondering how the professionals maintain the proper pH to keep their turf in ideal condition. I understand that they do foliar applications of nutrients but do they do the same for pH adjustments? Can anyone shed some light on this?

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andy10917
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Re: Professional sports fields - pH maintenance?

Post by andy10917 » May 7th, 2020, 8:19 am

You can't significantly affect the pH of 2,000,000 lbs/acre of soil with the small amounts of nutrients that are applied with foliar applications.

Bales9er
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Re: Professional sports fields - pH maintenance?

Post by Bales9er » May 7th, 2020, 8:31 am

Ok so then how do they do it?

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oze
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Re: Professional sports fields - pH maintenance?

Post by oze » May 7th, 2020, 5:38 pm

Hi Bales,

I am probably as far from an expert as you will find here, but I have the same issue as you and have done a lot of research about it.

From my 4 soil tests between 2014 and 2017, my average soil pH is 7.7 :( I, too was desperate to find a way to lower the pH, and I believed some sites which recommended elemental sulphur. This must be done very gradually, and eventually, the best I could do was to lower the pH to 7.5. Oh, and that was temporary.

Further research lead me to performing the "fizz test' on my soil, which determines whether your soil contains free lime. A tablespoon of soil wetted with a bit of vinegar is the test--if if fizzes, there is free lime in your soil, and you will never lower the pH to any extent nor for long. Mine fizzed like warm, agitated champagne, by the way.

So, the short answer to your question, "How do they do it?", is, They don't. But, even with my extreme pH, I can grow a decent, if not great, stand of turf. Keep up with the micronutrients, especially iron, ( I have found the Milorganite is a great source of iron) and be proud of the hard work you have done to get a lawn that is, most likely, better than 90% of your neighbors'. :)

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oze
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Re: Professional sports fields - pH maintenance?

Post by oze » May 7th, 2020, 5:50 pm

Ooops, sorry, I see that you want to *raise* your soil's pH. Never mind. :banghead:


Bales9er
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Re: Professional sports fields - pH maintenance?

Post by Bales9er » May 7th, 2020, 5:58 pm

No worries I appreciate the response anyway. I actually did some more research of my own today and found an article detailing the design of a sand based athletic field and the short answer is that I didn't get the whole answer of the root zone structure before. It is a sand root zone but they mix in compost or peat moss (large particles) which obviously hang onto water and the nutrients longer. Given that along with the fact that they're choosing the cream of the crop for materials to begin with it makes sense that they most likely start with the ideal scenario and maintain from there.

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Re: Professional sports fields - pH maintenance?

Post by TimmyG » May 8th, 2020, 12:48 am

I have an extremely sandy soil (also in MA, jar test completely settles out in under two minutes) and have had no trouble raising pH substantially on two properties with applications of fast-acting limes.

Bales9er
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Re: Professional sports fields - pH maintenance?

Post by Bales9er » May 8th, 2020, 7:59 am

Good to know but there's gotta be more to the story. My TEC is 1.49 with an OM% of 2.84. Having sandy soils based on a jar test is one thing but do you have soil tests for those properties that show OM% as well? I've done 3 fast acting lime apps per season the last 2 years (only 2 years I've been here) and my pH has not changed which tells me my soil just can't hold ANYTHING.

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Re: Professional sports fields - pH maintenance?

Post by Tarank » May 8th, 2020, 10:23 am

Bales9er wrote:
May 8th, 2020, 7:59 am
Good to know but there's gotta be more to the story. My TEC is 1.49 with an OM% of 2.84. Having sandy soils based on a jar test is one thing but do you have soil tests for those properties that show OM% as well? I've done 3 fast acting lime apps per season the last 2 years (only 2 years I've been here) and my pH has not changed which tells me my soil just can't hold ANYTHING.
which lime are you using, at what rate, and how are you measuring the pH? I have very sandy soil in SE CT and significantly raised the pH in 1 year with 3 apps.

Bales9er
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Re: Professional sports fields - pH maintenance?

Post by Bales9er » May 8th, 2020, 12:28 pm

Solucal, 9 LBS/K. Logan labs soil test each year to test

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Re: Professional sports fields - pH maintenance?

Post by TimmyG » May 9th, 2020, 11:28 pm

Bales9er, your TEC is indeed terrible. My current TEC is above 6 with OM above 4%. I believe these numbers can be attributed to the lawn being 22 years old. Let's see how the humates work out for you.

Bales9er
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Re: Professional sports fields - pH maintenance?

Post by Bales9er » May 10th, 2020, 6:13 am

Haha yup it sure is. I'm hoping for a miracle with the humates and Kelp Help applications but we'll see.

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