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Introduction:

This test was performed to investigate whether the use of  SoilTech improves grass shoot density (thickness of turf,) root depth, and blade color in Bermuda grass in Oklahoma clay soil conditions.

Purpose:

To compare and determine the effectiveness of  SoilTech and standard chemical fertilizer used together, versus standard chemical fertilizers only, being used on Arizona Bermuda grass in clay soil conditions.

Test Site:

Three 200 square feet test sites were selected in full sun exposure.

Tests Performed:

On April 25, 1999, the following tests for each plot were conducted.

Grass Root Depth - It is generally assumed that observing grass root depth by length and by growth pattern can indicate if there is a compacted soil challenge.  A two foot hole was dug leaving one side free of shovel marks.  Masses of roots running horizontal and also the absence of roots below certain depths were observed.

Grass Shoot Density - It is assumed that turf density can be affected by compacted clay soils. The number of turf shoots per square inch was counted. Twenty random samples within each plot were counted to give an average result.

Grass Blade Color - Observation of grass blade coloration was observed to help assess the general health of the turf.

On October 15, 1999, the same tests as described above were performed on each of the test sites.

Control:

Three applications of 20-5-10 (N-P-K) fertilizer were applied on May 1, 1999, July 1, 1999, and September 1, 1999. The grass was irrigated on each of the test sites with an equal quantity of water throughout the testing period on a regular basis.

Application:

On May 1, 1999, SoilTech was applied at the dilution rate of 2 oz. SoilTech per 1 gallon of water at a coverage rate of 4 oz. SoilTech per 1000 square feet to test sites #2 and #3. The first fertilizer application as described above was applied to all three test sites. Nothing else was added except 1/4" of water to all three test sites. On May 10, 1999, a second application of SoilTech was applied to test site #3 at the same rate as above. All three sites were watered 1/4".

Test Results:

Grass Root Depth:

Site #1- Fertilizer Only

 

April 25

October 15

Avg. root depth 

2.5"

3.2"

Deepest root

3.75"

5.75"

Average root depth increase - 28%

Site #2 - fertilizer and one application of SoilTech

 

April 25

October 15

Avg. root depth 

2.25"

6.25"

Deepest root

3.5"

9.5"

Average root depth increase - 178%

Site #3 - fertilizer and two applications of SoilTech

 

April 25

October 15

Avg. root depth 

2.75"

7.25"

Deepest root

4.25"

12.25"

Average root depth increase - 164%

Grass Root Depth:

Site #1 - Fertilizer Only

 

April 25

October 15

Avg. shoots per sq. inch

1.7

2

Minimum shoots per sq. inch

0

0

Maximum shoots per sq. inch

4 4

Grass shoot density increase of 18%

Site #2 - Fertilizer and one application of SoilTech

 

April 25

October 15

Avg. shoots per sq. inch

1.65

4

Minimum shoots per sq. inch

0

3

Maximum shoots per sq. inch

3 6

Grass shoot density increase of 138%

Site #3 - Fertilizer and two applications of SoilTech

 

April 25

October 15

Avg. shoots per sq. inch

1.6

4.2

Minimum shoots per sq. inch

0

3

Maximum shoots per sq. inch

3 6

Grass shoot density increase of 163%

Grass Blade Color: April 25

The observed coloration of all three sites is equal. The general health of the turf was average with a light green color with no yellowing except around the lower shoot areas. The soil is partially exposed with a few small bare areas.

Grass Blade Color: October 15

Site #1: It is quite apparent at first glance the difference in coloration between Site #1 and the other two sites. The coloration varies from a light yellow to a light green with a few areas of moderate green hue. The shoots are light yellow in appearance to a light green. The turf has a stressed appearance and the blades are finer in appearance. A few small bare areas are present, as well as several areas of thin turf density.

Site #2: This site is adjacent to Site #1, and the difference is remarkable. The coloration is dark green with little variation in color. The shoots are thicker than in Site #1 and are moderately green to dark green. The turf is noticeably thicker and healthier in appearance. No bare ground is seen anywhere on Site #2.

Site #3: This site is indistinguishable from Site #2 in appearance. It is adjacent to Site #2 and only the marker between them separates the two.

Interpretation:

The three tests performed for this project support the effectiveness of SoilTech on clay soils. These tests indicate substantial increase in grass shoot density and root depth. It is widely believed that as the root goes, so goes the plant. The root mass was not measured in this test project, but visual examination of the roots show that Site #1 had considerably less root mass than either Site #2 or Site #3. Rhizome development was considerably more prominent in the two sites treated with SoilTech. As noted above, the general health of the turf of Site #1 versus Site#2 and #3 is obvious by visual examination.

Conclusion:

The application of SoilTech on clay soil conditions in Oklahoma has substantially improved grass shoot density, root depth, and blade color on Arizona Bermuda grass.