Soil Structure and Turf
Fred Newcombe
10 minute read.

The third component of the PJC Healthy Turf Circle involves the connection between soil structure and turf. To review what the PJC Healthy Turf Circle is, visit our post “Healthy Soil Grows Healthy Turf”. Furthermore, our previous two blogs covered how Soil Chemistry and Soil Biology relate to organic turf care. Now, let’s dig into the importance of soil structure…

the connection of soil structure on turf depicted in PJC's Healthy Turf Circle

Soil Structure

First, let’s establish what soil structure is. Soil structure is the arrangement of soil particles and how they group together in the form of aggregates. It’s important to note that PJC Organic believes in working with native soil. Accordingly, our goal is to influence the nutrient holding capacity of the soil by addressing cation exchange capacity (CEC) and organic matter deficiencies. Moreover, humic acids and fulvic acids are a tremendous option to help influence soil CEC and are found in soil as “HUMUS”.

Organic Matter

Secondly, let’s establish what organic matter is. Organic matter is defined as dead and decaying plant and animal matter in the soil. Small roots, grass clippings, chopped leaves—and PJC Organic Fertilizers and Soil Conditioners—all help supply soil organic carbon to the rhizosphere. Soils with higher organic matter and CEC can better hold onto water and nutrients and make them available for the turf plant when it needs them. This statement holds true no matter what the soil type—addressing CEC and Organic Matter improves soil tilth. Sandy soil structure improves with increased organic matter by binding sand together to form aggregates. Conversely, in clay soils, organic matter reduces its cohesive nature to make it more crumbly. The diagram below demonstrates the importance of well-structured soils. 

the connection of soil structure and turf, diagram depicting water and air movement through well structured and poorly structured soil
Source: Victorian Department of Agriculture
Practical Approach

“Humus is created from life, for life and by life” Raoul France. 

Humus can take millennia to develop in a native soil on their own. By adding humic acids in the form of ‘humates’, we encourage healthier soil by adding more binding sites for cations. The turf plant is constantly discarding root cells and excreting organic substances for microbes to eat. In turn, the microbes break down the organic matter into minerals for the plants to eat. Additionally, PJC Organic recommends returning grass clippings for added organic matter into the top layer of the rhizosphere. The constant supply of organic carbon is critical to changing soil structure over time. Astoundingly, 1% increase in organic matter helps the soil hold approximately 20,000 gallons water more per acre.

Proven Products

             Turf plants and the microbes in the rhizosphere are constantly using, adding, and changing the soil structure. Therefore, soil structure can be very difficult to influence. PJC Organic Fertilizers and Soil Conditioners are formulated to deliver organic matter and humates to the soil in a low dose manner. In addition, coupled with cultural practices, we have developed an effective way to dramatically improve soil quality and expedite the shift in underlying soil conditions. The following products play a large part in influencing soil structure and turf growth.

PJC ProHealthy Turf 7-0-2+ Fertilizer

Our fertilizers contain plant and animal proteins that naturally deliver food sources for microbes and organic matter for longer feed cycles. Our PJC ProHealthy Turf  7-0-2+ fertilizer contains added humates to get more bang for your buck during fertilizer applications.

PJC ProHealthy Turf Charge-S3

Our proprietary PJC ProHealthy Turf Charge-S3 soil conditioner contains biochar which directly increases soil organic carbon, while also providing molasses as a carbohydrate source for microbes. In addition, easily digestible nitrogen sources round out the makeup of the product which make it great for quick turf green up and for germinating seeds.

PJC ProHealthy Turf BOOST+S3

Our newest product, PJC ProHealthy Turf BOOST+S3, contains humates, calcium compounds to increase bioavailability of nutrient minerals in the rhizosphere. We added chelated iron to aid in photosynthesis and chlorophyll production which stabilizes the turf plant without added shoot growth.

In conclusion, our soil tests have indicated that after 3 years of consistent use of our fertilizers and soil conditioners, CEC and Organic matter can get into a suitable range. This can only improve your soil’s ability to sustain itself for the years to come. So, if you’re looking for product pricing and additional info: Contact us! We’re here to discuss what your soil needs to grow healthy turf!