Zeolite can help you improve the quality of your turf root zone, protect the environment by saving irrigation water, avoid leaching of nutrients, and make your turfgrass management more sustainable by increasing nutrient availability and using nutrients efficiently.
Root zones for turfgrass need to have certain properties to contribute to a high-quality playing surface and to provide the perfect growing medium for turf:
Because of the heavy food traffic on playing surfaces, sand is often the main component of turf root zones. The right sand provides good aeration, good water infiltration and low compaction potential.
Sand-based root zone media for golf greens or soccer pitches hold less nutrients and water than soil-based root zones, as in push-up greens. This can lead to more leaching into groundwater and increased use of fertilisers and irrigation water. Scientists have been looking for materials that can reduce compaction, improve drainage and retain sufficient water when mixed with sand.
Usually, root zones are a mixture of sand plus some kind of organic material like peat. The organic material added will increase water and nutrient retention. But with time, organic material naturally is decomposed, and layering might be an issue.
Zeolite is a material that you can add to the mix to greatly improve its physical properties. This soil amendment will increase the nutrient holding capacity, the moisture retention and is very stable. When added to heavy soils like in push-up greens, it will improve drainage due to its porosity.
Zeolites occur naturally in areas of former volcanic activity. The mineral Chabazite from the family of Zeolites makes up 68% of the inert material in our product TourTurf® ZSC Zeolite Soil Conditioner.
TourTurf® ZSC is an Italian oven dried and sterilized Chabazite. It is acceptable by the USGA as an inorganic amendment in the construction of putting greens. The product has extraordinary chemical physical properties, such as high and selective cation exchange capacity and high water retention.
Zeolites are crystalline, hydrated aluminosilicates, having infinite, three-dimensional atomic structures. Under the microscope, you can see many internal micropores that can retain water and nutrients like ammonium and potassium. This characteristic will reduce leaching. Chabazite has a very high cation exchange capacity of about 233 meq/100g. Water and nutrients stored in those pores remain plant available.
Studies of Huang Z. T. during his Ph.D. thesis at Cornell University could show that the addition of Clinoptilolite, another Zeolite, to sand-based root zones helped the plants to use water and nutrients more efficiently, the shoot growth could be increased without significant additional irrigation (Huang, Z.T., (1992)). Leaching of fertiliser N could be reduced (Huang, Z.T. and Petrovic, A.M. (1994), Clinoptilolite Zeolite Influence on Nitrate Leaching and Nitrogen Use Efficiency in Simulated Sand Based Golf Greens. Journal of Environmental Quality, 23: 1190-1194. https://doi.org/10.2134/jeq1994.00472425002300060009x).
Zeolites are reported to absorb up to 55% of their weight in water and slowly release it as the plant needs it. This property can prevent root rot and alleviate the effects of droughts.
Use TourTurf® ZSC Zeolite Soil Conditioner on greens, tees and soccer pitches when top-dressing or for backfill after hollow core aerification. Usually, 30 – 50 g/m2 are used for regular, light applications throughout the year. You can also use it during the construction of new greens, tees or pitches and include 5-10% in your soil mix.
If you are fighting with Dry Patch, Localized Dry Spot (LDS) or Fairy Rings, you can use pure TourTurf® ZSC Zeolite Soil Conditioner:
Benefits of TourTurf® ZSC Zeolite Soil Conditioner: