Volume 1, Spring 2001, Page 3
DANVERS TAKES COST-EFFECTIVE APPROACH TO NEW MULTI-USE ATHLETIC FIELD CONSTRUCTION
The town of Danvers, MA, wanted to build a multi-use park consisting of two back-to-back softball fields with a soccer field in the middle. As is always the case, it had to be done inexpensively, but it had to be up to the high standards that Jack Schmidgal, Tree and Grounds Supervisor and President of the New England Sports Turf Managers Association, had already established for the town.
To save the town money, Jack Schmidgal had the existing soil analyzed for texture, pH, and organic content. He found that they had a sandy loam that was 70% sand, 19% silt, and 11% clay. Even though a high proportion of sand was present, the percentage of fines from the silt and clay was too high, potentially contributing to drainage problems and compaction. Also the pH was too acidic for turfgrass at 5.7 and would have to be adjusted.
Pioneer Valley Compost, marketed
by AGRESOURCE, is spread.
One year later: multi-use
field is ready for play.
Using the laboratory data, Jack put together a plan that would decrease the percentage of fines by importing and incorporating a three-inch layer of medium grain sand into the existing soil. Littleton Environmental chose Pioneer Valley Compost (sold by AGRESOURCE) because of its high organic content and fine particle size—to increase the cation exchange capacity so that nutrients would be made more available to the turfgrass.
The target was hit for a near-perfect root-zone mix. The amount of fines was cut in half and the new textural classification was 84% sand, 10% silt, and 5% clay. The pH was now 6.4. The end-result is a soil-based root zone that can withstand compaction from high levels of use and will support healthy turf year after year.
The town realized substantial savings over the costly traditional approach of taking out existing soil and hauling in an eight-inch layer of root-zone mix. Instead they realized the much lower cost of importing, spreading, and incorporating sand and compost. Due to proper design and construction, the cost to maintain the fields will be lower. The environmental impact on the project site and off site was significantly reduced. Lastly, the town of Danvers has maintained its reputation for having some of the best athletic fields in Massachusetts.
AGRESOURCE IS AWARDED STATEWIDE CONTRACT
AGRESOURCE, INC. was awarded the Massachusetts Statewide Contract (FAC19-A) for Farm, Lawn, Garden, and Outdoor Application products for the supply of compost in all six state regions. The contract is intended to streamline purchasing and will be used by all state agencies, political subdivisions, public schools, and authorities.
AGRESOURCE was chosen because of its ability to guarantee end-users with a consistent high-quality compost that meets strict specification requirements and is suitable for a variety of landscape applications.
ARE YOU PLANTING A $200 TREE IN $1.00 SOIL?
It is very common in most landscape plantings to have a plant material to soil cost ratio of 200:1. Plant material is selected cautiously for site plans because of cost and aesthetic properties. Many factors are weighed during selection including mature height and width, climatic concerns, color, texture, disease tolerance, and soil pH.
Root-zone specifications rarely contain the many attributes necessary for plant material to thrive. The limiting factor in most plant material growth and health is soil quality.
Specifying soil amendments for plant material root zones is important due to the lack of topsoil available containing a living biomass. As the cost of plant material installation and maintenance continues to rise, carefully selecting soil amendments to decrease plant material loss and maintenance becomes more important.
Developing root-zone specifications that include minimum and maximum levels of pH, organic matter, soluble salts, and micro and macro nutrients from carefully selected organic sources will benefit plant material growth and health.
The supplier of the soil amendment must be required to produce this valuable information and guarantee consistency throughout the project at hand.
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