Monday, May 17, 2010

Charleston Battery, Organics

Horticulture Hotline 05/17/2010
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

While tending our booth at the Charleston Battery’s “Go Green Expo” May 9, 2010, it reminded me how far we have come in the last few years with “green” products. Some of these products may have been available in the past; however, I have been paying closer attention to them since Possum’s is the official supplier to The Charleston Battery who tries to be as “green” as possible.

The Charleston Battery has geo-thermal wells, solar panels, fish for aquatic weed control, mostly an organic playing field, recycle, electric cars, control gnats and mosquitoes with organic products, and they do not sell bottled water at the games, but give away filtered water. . . The Charleston Battery is serious about “green”.

Getting a soil test and having a knowledgeable person interpret the results for you, is the first step towards a great landscape. Incorporating organics into your fertilizer program will go a long way to “fixing” the soil instead of putting a band aid on the problems.

After several years of using organics at The Battery, Kevin Duris (Head Grounds Superintendent) and Shannon Summersett (Assistant Grounds Superintendent) have been able to maintain a high quality playing surface and reduce the costs by a half. The first year the budget was higher; however, every year following that the budget has come down significantly.

For drainage and footing, The Battery is a sand based pitch (English soccer lingo for field). They actually have to remove organic matter as it builds up in the soil because the organic matter slows down the drainage. Core aeration and topdressing with sand (the field is sand based) is a cultural way they remove thatch and organic matter. They also use BGK 7500, an organic product that contain thatch eating bacteria, to remove unwanted organic thatch buildup.

I do not recommend that homeowners top dress with sand because that can cause more problems than you are trying to fix. Aerate with a coring aerator and leave the plugs on top of the ground and apply BGK 7500 will help with the thatch. Cotton Burr Compost and Seaumic will also help reduce thatch.

Next week, I’ll write about other organic options to “fix” situations in the landscape. Also, remember to remove products (organic or not) from sidewalks and other hard surfaces, so rainfall will not wash the products into our storm drain system.