Water and Nutrient Availability as Influenced by a Porous Ceramic Soil Amendment

Grady L. Miller

An increase in water retention may delay drought damage of grasses grown in sand-based putting greens with high percolation rates and low water retention capacity. The field portion of this study involved comparing water stress indices of grasses grown on a soil amended with a porous ceramic, sand, and porous ceramic:sand combination, compared to a wetting agent treatment; whereas, the greenhouse portion of the study evaluated nutrient availability and water retention as influenced by different concentrations of the porous ceramic soil amendment. In the field study, soil and surface temperatures were lower in sand or porous ceramic treated plots compared to those that received the wetting agent. Statistical analysis of quality and localized dry spot (LDS) indicated that the plots amended with porous ceramic to be the highest in quality and with the least LDS symptoms. Plots treated with wetting agent rated the worst in both evaluations. In the greenhouse study, generally the greater the percentage porous ceramic in the media, the greater length of time passed before the plants showed signs of water stress. Tissue (Cynodon dactylon x C. transvaalensis var. ‘Tifdwarf’) analysis indicated that K supply was increased with increasing concentrations of porous ceramic in the growing media.