Agromin and Waste Management of Antelope Valley are collaborating to rehabilitate the turf at the City of Lancaster’s (CA) James C. Gilly National Soccer Center, which boasts 35 premium soccer fields.

“The Soccer Center fields require over one million gallons of water per acre per year from an on-site well in order to stay healthy and green — the City of Lancaster sees this soil enhancement project as a continuation of its commitment to building a more sustainable community,” said City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “We are excited to partner with Agromin and the local Waste Management team in this joint effort to make Lancaster a more sustainable place to live, work, and play.”

As part of this effort, Agromin’s Turf Rescue product, which collects organic material from providers such as Waste Management, will be applied to reduce water usage; increase the soil’s ability to absorb water; deepen root structure; and decrease water runoff. Additionally, the compost used on the soccer fields will be 100 percent organic.

“The soil in many of the soccer fields has high sodium levels,” said Rick Wilson, Agromin’s chief technology officer. “The sodium causes the soil structure (porosity) to deteriorate, so water cannot move into the soil and reach the roots. The soil is also highly compacted due to the intensive play on the fields. Currently, much of the water doesn’t always soak in. Instead, the water puddles after a watering or rain and evaporates or runs off. Turf Rescue can address these soil health challenges.”

Turf Rescue is a patent-pending formulation that includes compost, biochar and minerals. Biochar, a natural black carbon residue produced from heating wood under an oxygen-deficient environment at high temperatures, absorbs water while collecting CO2 from the atmosphere. It is found in abundance as a result of vegetation fires in the world’s most fertile agriculture soils.

“Each year, the fields at the Lancaster National Soccer Center get a workout during soccer tournaments and practices,” said Josh Mann, Municipal and Community Affairs Manager for Waste Management of Antelope Valley.” As the environmental services partner with the City of Lancaster, we are thrilled to be supporting the City’s sustainability efforts to help keep this important community venue green.”

“The combination of materials used in Turf Rescue will make the soil much more porous,” said Wilson. “Once applied, water will reach deep into the soil instead of remaining on the surface where it would eventually evaporate. Once the soil begins to adsorb water, salts can then be leached out, further enhancing the porosity. The grass roots will naturally extend further down, looking for the moisture retained in the improved soil structure. Deeper root systems mean greater water availability.”

Agromin will first demonstrate the efficacy of the product on Lancaster’s most water intensive fields (West Fields 11 and 12). The first step is to conduct multiple passes of deep tine aeration followed by field top dressing with Turf Rescue. Next comes several cycles of deep watering (leeching) of the salts, Wilson says it will take about a month to see a visual difference in the quality of the turf, at which time watering rates will be reduced.

“If all goes as expected, the Soccer Center should be able to cut back on their field watering,” says Wilson. “The turf will be healthier and stronger without puddling.”

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