AgriBoostTM Soil Amendment:
A Multitude of Benefits for Golf Greens and the Environment

AgriBoostTM is an all-natural mineral soil amendment that provides many benefits to turf, turfgrass managers, and the environment. It is ideally suited as a component of root zone mixes for golf greens, where it has proven benefits for the management of nutrients & water for turf. At the same time, AgriBoostTM helps in reducing the environmental impact of fertilization, and conserves natural as well as economic resources.

Qualities and Benefits

AgriBoostTM is a mineral material crushed to approximately medium sand size. Unlike plant-based amendments like peat or compost, it will not shrink or decompose over time.

AgriBoostTM has a high water holding capacity, and most of this held water is plant-available. In a study of soil amendments for golf putting greensby Dr. Wayne Kussow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, only peat moss held more plant-available water in the root zone mix than AgriBoostTM. This water retention helps to prevent leaching and increases plant water use efficiency. This has already been proven with tomato production in regular soil, where AgriBoostTM reduced the amount of water needed to grow 1kg of tomatoes by over 27%. This translates into a big savings in irrigation water, or an increase in the area that can be irrigated with a given amount of water.

AgriBoostTM has a very high cation exchange capacity (CEC): 20 cmol kg- 1 for divalent cations like calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg), 93 cmol kg-1 for potassium (K) and ammonium (NH4+). Sodium (Na), which is detrimental to plants, is retained very little. CEC is the ability to hold certain plant nutrients in a plant available form but protect them from leaching. AgriBoostTM’s CEC is double that of a competitive, clinoptilolite -based material (GSA, see Fig. 1 & 2 below). Most zeolitic products get their CEC from the mineral clinoptilolite,
which in pure form has a CEC of 254 cmol kg-1. AgriBoostTM’s zeolite is phillipsite, with a much higher CEC of 387 cmol kg-1. It also has high ion selectivity for K+ and NH4+ over Ca2+ and Mg2+ (see Fig. 1 compared to Fig. 2). This selective and very high cation exchange capacity is the basis for increased fertilizer efficiency with K and N fertilizers. Water-soluble potash and ammonium fertilizers essentially become slow-release nutrient reservoirs once they are absorbed by AgriBoostTM. In addition, the selective retention of potassium and ammonium, even if excesses of calcium, magnesium, or sodium are present, allows the use of irrigation waters high in soluble Ca, Mg, and Na, such as water from sewage treatment plants or diluted seawater.

Figure 1: CEC for Calcium and Magnesium of Root zone Mixes (10% v/v amendment) and Pure Amendments

Figure 2: CEC for Potassium and Ammonium of Root zone Mixes (10% v/v amendment) and Pure Amendments

AgriBoostTM provides a reservoir of micronutrients, especially iron, due to its unique mineralogy. Aside from the zeolite phillipsite, it contains palagonite, olivine, hematite, and other minerals that slowly release micronutrients over time. This is an advantage specially in highly weathered and/or sandy soils that are very low in soil organic matter.

AgriBoostTM is an unprocessed (except crushing) and unadulterated natural, non-toxic Jordanian product. It is recovered through environmentally friendly mining without the use of scarce water resources. These facts have been honored by the Organic Materials Research Institute in the US by certifying certifying it as “organic” (OMRI Listed).

AgriBoostTM Advantages for Intensive Turfgrass Management

The composition of the root zone medium for high-quality, intensively managed turfgrass becomes increasingly important because of concerns for environmental impacts and resource conservation. This is especially true under fully irrigated conditions and/or on highly permeable subsoils.

Once in the root zone, irrigation water should be prevented from draining away but held lightly enough for uptake by plant roots. AgriBoostTM has a high water holding capacity, and plant roots can easily access this held water. This results in higher water use efficiency, saving irrigation water, time needed for irrigation, and reduced leaching potential. However, this high water holding
capacity does not come at the cost of slow water infiltration. Unlike clay-based soil amendments, AgriBoostTM has a mostly sandy texture that does not clog pores to impede infiltration, nor does it swell and shrink with wetting and drying. A sand-based root zone mix for greens containing = 20% (by volume) AgriBoostTM will meet USGA specifications for root zone mixes. Dr. Wayne Kussow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is testing a root zone mix with 10% v/ v AgriBoost. Its texture was found to be 98% sand, 1% silt & clay, and 1% gravel, exceeding the 1993 USGA recommendations of sand > 92%, silt & clay < 8%, and gravel < 3%. AgriBoost can be used in new construction or for upgrading existing greens. A golf course in Bethesda, MD has confirmed that topdressing with sand containing 10% v/v AgriBoostTM is no problem.

The ability of AgriBoostTM to selectively hold potassium and ammonium- N dramatically reduces the chances for these nutrients to leach out of the turf’s root zone. AgriBoostTM added to a sand root zone mix at the recommended rate of 10% by volume can reduce the leaching potential for ammonium-N by 90% (MacKown & Tucker, Univ. of Arizona, 1985). More nitrogen will be available in a slow-release form for the turf, and less will be lost to the environment. The same is true for potassium (K).

AgriBoostTM Questions?

Additional technical information, the actual results of the studies mentioned, and recommendations for the use of AgriBoostTM for specific crops and applications are available on request. Please do not hesitate to contact ASI Specialities’ Director of Research with any questions regarding AgriBoostTM:

Sebastian Braum, PhD
Tel: 816-668-7705
Email: sebastian.braum

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