Better Soil. Better Plants. Better Planet.


Specific Info - Sports Fields


Over the years questions have risen about the advantages of soil conditioners for sports field construction and maintenance. Experts in the profession know first hand the importance of using them. Roger Bossard, head groundskeeper for the Chicago White Sox says, “There are two main factors in the success of maintaining any sports field. First the field must be constructed properly. Making the right decisions on building tools, turf, drainage systems, etc is key. Second, that after construction the field is properly cared for and maintained. Soil conditioners are a major part of both construction and maintenance.” Soil conditioners made from calcined montmorillonite clay are used to manage moisture, reduce compaction, and increase drainage on your sports field. They can be used during construction on the turf areas of your field to improve rootzone growth and also on the skinned areas of your baseball or softball field to enhance footing. This technology was first introduced for use on major league baseball fields in the 1960s.

Then head groundskeeper for the White Sox, Gene Bossard, used this emerging technology to give his team the home advantage. Gene perfected the use of soil conditioners on his field to maintain its health and beauty and also learned how they could improve footing on the infield for the team. Gene Bossard regularly incorporated soil conditioners into the maintenance of his field and has been heralded as a pioneer in using this technology. Roger, Gene’s son, learned from his father about the importance of using soil conditioners. As an expert in his field, Bossard teaches others about field maintenance and shares his love for the job with up and coming groundskeepers.

Understanding the concept of how a soil conditioner works and its use is not rocket science. Calcined montmorillonite clays make up the best soil conditioners. When incorporated into the soil the conditioner creates spaces so the roots grow deeper thus toughening up your grass. As a footing for the skinned areas of your ball field, soil conditioners absorb excess water because of their capacity to suck up moisture; they also help with traction as an athlete is running.

Bossard says, “When we start a project, our approach revolves around three considerations. These concepts don’t just work at the Major League level. If anything, they’re even more important to consider on municipal and academic projects.”

Improve soils ability to retain water and build stronger turf with clay from MINERALMAXX

How coarse or fine soil feels depends on the size of the mineral particles. Sand, silt and clay, the major mineral particles, are responsible for the size and number of the soil’s pore spaces. Soil pore space determines the amount of air and oxygen, the drainage rate and capacity to hold nutrients. Sand grains are the largest particles and create large pores. Sandy soils drain quickly and do not hold water and nutrients well. While sand can be seen by the naked eye, silt particles are microscopic and feel velvety and smooth. Silt creates smaller pores in the soil and results in better water retention. Clay particles are the tiniest of all. When moist, they cling together and feel sticky. Clay soils have a tremendous capacity to hold water and nutrients.

Soils are rarely pure sand, silt or clay but rather a mixture of all three. They’re often grouped into one of 12 textural classes based on the relative proportions of these particles. Sands and loamy sands, for example, are more than 70 percent sand and share the characteristics of sand. Clays, sandy clays and silty clays are more than 40 percent clay and exhibit the characteristics of clay. Loams, the ideal soils celebrated in so much gardening literature, share the attributes of both—good aeration, drainage and moisture and nutrient retention. Most vegetables do best in loamy soil. It is possible to grow a beautiful ornamental garden in any soil type, as long as the plants are adapted to the particular soil conditions.

Soil Structure How readily soil particles cling together to form aggregates, called crumbs or peds, is the measure of its structure. This determines how permeable a soil is, how well it retains moisture and nutrients, and how easily it allows plant roots to penetrate and grow.