By Justin Beck with Enrique Sanz de Santamaria and Alejandro Battro
ARTi team member Enrique Sanz de Santamaría is currently working in Wellington, Florida on a project we are quite excited about. At the Santa Clara Polo Club, a polo training field 10 totes of 250 gallons each will soon be applied to 22-24 acres of grass. Measurements will be taken to see the reaction of the soil by the addition of the liquid biochar. In Enrique’s own words regarding the objective of the project “The goal of it is to generate a better soil overall and improve the quality of the Polo field, better grass and at the end to have grass that recovers faster and with less fertilizers.”
Santa Clara Polo Club field.
ARTi’s Bernardo del Campo enthuses that the Liquid Char approach is a new method and possess a number of unique advantages over the various forms of conventional biochar, “With Liquid Char the biochar is in a highly particulate form and when added in a liquid mixture the application to soil becomes very easy. Additionally, in liquid form organic nutrients and microbes that are beneficial to the soil can be added in infiltrating into the soil profile where the roots are.”
According to Enrique, the owner of the polo field is planning to apply the liquid biochar to two different polo fields and one practice field. One third of each of the main playing fields will be treated with the Liquid Char primarily where the field is the most impacted which is goal-to-goal. This would be 300 yards from the center going 40 yards out to each side for a total of 6 to 8 acres comprising a large, rectangular area. There will be a control area with only water being added. The training field will receive the Liquid Char in places where it is most needed. Much of these fields are in need of improvement and care so the owner is enthusiastic to see if by adding Liquid Char that the polo field can be brought back to optimal working condition.
ARTi’s Liquid Char gets loaded up for the long journey from Iowa to Florida.
A number of sub-sections of the polo fields will get a full solution of ARTi’s Liquidchar while others will get 50% or 75% or only water as previously mentioned. The plan being that any positive results will point to the ideal amount of biochar that should be applied to polo fields for the best results. Polo is among the sports played on natural turfgrass and therefore has it’s own set traits and requirements. Alejandro Battro of Battro Polo Fields, an international technical consulting firm founded in Argentina (www.battropolofields.com) specializing in providing technical advice for the construction and maintenance of sports fields on turfgrass elaborates on the particular needs of an optimal polo field, “as horses are present in sports such as polo huge hoof pressure is exerted on the turfgrass and the soil. In polo, the horse reaches maximum speed but is continuously braking, accelerating and changing direction. Of all equestrian sports, polo is closest to ‘Pato’ the Argentinean National Sport. Grass and ground are fundamental elements for a good, safe development of the sports activity being carried out on them. The soil and grass must receive and resist the enormous forces exerted by the horses and while braking and accelerating in the minimum of space. The turfgrass-soil complex must be firm enough to alter the surface minimally and sufficiently elastic to receive the horse’s enormous forces and movements.
We must have in mind that it is normal for the polo horse to assert itself on only one leg even if only for seconds and that the pressure on the complex turf-ground is absolutely huge. The soil must not only be adequate but must also work well when adding the action of the root system of the soil.
There is no other sport that exerts such action on the turfgrass-soil as polo since it not only receives the vertical pressure of the leg / s, but also the enormous force of rotation when turning as well as the vertical and horizontal pressure and force when the horse is braking sharply and accelerating in the same manner. The turf must fulfill the functions of keeping the ball rolling, providing surface resistance as well as for rapid recovery of the field after use. It is essential that the soil can be malleable when receiving pressures and forces but at the same time the soil must be resistant to extensive damage.
The turfgrass root system is the one that holds a key degree of importance in its characteristics in that the aerial components of the turfgrass as well as the soil both should have the virtues of elasticity and firmness, two qualities that are in opposition. It is a balance that is often unstable and one where you have to be very careful in terms of proper maintenance.”
All of us involved with the project, ARTi and the Santa Clara Polo Club are greatly anticipating the results of biochar application to the polo fields to see if damaged fields can be remediated and if there is a positive effect on grass growth.
Enrique Sanz de Santamaría unloads ARTi’s Liquidchar on site at the Santa Clara Polo field, FL
ARTi’ Liquidchar on site at Wellington and ready for application once the rain has passed.
Santa Clara Polo Club field in need of biochar application.
ARTi’s Liquid Char being applied to the turfgrass field.
ARTi Liquid Char being applied to section of the polo field in need of treatment.
Multiple totes stand ready for application to the Santa Clara Polo Field.
The Liquid Char is transferred to a liquid fertilizer dispenser for even easier application to the soil.