Sunday, November 6, 2016

Soil or dirt?

What's the difference between soil and dirt?  Soil is what you grow crops in, while dirt is what you get under your fingernails.

This may be a somewhat lighthearted answer to this question, however, when we stick a shovel in the ground of the golf course, we are quickly reminded of what much of the property used to be--a quarry.  Often times, we find that we're growing turf on something that many people would refer to as dirt, not soil.  The picture below of an old clay pit on site shows the very sandy material on top of an incredibly impermeable clay.

The natural stratification of soils can easily be seen in the old quarry.

With over one million cubic yards of material moved during the original construction of the golf course, what's beneath the surface often resembles a marble cake, as these two different  soils were used as fill material.

These days, what's under the ground may not be seen very often, but this fall's construction brought the issue back to the forefront of our thoughts.  Once again, you can clearly see why some areas never seem to dry out, and others are always droughty.

Drain line crossing #1 fairway.

Bunker drainage on #16.
Upon closer inspection, both of these "soils" look like they might have come from somewhere other than Earth.

"Moon pottery" from #1 on the left and "Martian coffee grounds" from #16 on the right.
Certainly neither of these resemble a potting soil or bagged topsoil that you'll find in the nursery section of the local home improvement store.  So what might be dirt by some folks' standards, is soil for us.  Of course, if Matt Damon can grow crops with this stuff, who are we to complain:

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