Trials held on three Penrith sporting fields have shown that the use of recycled organic compost as a topdressing or during construction will reduce the hardness of turf playing surfaces, even during times of drought.
(L-R) Tim Rogers, Executive Director of the Sustainability Programs Division of DECC and Alan Travers, General Manager of Penrith City Council, inspect the Jamison Park sporting field that has been top-dressed with recycled organics
The trials conducted by the Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW (DECC) and Penrith City Council between November 2005 and April 2006, showed that using recycled organics in tandem with sub-soil aeration can reduce sporting field hardness by 25 to 40%, depending on levels of irrigation. The need for irrigation, fertilisers and mined soils and sands will also be reduced.
The three heavily compacted sporting fields used in the Penrith trial had a clay base, infertile subsoil, poor drainage and variable turf cover. One field was irrigated occasionally and the other two relied on natural rainfall. During the five month trial period, Penrith received 245mm of rain, which is half the average rainfall.
Not surprisingly, the trials showed that regardless of soil composition, turf growth and recovery is limited without some irrigation. Topdressing with recycled organics is therefore best done in spring or during times of good rainfall. Mechanical sweeping should also be used to ensure that nutrients penetrate the root zone.
As a result of the trials, Penrith City Council will introduce a local service for the collection of food waste and garden organics, then buy back recycled organics for use on its sporting fields, parks and gardens.
How to purchase recycled organic compost
Councils can purchase compost from facilities around the state. Prices range between $10 and $30 per m3 and suppliers should be asked to show their Standards Mark Licence Certificate.
For a list of suppliers visit register.sai-global.com and enter 4454 into the 'known standard' field.
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