Unit 3: Turfgrass Soils


A healthy soil environment is essential for successful turfgrass growth. A properly managed rootzone provides water and nutrients to plant roots as well as space for air to reach roots. Factors such as soil texture, compaction, and drainage can affect the movement of air, nutrients, and water within the soil. Understanding the relationship between various soil properties and their influences on turfgrass plants allows managers to identify problems and find solutions to maintain a healthy stand of turfgrass.


Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Explain soil texture and how particle sizes influence the makeup of a rootzone
  • Identify soil texture using the feel (field) method
  • Understand how soil texture affects drainage
  • Explain why drainage is crucial for turfgrass areas
  • List different types of drainage
  • Discuss how soil texture, permeability, and compaction influence internal drainage
  • Describe compaction and how it affects maintained turfgrass areas
  • Make observations regarding compaction indicators, causes of compaction, and areas prone to compaction
  • Discuss surface drainage and the importance of slope
  • Understand sub-surface installed irrigation systems


Turgeon, A. J. (2007). Turfgrass Management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Simon & Schuster.

Puhalla, J., Krans, J., Goatley, M. (1999). Sports Fields. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Brady. N. C., Weil, R. R. (2001). The Nature and Properties of Soils. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Soil Compaction: Causes, Effects, and Control – University of Minnesota

Turfgrass Traffic and Compaction: Problems and Solutions – University of California