Turf Tips: Overcome Common Soil Challenges

Golf course superintendent shares how to overcome common soil challenges to grow healthy turfgrass

Superintendent Justin Browning, of Clarksville, Tennessee solves common soil challenges of hard clay and anaerobic soils


  • Soil penetrant (Penterra) gets water moving through hard clay, compacted soils
  • Agriox provides time released oxygen. As a result, (Agriox) aids roots in nutrient and water uptake.
  • Use Agriox and Penterra to grow healthier plants using fewer resources

Soil challenges and Solutions Set One

Challenge One: Compacted, hard clay soil prevent water from getting deep into the soil profile, first.

Solution One: Penterra, a wetting agent and soil penetrant, gets water moving quickly ( Penterra PDF)

Soil challenges and Solutions Set Two

Challenge Two: Secondly, Anaerobic soil starves the plant roots of oxygen.

Solution Two: Agriox provides time- released oxygen in the soil, improving roots’ water and nutrient uptake


Clarksville, Tennessee

“My biggest challenge is the soil profile,” said Golf Course Superintendent Justin Browning of Clarksville Country Club in Tennessee.

Older greens, hard clay soils and anaerobic conditions cause growing challenges, said Browning, a golf course industry professional of more than 15 years and Clarksville’s superintendent since 2016.

Soil Challenges and Solution Set One:

When dealing with hard clay, compacted soil, apply Penterra to get the water moving deep into the root zone

Penterra is a soil penetrant that helps get water moving throughout the soil profile.

“That’s why I like to use Penterra,” said Browning, of Geoponics’ soil penetrant, which is the fastest acting on the market.

“It’s a combination style of wetting agent and penetrant. I can make this product my own, using different rates to be more reactive with the weather,” he added.

Like any professional in the field, when he tries a product, he wants to see it’s working.

“You can see this by the dew on the ground and the dew suppression. The surface tension has been broken. It’s getting into the soil where it needs to be,” said Browning. “You could see if you missed a spot.”

Compacted soil is a challenge. However, Penterra is the soil surfactant of choice to get water moving.

“When it’s hot and muggy, you want to use a penetrant, like Penterra, more than a holder,” said Browning.

When considering the best soil surfactant one of the first things to consider is whether water needs to be retained or if it needs to get moving throughout the soil. For Geoponics’ soil surfactants that help hold or retain water, visit SoilSurfactant.com, and consider Humawet and ProfaSorb.

Penterra is one of Geoponics products that helps people to do more with less. As a result, users may save money, time, water and/or other resources.

“Penterra helped me get the soil the way I want it to be, to look consistent all the way down. I don’t have to use a lot of product for it to work. It’s definitely saving money,” said Browning.

Agriox applied to approaches, solving anaerobic soil conditions with time released oxygen.

Agriox applied to approaches. Agriox solves anaerobic soil conditions with time released oxygen.

Soil Challenges and Solution Set Two:

Agriox provides time-released oxygen to address anaerobic soil and increase nutrient and water uptake

Browning applies Agriox because it provides cost savings and better growing conditions.

“We did the first big application, and then we saw the pop afterward,” said Browning, of the healthy turf growing as a result of increasing soil oxygen using Agriox.

The bentgrass greens got the jolt of oxygen they needed by improving the soil quality.

“Anaerobic soil conditions are no good, especially in the summer months when it’s getting hot,” said Browning.

As a result of the soil transforming from oxygen starved to oxygen rich, Agriox keeps roots healthy throughout the year. Agriox’s slow oxygen release is essential for the roots because soil oxygen is a necessity for proper water and nutrient absorption.

Moreover, Penterra and Agriox work together to create healthy soil conditions for growing healthy turf. So, golf course members laud Browning and the crew for providing a great golf game. Because hard and fast is how the players like the turf.

“We have a good firm playing surface. It’s not compacted. It’s just what you want,” said Browning.