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Photo © Management of turf on SAND-BASED SYSTEMS By Nick Christians, PhD W hile management of plants on sandy soils is relatively rare in agriculture, it is very common in the turf industry. Sports fields and golf course greens, where all of the soil has been excavated from the site and replaced with a high sand media, are the norm rather than the exception. Many turf managers are faced with the task of growing grass on soil in some parts of their operation and on sand on others. There are some important differences between soil- and sand-based systems and a different approach, particularly in the management of fertility programs, are required for the two areas. One of the main differences will be cation-exchange capacity (CEC), which is defined as the soil’s ability to exchange cations. The cations are a series of positively (+) charged elements in the soil, including hydrogen (H + ), calcium (CA ++ ), magnesium (Mg++), potassium (K + ), sodium (Na), and ammonium (NH4 + ). Each exists in the soil with a positive electrical charge. 18 July 2014 CG_July2014.indd 18 2014-06-12 2:58 PM