Bulletin of the Green Section of the Unites States Golf Association 2(10) 295-296 (1922)

Charcoal and sour soil.Three of our greens are situated on either side of our skating and curling pond, and while the drainage on each is reasonably good, yet it is slow in comparison with our other greens. An examination of the soil shows that it is sour. We use considerable charcoal in our kitchen at the clubhouse and there is quite an amount of charcoal dust that accumulates. If we do not use this dust we, of course, have to put it in our stock pile. Can this dust be used to advantage on these three greens of which I speak, or would this be time and material wasted?—(New Jersey.)

We think the first thing you should do in the way of improving your greens is to drain them thoroughly. Whether the soil is acid or not is a relatively small matter as far as the bent grasses are concerned. Excellent bent grass turf can be produced on acid soil, and in fact there is quite a tendency now to fertilize so that the soil of greens will become acid where the bents are used; this is done to discourage weeds. Poorly-drained greens, however, are never satisfactory, and too much attention can not be paid to the drainage. Both under-drainage and surface-drainage are highly important. It is possible that it will be necessary to build your greens up if the water table is near the surface. As for the use of charcoal, we have obtained no results from it from the standpoint of changing the chemical nature of the soil. It does help under certain conditions to improve the texture of the soil, and of course darkens the soil if used in considerable quantities. Charcoal is one of the most inert matters known. It decays exceedingly slowly, and since it has been tested as a soil amendment as far back as modern literature goes it is reasonable to suppose that it would be used very generally if it possessed any considerable value.