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Welcome to the web home for Field, Lab, Earth, the podcast from the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. The podcast all about past and present advances in agronomic, crop, soil, and environmental sciences, our show features timely interviews with our authors about research in these fields.

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Jun 13, 2018

Rapid soil formation in engineered soils, as highlighted in the article “Soil Evolution Par for the Golf Course” with Glen Obear.

Not all of us who go golfing think about what is happening underneath the green. Glen Obear has always been that kind of guy. Since his high school days, he has wanted to be a golf course superintendent – even though he doesn’t play that much golf! What fascinates him is the science of developing a golf course. We may simply see a beautiful, natural-looking terrain, but those rolling hills and magnificent green fields are the product of the hard work of agronomists, soil scientists, and engineers. They manipulate the elements of soil creation to create a terrain that is perfectly suited to its purpose – an engineered soil.  Engineered soils are everywhere – from an urban garden bed to athletic fields to green roofs.

Glen’s internship work at a golf course in Hawaii led him to find an interesting problem that not even his agronomy professors could solve. Iron pan layers called placic layers were developing in the greens between the sand and gravel layers. These layers were preventing the greens from draining water. However, there was little prior literature on these layers developing in engineered soils. He’s now focused his PhD research on these placic layers.

Listen in to learn to hear Glen discuss more of his research on engineered soils and to learn:

  • How a putting green is developed, and how they keep it so green
  • What CORPT means
  • The differences between engineered and natural soils

If you would like more information about this topic, today’s paper is available here: 

It will be freely available from 22 June to 6 July, 2018.

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If you would like to reach out to Glen, you can find him here:


CEU Quiz:

University of Nebraska Turfgrass Science:

“Soils with iron-cemented layers on golf courses in the USA”


Research Spotlight: Automating XRF analysis of turf soils:

Research Spotlight: Iron-Layer Formation in Sand Root Zones:

Field, Lab, Earth is copyrighted to the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.