Originally Posted by Kiril
What you might think is thatch at first glance is not. The clod is ~ 8-10" deep, rooting extends well beyond that despite the compaction. Further, the area that is clearly well aggregated is a result of topsoil additions (sandy loam), core aeration (3-4 times over ~10-12 years) with annual overseed & compost topdress. This is a good example of how ineffective core aeration is at dealing with deep compaction, and why people should address these issues before planting out.
This particular area of the site is an irrigation nightmare in it's current state. This soil is prone to becoming quickly "swampy" as a result of the compacted layer, however I have never personally seen standing water in this area despite the compaction. Allowing the soil to dry too much results in browning out in the summer despite other areas on the same site (and in same area) not browning.
Just an FYI, just because something exhibits hydrophobic properties when dry does not mean it stays that way when wetted (ex. thatch).
A good close up of the roots really show a nice open growth pattern w/out any tightly woven roots and stems at all. That black stuff is compost then?
Hmmm, Now your latest picture disappeared, Hmmm...
I believe you about it turning 'swampy' quick, but I wonder what the deal is with the browning out, in some spots, during the summer... One would expect from those pictures that roots 10" deep into a clay soil that would never dry out at that depth, could withstand almost any kind of drought...
Do you soak the turf enough to keep the compaction zone moist all summer? or does that block dry out down there, sometimes?
Have you had any preliminary thoughts as to what might
be going on? that would cause spotty brownout?
I agree with your analysis about hydrophobic material not holding water, completely, all the time but, we've got some thatch lawns that can hold puddles for a long time...