100% Perlite PERLITE

The Schundler Company
10 Central Street
Nahant, MA 01908
732-287-2244 www.schundler.com


By Bruce Schundler

In North America, there often has been little or no concern about the use of water in maintaining lawns and landscaping. Almost everywhere water was available, and homeowners only had to turn on the tap to get some water. As a result, few thought about the need to conserve water when designing and constructing new lawns.

Unfortunately, our weather patterns have changed, our population has grown beyond the ability of our aquifers and mountains to supply sufficient water, and development has outpassed our water supplies. Consequently, more and more states have suffered water shortages from draughts, the politics of water have become a major economic and practical consideration, and more and more people are seeking ways of conserving water.

Having heard about the successful use in Japan of 100% perlite under under golf greens and in turf grasses, and the growth of 100% perlite substrate in Israel, many people are beginning to look at alternatives, and considering trying to copy what people in other parts of the world have been doing for years, namely, building lawns and gardens which can be enjoyed with the least amount of water.

In June 1999, the pictures below were taken of a home where a 2 to 3 inch layer of fine perlite was spread over the topsoil. After leveling and applying enough water to hold down the perlite, sod was placed on top.

In this picture, the contractor has leveled the perlite,
set his centerline,
and is slowly laying down rows of fresh sod.

The first observation of the contactor and his workers was that the perlite was a little dusty (the grade used was fine grade as described by the Perlite Institute's grading system---see Standard Gradations for Horticultural Perlite ---also called PerLome by many manufacturers of the Perlite Institute.) This grade is used because the fine grade helps prevent compaction of clay-lome soils, and has far more surface area than traditional large grades of perlite and therefore holds far more water.

After the sod was laid down, the contractor and his workers found the perlite made the job much, much easier. It was easy to roll down, it adapted easily to the many contours, and it produced a very flat and very even "finished" look.

A beautiful house made more beautiful
with a lawn that will require far less water
than any of the neighbors.

These new 100% perlite designs have continued to be successful. And they are being recommended and used by commerical landscaping companies, landscape architects, and property owners in more and more projects.

A year later, our 100% perlite lawn is healthy, beautiful, and doing well! Technical Notes:

Coarse grades of perlite have been used for years for many peat mixes, the use of 100% perlite has been investigated for several years now. Essentially, perlite offers many advantages: it is lightweight, it can absorb and provide a large amount of both air and water, it is sterile and has a neutral pH, and it can be very tolerate of subtle changes in soil conditions. For these reasons, its use in hydroponic growing bags has been growing steadily throughout the world. And in many of these hydroponic systems, finer grades began to be used more and more since the finer grades of perlite can provide more than enough air for plants, and also retain substantial amounts of water. With this in mind, many have turned to using finer grades of perlite in both regular container (pot) production, and in landscaping.

Several years ago, representatives of Agrakal and Habonim Industries in Israel began working with landscape and landscaping companies to convince them of the advantages of using 100% fine perlite in large commercial outdoor containers. And today, one of the more popular and successful systems is being used in very large pots and planters in malls, hotels, resorts, convention centers, roof top gardens, and private commercial landscaping. (For more information on how these containers are designed, see Using 100% Perlite in Israel for Planters and Containers. or Using 100% Perlite in Israel in Commercial Landscaping and Under Sod

For more information about these uses of perlite in turf grass applications, landscaping, and/or container growing, please call or contact us at:

The Schundler Company
10 Central Street
Nahant, MA 01908
(ph)732-287-2244 (fax) 732-287-4185
email: info@schundler.com

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