With many areas of the country entering a rainy period, I have received a number of calls of which material is best for my infield? - Professional/Select size gradation or Drying Agent/Rapid Dry gradation?
The answer is in the details. There are many suppliers of calcined clay products in the country. Turface, Pro's Choice and Diamond Pro are the most popular.
Calcined clay is typically a montmorillonite clay that is fired (calcined) at a temperature not less than 1200 degrees. At that time the clay is now a ceramic and is screened for processing and bagging. Typically, the Professional/Select gradation will have over 80% of the material retained on the 16 screen. Drying Agent/Rapid Dry will have 80% pass through the 30 mesh. Due to the fact that the Drying Agent/Rapid Dry gradation consists of a smaller particle size, it will cover the surface area of a puddle better and thus dry the wet area quicker. With that said, the smaller particle size will quickly be mixed/lost into the infield mix profile. Also, as a general rule of thumb, adding a smaller particle size to your infield mix profile can lead to a poorer performing infield mix over time. The Professional/Select size of calcined clay will also dry a puddle/wet area very effectively. Furthermore, the material has a better chance to stay on the surface after the rain event and continue to provide a topdressing. Always ensure that the correct depth of conditioner is present.
In conclusion, selecting the best product can be best approached by testing the sand/silt/clay of your existing infield mix. After that information is obtained, a better decision can be made. In general, adding a larger particle size has a lesser chance to adversely effect the infield mix over time.
For my money, I would stock only one product, that is the Professional/Select product to use after rain events. You get more bag for your buck. There is a reason why these products are used at the highest levels of play.
Go to j-dturf.com to learn more about J&D Turf.