Groundskeepers must Strive for Peak Irrigation Efficiency for Turfgrass
There is science behind turfgrass irrigation. However, before we discuss about peak irrigation efficiency, it is important you understand the factors that can affect the irrigation program.
Like majority of plants, turfgrass too absorbs water mainly through its root system. After using the water, the remaining (which forms the majority) is released into the atmosphere through transpiration. The growth of turfgrass is adversely affected if transpiration is higher than absorption of water. Transpiration in turfgrass is dependent on temperature, wind, humidity and light. Hence, to plan an efficient irrigation program, groundskeepers have to take into consideration these factors.
Inefficient Irrigation Can Wreak Havoc
If your irrigation program for turfgrass is inefficient, it will result in wastage of water which is a cause for concern. In addition, it makes the turf more prone to weeds and diseases. Inefficient irrigation programs can also make other management practices, such as fertilization, mowing, verticutting, pest control and aeration, less effective.
In Richmond, VA, the soil conditions are diverse even if climatic factors are the same. Also, Hence, a single recommendation for an efficient irrigation program for turfgrass is next to impossible. Groundskeepers have to customize the program based on the soil and climatic conditions, the use of the turf and the kind of turf.
Creating an Efficient Peak Irrigation Program for Turfgrass
To strive for peak irrigation efficiency for turfgrass, groundskeepers would have to resort to the following:
- Soil Study: Every soil bed is unique and contains different levels of nutrients. By carefully analyzing the soil and understanding its nutrient levels, can help you plan for the maintenance of the turf, which includes irrigation as well. The type of soil also has an impact on the root depth of the turf. The depth will govern the amount of water the grass requires. Grassroots will penetrate deeper in sandy soil compared to clay soil.
- Soil Aeration: It is natural for soil to get compact which affects the soil’s water absorption ability. This, in turn, affects the growth and performance of the soil. Soil aeration usually is done during off-season as regular use of the turf causes compaction of the soil.
- Verticutting: To improve turf health and proper absorption of water and nutrients, it is important to remove excess growth of blades. This ensures optimal drainage and also enhances performance and aesthetics of the grass.
Irrigation efficiency for turf is governed by several factors. It is important for groundskeepers to have complete understanding of the relationship between soil, turf and water to create an efficient and effective irrigation program. As a groundskeeper, you should be well-versed in the following:
- Effect of climate and soil on how the turf will utilize the water
- The role water plays in the growth of turf
- Genetic characteristics of the turf. Low tolerance grass requires more care compared to high tolerance turf
It is best to hire a turf-maintenance professional, who has the knowledge and experience, to devise a turf-specific irrigation program. Commonwealth Sports Turf has been involved in maintaining sports since 2003 across Richmond, Virginia. With more than 31 years of experience in the sports turf, Commonwealth Sports Turf has perfected the science of growing healthy and superior turf in any type of sports environment. This is possible because of the hard work and vision of Keith Kitchen, who founded Commonwealth Sports Turf.
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