Golf Course Water Management - Part 1
As Summer approaches it’s time to think about a drying down strategy to effectively balance moisture and plant health. Syngenta Technical Manager, Glenn Kirby reviews the latest science to provide practical solutions for water resource management this season.
Syngenta research and development of the unique wetting agent, Qualibra, has highlighted a three pronged integrated approach for water management:
- Managing the plant to better utilize water resource,
- Optimizing the application and timing of water and
- Managing the root zone environment to retain optimum soil moisture.
Research has debunked the myth that plants ‘seek out’ deeper water resources.
Turf grass will grow more roots where moisture and soil conditions are available, and when plants are photosynthetically active to generate carbohydrates for storage.
If the moisture needed sits near the surface, the plants’ roots will not go searching deeper for more. Equally roots will not burrow through dry soils to search moisture out; they will grow deeper if the lower ranges of the root zone hold more moisture than the high ranges do.
As the summer heat takes its toll, in dry and unsuitable conditions, some turf can see its root mass seriously depleted – and with it the ability to utilize soil moisture deeper in the profile. Trials have typically shown a 20 to 40% reduction in root mass under drought stress, but can be as much as 60%.
In our next article about golf course water management in the UAE, we'll be looking at how improving turf rooting also helps conserve water.