Golf Course Water Management - Part 2
All measures to improve rooting - through renovation; soil amelioration; nutrition; Primo Maxx II and turf health - will help to enhance water efficiency.
Where there is also better soil moisture retention deeper in the soil profile, turf grass plants can better maintain root growth in that zone. That makes them better at taking up the water, along with any nutrients to further help to enhance turf health and growth.
The aim is to balance the soil’s water holding capacity, along with sufficient oxygen for healthy growth. However, that can be compromised by hydrophobic soil particles, which have lost the ability to hold onto water by surface tension around the particle. That can happen on a microscopic level, with individual particles, or on a greater scale up to widespread hydrophobic dry patch.
The design of the Syngenta Wetting Agent Qualibra has made it possible to enhance root zone moisture, by combining short-chain penetrant surfactants to move water down, with co-block polymers that increases the ability of soil particles to hold onto moisture deeper in the profile.
That’s an important element, since it ensures soil gets to its optimum natural water holding capacity, without over wetting that would limit the air pockets for oxygen content. The research results show it creates improved conditions for root growth and water utilization, but does not hold excess moisture that could affect playability.
Additionally, it enables the way that water is applied with irrigation to be more efficient. Irrigation little and often, which just keeps the surface and top layer moist, could encourage shallow roots in that zone, with less of the beneficial deeper rooting retained. Water near the surface is also more prone to evapotranspiration in the heat and, but its nature, leads to more changeable playing surface characteristics throughout the day.
Where soil moisture can be better retained deeper in the profile, irrigating less often, but applying more water at each application, could encourage deeper root retention and enable better utilisation of moisture and nutrients, along with consistent surface playability, providing the water has the means to infiltrate the surface quickly.This is also important with changing climatic conditions, where sudden intense summer downpours requires the capability to drain away from the surface quickly, but where plants can then make better use of any natural rainfall more effectively.
Trials at De Vere Carden Park Golf Club
Trials at De Vere Carden Park Golf Club in Cheshire, as part of the Syngenta Turf Science Live event, demonstrated that, following heavy rain, Qualibra treatment reduced moisture at the surface depth of 3.8 cm.
However, at the same time, soil moisture was shown to be retained at the 7.6cm and 12 cm probe depth. Furthermore, the standard deviation between measurements was just 1.8 with the Qualibra treatment, compared to 3.7 without – indicating the distribution was more uniform within the soil profile.
Continued monitoring highlighted the speed at which sand construction greens can dry out, dipping to as low as 15% within two hours without treatment – highlighting the need for understanding water movement and more efficient utilization for plant health.
Read more from the Greenkeeper International InSight research review into water management:
Missed Part 1 of our Golf Course Water Management series? Click here.