Source: Technical IgK Dpt. 14 July 2015

Irrigating with rigor (II)

The soil and water analysis are key factors when managing the turfgrass irrigation system

Irrigating with rigor II
Irrigating with rigor II

Another difficulty with irrigating is that it depends on the scientific knowledge and periodic analysis of the soil, by assessing its physical-chemical characteristics, movement of the water through its profile and its interrelation with the plant. All of the soil management practices in a golf course are directed towards maintaining a good soil structure that enables the plant to take maximum advantage of the water by creating conditions which favor good root development.

These practices (for example core aeration) are carried out with minimal disturbance of the plant surface and playing surface, thus putting ourselves in line with soil conservation concepts.

Applying wetting agents and humectants is a practice used on high quality sports surfaces. These agents improve water infiltration and retention in the soil, reducing the evaporation rate and increasing the availability of nutrients. They are clearly effective in profiles showing hydrophobic conditions due to the presence of lipid substances.

Another basic step is determining the water quality with laboratory analyses, which depends on two important aspects. The first involves the presence of suspended particles and solids, which affects the handling features of the irrigation system. The second is related to the presence of salts and other dissolved chemical substances that could potentially affect the physiology of the plant, directly or indirectly, due to their gradual accumulation in the soil until reaching adverse levels.

Correct oxygenation of the water stored in the lakes affects the quality and especially the ecosystem of the lakes themselves. This is done by creating slow and continuous currents to prevent stratification of the water and uniformly distributing the oxygen while avoiding eutrophication (a process of enriching water for nutrients which accelerates algae growth and higher forms of plant life that consume oxygen and when they die they accumulate on the bottom forming sediments unless they are totally decomposed by bacteria). Waterfalls, towers and oxygenating fountains are used to keep the system balanced.

As can be seen, the ecological and environmental awareness with respect to water use and other resources for maintenance is very high in the sector itself (even higher, if possible than the awareness shown by the most critical viewpoints). It is necessary to act in this way even without said awareness, and even more so in this case because the type of crops, plant surface, and intrinsic particularities that affect the maintenance and quality of the turfgrass, demand not wasting resources at any time.

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