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RAlmaroad
05-28-2007, 07:23 AM
In Tennessee, I've always watered deeply and less often to increase the root depth of turf. But lately I've been looking at the depth of soil in SC were it is sandy. You can dig down about 6" and pure sand. Watering deeply in sandy soils is almost useless because the water just goes down no matter how much you water, so I water about 3/week giving the lawn about 1"/week--hence probably a shallow root system. What is someone's else's take on watering in sandy soil.
Roy

Runner
05-28-2007, 09:47 AM
Water just enough so that the water will reach the BOTTOM of the root system. This sometimes takes some probing. Many times, for this to be effective, you literally have to stop the water just before this level is reached, as much of this will seep down, anyway. as long as you are close...It is better to water just a little too deep, than to water too shallow. But you are right...different soils DEFinitely take different watering depths. Much is also determined on how saturated the soil already is. I always get a grin when people ask me "How long should I water my lawn?" I always have some pretty good answers to leave them with a dumbfounded look on their faces before I explain to them about proper watering. LOL You have to ask them if they are watering with a sprinkler can, or with a fire hose.:)

RAlmaroad
05-28-2007, 10:11 AM
Water just enough so that the water will reach the BOTTOM of the root system. This sometimes takes some probing. Many times, for this to be effective, you literally have to stop the water just before this level is reached, as much of this will seep down, anyway. as long as you are close...It is better to water just a little too deep, than to water too shallow. But you are right...different soils DEFinitely take different watering depths. Much is also determined on how saturated the soil already is. I always get a grin when people ask me "How long should I water my lawn?" I always have some pretty good answers to leave them with a dumbfounded look on their faces before I explain to them about proper watering. LOL You have to ask them if they are watering with a sprinkler can, or with a fire hose.:)

Runner:
Of all the guys here that I hoped would join in on this--it would be you since your thoughts and writings are so respected by myself and others. Thanks.
They have started to ask about watering in SC--Most have shallow wells. Hell, I even put some in for the older neighbors; takes about 4-5 hours and free showers while doing it, along with lots of laughs from passers-by.
You're so right about advise to them--one of the non-client neighbors stopped me last summer and asked how long to leave it on....Well, I think it would be safe to say "Untill it runs out into the road". He acturally did it and I had to stop him. People are our best source of laughter.
Thanks again,
Roy

Runner
05-28-2007, 10:36 AM
I would just like to say a sincere thank you on a compliment such as that. I am glad I can be of any help, and this is where I get my gratification. It is like my mentor (a golf course superintendent) told me. What's the sense in having it if you can't share it with others.:)
Him, like some of the other members on here have FORGOT more than I know. There is such a wealth of knowledge on here that doesn't even get touched, it is scary. A market virtually untapped. Just ask a few members on here like Ric and Tremor (and a few others). It is funny,...we were just talking about this the other day. If I had the knowledge and wisdom these guys had,...I'd be dangerous!

Ric
05-28-2007, 11:09 AM
RAlmaroad

Runner has done a nice job of answering your question. All lawns will be different as they all have different soils and infiltration rates. Somewhere in the archives of Lawnsite I have posted information about Soil Porosity and Hydraulic conductivity, all factors in proper irrigation practice. I am not going to look those threads up or retype the information again. Feel Free to look them up and Bump them if you like.

What I will discuss Quickly is the Best Management Practices to increase water uses by our Plants. Whether you have Clay or Sand, Core aeration and Topdressing with SOM (Soil Organic Matter) is the best practice for water retention on Sandy Soils and Drainage on Clay soils. Potash is the one primary Fertilizer element that we see no visible response to. However it is Potash that creates Root EXTENSION. We talk about root system and want to develop them for healthy Plants. Phosphorus causes Mass but it is the Potash that develops the Extension of roots into lower substrates where the plant can up take water. Scotts 32-2-3 blends Etc of Fertilizer sold to uneducated Applicator or homeowner is a real Rip off because it only creates Excessive top growth. Part of Developing Root Extension is in fact the irrigation practice that Runner has explained.

RAlmaroad
05-28-2007, 12:08 PM
RAlmaroad

Runner has done a nice job of answering your question. All lawns will be different as they all have different soils and infiltration rates. Somewhere in the archives of Lawnsite I have posted information about Soil Porosity and Hydraulic conductivity, all factors in proper irrigation practice. I am not going to look those threads up or retype the information again. Feel Free to look them up and Bump them if you like.

What I will discuss Quickly is the Best Management Practices to increase water uses by our Plants. Whether you have Clay or Sand, Core aeration and Topdressing with SOM (Soil Organic Matter) is the best practice for water retention on Sandy Soils and Drainage on Clay soils. Potash is the one primary Fertilizer element that we see no visible response to. However it is Potash that creates Root EXTENSION. We talk about root system and want to develop them for healthy Plants. Phosphorus causes Mass but it is the Potash that develops the Extension of roots into lower substrates where the plant can up take water. Scotts 32-2-3 blends Etc of Fertilizer sold to uneducated Applicator or homeowner is a real Rip off because it only creates Excessive top growth. Part of Developing Root Extension is in fact the irrigation practice that Runner has explained.

Ric: Yet another great on this site. Your insight and info have helped many. Thanks! I was hoping that you would add to this tread. So many of the topics here do not take into consideration that All plantlife needs the basic in their proper place. Even weeds wouldn't grow with Light, Soil, and Water.
I was hoping that others would lend their knowledge of their particular soils and watering practice. I'm contending with two (2) different types: Our great soil in TN and the sand of the coast. This dirt has been under my fingernails for 60+ years and that long the details by sight alone can tell me what will/willnot thrive on these hills. Anyway the sand is quite different in every way. The water retention of different soils, as you know, leads the pros to a educated choice of one fertilizer over another, etc.
You are so, so right on that Scotts stuff without any Potash. That's why I like the 15-0-15 for the coastal soil. And as far as topdressing--right again--I'm on my third (3) truckload on my lawn--And people wonder why my yard looks the way it does.
Thanks,
Keep up that work and I'll find the tread.
Roy

ed2hess
05-28-2007, 01:30 PM
RAlmaroad

Runner has done a nice job of answering your question. All lawns will be different as they all have different soils and infiltration rates. Somewhere in the archives of Lawnsite I have posted information about Soil Porosity and Hydraulic conductivity, all factors in proper irrigation practice. I am not going to look those threads up or retype the information again. Feel Free to look them up and Bump them if you like.

What I will discuss Quickly is the Best Management Practices to increase water uses by our Plants. Whether you have Clay or Sand, Core aeration and Topdressing with SOM (Soil Organic Matter) is the best practice for water retention on Sandy Soils and Drainage on Clay soils. Potash is the one primary Fertilizer element that we see no visible response to. However it is Potash that creates Root EXTENSION. We talk about root system and want to develop them for healthy Plants. Phosphorus causes Mass but it is the Potash that develops the Extension of roots into lower substrates where the plant can up take water. Scotts 32-2-3 blends Etc of Fertilizer sold to uneducated Applicator or homeowner is a real Rip off because it only creates Excessive top growth. Part of Developing Root Extension is in fact the irrigation practice that Runner has explained.

Ric,
Do you have any experience with Lesco ECOSENTIAL---it is a chemicial to enhance water retention. Spray it on when wet, water it in and it last 3 months. I am experimenting with it on some large area along roads that does have irrigation but drys out pretty fast and is a clay based soil that compacts easily. Don't know if it works in sandy soil.

bntt68
05-28-2007, 01:56 PM
You are right about RUNNER!!! Hes the man!!! Runner, Thanks for your help with the ODORSCENT!!!

Ric
05-28-2007, 02:47 PM
Ric,
Do you have any experience with Lesco ECOSENTIAL---it is a chemicial to enhance water retention. Spray it on when wet, water it in and it last 3 months. I am experimenting with it on some large area along roads that does have irrigation but drys out pretty fast and is a clay based soil that compacts easily. Don't know if it works in sandy soil.

Ed

IMHO ECOSENTIAL is a gimmick. A gallon of Liquid Dish soap will do the same thing as a Gallon of ECOSENTIAL. Yes wetting agents are good particularly during a long dry spell. However there are other products like Glass beads that will increase Hydraulic Conductivity and CEC on a permanent bases. These can be top dressed on the turf and work their way into the soil. Peat Moss can also be top dressed to hold more water like many Organic materials. A quick fix for dry spots is in fact Peat Moss.

quiet
05-28-2007, 10:27 PM
Mr. Hess - Where irrigation is available, water clay soils 1/2" (or 3/4" in the dead of summer) each day for 2 consecutive days. Watering on consecutive days allows the water to penetrate the clay and get deep into the root zone without all the runoff you'd get watering all at once.

Spacing out the watering days doesn't allow the water to get deep enough in the clay and deep into or past the root zone of the turf.

Summer heat and drought is when the clay soil is an advantage. How do you guys with sandy soils advise watering in the intense heat and summer drought?

RAlmaroad
05-29-2007, 05:24 AM
Mr. Hess - Where irrigation is available, water clay soils 1/2" (or 3/4" in the dead of summer) each day for 2 consecutive days. Watering on consecutive days allows the water to penetrate the clay and get deep into the root zone without all the runoff you'd get watering all at once.

Spacing out the watering days doesn't allow the water to get deep enough in the clay and deep into or past the root zone of the turf.

Summer heat and drought is when the clay soil is an advantage. How do you guys with sandy soils advise watering in the intense heat and summer drought?

On MY South Carolina lawn, I water on MWF and SAT. Sandy soil is like rain on a tin roof--inthat it drains so fast that the roots do not get a chance to absorb any moisture. I know that watering this often leaches the soil of fertilize. But the difference is a dead lawn or adding extra fertilizer to compensate for the leaching. As Ric stated, adding SOM to increase the water retention is a great way slow down the leaching. I have truck loads of SOM delivered and I sprinkle it over the lawn in the winter and the spring green-up works upwards to the light. Clay soils are like rain on pavement--it puddles and runs off. However, eventually it will settle into the soil after many weeks.
Around Myrtle Beach, SC there are in excess of 100 golf courses. I see their rotors wetting the greens at night (3:00AM or so). I've been told that watering at night increases fungus (?) but it does allow the water to penetrate the turf and not be evaporated quickly as during the early morning. I'm still debating that one.
So in the end, watering often and long may be a practice for those with shallow wells. Watering deep and less often in sandy soils knowing that the water is not going to be there in a few hours tells me that the turf roots did not get a chance to take in moisture versus, watering deep and often to allow the roots to take in moisture and leaching available nutrients is a dilemma. To have a beautiful lawn is costly on the coast....so I pay a few dollars for a little extra fertilize about every 6 weeks on Centipede grass which likes poor soil anyway. On the St. Augustine, I fertilize lightly with 15-0-15 every 4 weeks in the summer until August.

Now for the biggest problem--Those no grass hurricane ditches????????No water, No SOM, pure sand, too much sun....Bermuda grass or even crab grass???

Ric
05-29-2007, 10:05 AM
RAlmaroad

I agree that on Coastal sandy we have a harder time than those on good hard pan developing good turf. Golf Courses are a totally different story in the fact they have the Big Budget and mow very short. The very fact that Golf Courses Mow so short creates many problems. Someone on here was very upset when I posted my price per Thousand price, But they have no Idea of my cost Per thousand cost on Calcareous Sandy Soil either.

My Irrigation recommendation for Sandy soil is every 5 days. I like to water deep and hope the roots grow down to make more use of the water. But the true way to determine water need is by watching the Leaves to see when they need water. As the plant drys out the Leaf closes, By watching the leaf close you soon see when it is perfect time to water again.

txgrassguy
05-29-2007, 10:55 AM
Mr. Hess - Where irrigation is available, water clay soils 1/2" (or 3/4" in the dead of summer) each day for 2 consecutive days. Watering on consecutive days allows the water to penetrate the clay and get deep into the root zone without all the runoff you'd get watering all at once.

Spacing out the watering days doesn't allow the water to get deep enough in the clay and deep into or past the root zone of the turf.

Summer heat and drought is when the clay soil is an advantage. How do you guys with sandy soils advise watering in the intense heat and summer drought?

I am not aware of what area you are located in.
Here in Central Texas, and the Austin area that Hess operates in we are subject to both voluntary and mandatory watering restrictions.
What I have found to be the best way to encourage acceptable turf growth on predominately clay based soils is to aggressively aerify twice per year.
Followed up with a heavy top dressing of sand then proper fertilization according to a decent soil/tissue test.
Typically, due to water availability (which thankfully hasn't been a problem THIS year) and the restrictions based upon what environmental recharge zone our properties are in, irrigation is limited to approximately twice per work week.

timturf
05-29-2007, 01:31 PM
Firm believer in watering deeply but infrequently!

wait until the turfgrass is beginning to show stress, then water until the soil is wet to the depth of grass plant's roots, but don't apply more water per hour than the soil can absorb

Runner
05-29-2007, 04:19 PM
^And yet another speaks who is DEFINITELY not to be undermined nor underestimated....^(Thanks, Tim) ...Again,...one of those who has probably forGOT more than I even know! :)
I'm sorry, but coming on this site and asking questions about turf (and related subjects), and being answered by these guys is equated to going on a site like web MD and being answered personally by a physician. This is not to take away from those with doctorate degrees, but it is the truth.

RAlmaroad
05-29-2007, 06:28 PM
Firm believer in watering deeply but infrequently!

wait until the turfgrass is beginning to show stress, then water until the soil is wet to the depth of grass plant's roots, but don't apply more water per hour than the soil can absorb

The truth has been told! Clay soils thatis. Don't you just love this soil--TN and VA. I think we could plant toothpick and grow trees.
Since you know golf courses. What is the theory of water at night vs. early morning? Any truth to fungus development when watering at night?

Thanks,
Roy

Ric
05-29-2007, 07:34 PM
The truth has been told! Clay soils thatis. Don't you just love this soil--TN and VA. I think we could plant toothpick and grow trees.
Since you know golf courses. What is the theory of water at night vs. early morning? Any truth to fungus development when watering at night?

Thanks,
Roy

Tim

Great to see you posting again. I am Look forward to getting into some interesting discussions again.

Roy

In most cases Golf Course have so many zones to run each night they must start early. It is more of a practical thing than wise Agronomy move.

JoeinJasper
05-29-2007, 08:51 PM
The 'latest' research that I have seen is to water during the 'dew hours' when the leaves are already wet. What are your practical observations and experiences? While this does make sense, I would be interested in your opinions.
Joe

txgrassguy
05-30-2007, 01:47 AM
Joe, when I ran a golf course in NE Pa several years past - I would "whip" the greens in front of a mower, and water just the greens during the day.
The outlying turf was not subject to the intensive maintenance program the greens were subject too so I was able to avoid problems with this strategy.
The idea of watering during the "dew" hours stems from the observation/hypothesis if you "wash" the guttated fluids which comprises the exudates from C3 turf, you are diluting these exudates to the point that they will not support/enable the ever present pathogens due to the high carbon content associated with these exudates.
Several factors have to be aligned for a program like this to bear fruition.
Namely the areas irrigated absolutely have to be free from permeability issues, typically have to located in areas of air movement beyond 4 cubic yards per second ( basically a wisp of a breeze) and have to be free of excessive soluble nitrogen applications which will supplant the guttated fluids as an energy source for the pathogens.
What I have found to be the most "safe" as far as turf conditions verse labor has been to lightly water, aka "syringe" the greens 3 to 4 days out of the week, regardless if they are C3 or C4 turfgrass, then irrigate up to 1/2", whip then mow.
I have found an amazing correlation of maintenance practices of most varietal types of Agrostis spp putting greens and the newer Ultra-dwarf Cynodon spp.

muddstopper
05-30-2007, 06:07 PM
I am just going to throw this out there and see if someone wants to better explain it.

According to some agronomists, raising Mg saturation levels in sandy soil will help maintain moisture in the soil. Israel did several studies in the 90's that suggested that magnesium has the ability to actually attract moisture, even pulling moisture from the air. I dont have a copy of that study, wish I did. Anyways, it would seem that manageing fertility levels would also help to manage water use. Comments please.

Ric
05-30-2007, 07:40 PM
I am just going to throw this out there and see if someone wants to better explain it.

According to some agronomists, raising Mg saturation levels in sandy soil will help maintain moisture in the soil. Israel did several studies in the 90's that suggested that magnesium has the ability to actually attract moisture, even pulling moisture from the air. I dont have a copy of that study, wish I did. Anyways, it would seem that manageing fertility levels would also help to manage water use. Comments please.

Muddstopper

Mg is a secondary or Marco element of fertilizer and a SALT. Like all salts it is very Hygroscopic or attracts water. The Mg is call Adsorbent and the the hydra film is that water that coats the Mg molecule which is then called Adsorbate. To release the water or Hydra film the process is call desorption. This chemically differs from water up take by Plants which is absorption. IMHO Mg doesn't have enough Hydraulic conductivity to be of value to increase field capacity. But what do I know?

BTW Mg is used as a drying agent in some cases.

txgrassguy
05-30-2007, 09:48 PM
Ric, I believe what the Isreals were getting at was altering the hydraulic conductivity and permeability by effecting the base CEC of the soil profile.
The idea being that an absorbant acts like an anion, will affect the valiance of the soil, with the idea being that with more "readily" available water, additional micronutrient input wouldn't be as necessary as leaching potential has been addressed by the Mg.
Bear in mind the predominant soil structure is primarily calcarious sand, highly affected by leachates, and some temporary buffering and hydraulic conductivity was observed by the escalation of Mg levels which was extrapolated to infer greater amounts of absorbates.
Additionally, this study was under taken to address the efficacy of additional amounts of Mg towards increasing crop yields which differs significantly from turfgrass maintenance practices.
Just my 2cents though.

JoeinJasper
05-30-2007, 10:06 PM
TxGrassGuy,
Thanks...Since its been a few years since I had any agronomy classes...As I understand you to say- There is such a narrow window for the proper conditions there is no practical benefit to this practice. But when dealing with both fescue and bermuda in the transition zone does this practice cause fungus to spread as we were once taught, or are these recommendations based on adherence to water restrictions?
Joe

Ric
05-30-2007, 10:45 PM
Ric, I believe what the Isreals were getting at was altering the hydraulic conductivity and permeability by effecting the base CEC of the soil profile.
The idea being that an absorbant acts like an anion, will affect the valiance of the soil, with the idea being that with more "readily" available water, additional micronutrient input wouldn't be as necessary as leaching potential has been addressed by the Mg.
Bear in mind the predominant soil structure is primarily calcarious sand, highly affected by leachates, and some temporary buffering and hydraulic conductivity was observed by the escalation of Mg levels which was extrapolated to infer greater amounts of absorbates.
Additionally, this study was under taken to address the efficacy of additional amounts of Mg towards increasing crop yields which differs significantly from turfgrass maintenance practices.
Just my 2cents though.


Joe

If anything Mg is going to help eliminate Fungus not cause it. Macozeb (a now ban) Fungicide was in fact Mg and Zinc. Of course it was ban because it was cheap and worked great.


TX

Where I don't follow you is on changing the valiance of the soil. The element Mg2+ would do that, but Mg sulfate which is the most common form for use in agronomy, and is in fact a balanced compound. I understand the theory, because it is the same as using synthetic glass beads to increase both CEC and Hydraulic conductivity.

txgrassguy
05-30-2007, 11:35 PM
Joe, depending upon your existent soil conditions, excessive Mg is in fact a deteriment.
Essentially what happens is the exchange sites are "full" and leaching of more desirable micro and macro nutrients occur as there are no exchange sites available on the soil particle.
Admittedly a simple explanation yet after 3 + too many malted beverages this evening my mind may not be working correctly.

Ric, as I understand the study conducted by the Isreal's, it focused on elemental Mg.
The idea of altering the valiance of the soil comes into play when utilizing mostly IBDU forms of nitrogen in order to effect even more of a controlled, sustainable release.
I really cannot be more specific as it has been over fifteen years since this was discussed and I can't say - with a straight face anyways - that soil chemistry was a particularly fond subject of mine.

timturf
05-31-2007, 06:01 PM
The truth has been told! Clay soils thatis. Don't you just love this soil--TN and VA. I think we could plant toothpick and grow trees.
Since you know golf courses. What is the theory of water at night vs. early morning? Any truth to fungus development when watering at night?

Thanks,
Roy

Again, a firm believer in watering deeply but infrequently! This applys to all soils, but the time it takes to reach the bottom of the rootrone in a sandy soil will be much less than a clay or silt soil. Also remember, the interval between watering will be much less with a sandy soil.

Cool season turfgrass generally have 80% of the roots in the top 3"of the soil.

Golf course watering...just don't have much choice but to water at night when golfers not pressent....General supt will water the highest quality turfgrass ( putting greens) in the very late morning hours, completing just ahead of maintenance crew

hughmcjr
06-01-2007, 03:05 AM
^^ Interesting. I was just going to say here in Oregon where we have clay soil, I recommend watering 20 minutes per day for two days on and then two days no water. For example, Mon., Tues. water, Wed., Thurs. off. Back to back then let the roots reach. I get excellent results. Many people think watering every other day for 15 minutes or every day for 10 minutes is good, but actually the 15 minutes a day isn't enough from June through Sept as it is so dry. Watering everyday for 10 minutes I have actually seen many lawns turn brown anyway so water is wasted and the grass is brown.

Nobletoad
01-24-2008, 04:22 PM
Ed

IMHO ECOSENTIAL is a gimmick. A gallon of Liquid Dish soap will do the same thing as a Gallon of ECOSENTIAL.

I have to vigorously disagree. the moisture manager product in Lesco's Ecosential line is no gimmick. It does contain a surfactant, but in addition it uses a product called Hydretain which is well-known and proven to pull moisture vapor out of the air in the soil and keep it from evaporating up and away. Instead it traps the moisture in the soil where roots can use it. I've seen demos that their reps do where the raw material (a dry white powder) is placed on a counter top and within a few minutes the powder is gone and a puddle of water is in its place. It literally draws humidity out of the air. We've used it with great success and it keeps turf and containerized plants happier between waterings and has the dual effect of preventing the soil from becoming hydrophobic between our irrigation cycles which is super important now that we are on watering restrictions. :eek: