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Old 08-09-2008, 10:08 AM
TurfBusiness TurfBusiness is offline
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Location: California
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A different type of problem

I have been an avid reader here but have not done my share of contributing. I have an interesting situation on one of our properties and thought I would share it.

2 acre property
Difficult homeowner
Problems with turf and plant material
Homeowner demanded increasing water time by 100% (way too much water for the site)

My first visit to this property was one month ago on the request of the account supervisor. It is irrigated by well water which had been tested by the homeowners on 2 different occasions and we were told it was O.K. As can be seen in the pics, there are definite problems and I immediately took soil samples and asked the homeowner to see the latest water test.

It turns out they had the water tested to see if it was suitable to use in their swimming pool. Although the test was not an ‘irrigation suitability’ test, the numbers provided were alarming and we immediately took a water sample to get the correct test done.

At this time we are waiting for a decision from the homeowner on how to proceed. I will also post the test results.
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Old 08-09-2008, 10:13 AM
TurfBusiness TurfBusiness is offline
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The salt burn is very evident and the sodium levels in the soil prevent the plant from obtaining available water. The turf definitely shows sign of 'physiological drought'.
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Old 08-09-2008, 10:20 AM
TurfBusiness TurfBusiness is offline
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Due to the amount of salts, the options are very limited in treating the water. Reverse osmosis is probably the only option for good water and that would be pricey and it is difficult to dispose of the brine. We have recommended to hook up to the city water since it is available but the homeowners don't want the $500-$600 per month water bill.

We also need to address the soil conditions and have made recommendations for that but are still waiting for the homeowner to make a decision.
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Old 08-09-2008, 11:23 AM
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Ric Ric is offline
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TurfBusiness

One of the advantages of working for yourself is being able to tell the customer GOOD BYE if they insist on over watering or not complying. This doesn't seem to be your case.

Salt Spray and Salt water intruded wells are a Regular problem here on Coastal Florida. We find 10 pounds of Sulfur per thousand Sq Ft applied 4 times a year helps manage the Salt. But Because we have both a wet and dry season, We can not get any thing but a washed out green during the Dry irrigation time. Once the rain starts and leaches the salt out, the lawn turns a Dark rich green with the proper fertilizer. Our Sandy Soil has very little CEC and therefore Sodium and Chlorides are readily leached out once the Rainy season starts. You may have to apply Gypsum to get the same response.

High Biocarbs in the water also cause surface tension and therefore wetting agents should be used with every application. Powered Laundry Detergent can even be applied in dry form before a expected rain event. But the key is using as little Poor Quality water as possible and Hope Mother nature can fill the need. If the customer will go for it Re-sod with Seashore Paspalum and Let them irrigate to their hearts contend since Seashore Paspalum requires Salt.
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Old 08-09-2008, 02:08 PM
TurfBusiness TurfBusiness is offline
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We have already decided to let them go if they choose not to go with our recommendations. This account brings in close to 20,000/year and we also have the property next door so this is not an easy decision for us.

Unfortunately, the high clay content of the soil will require tons of calcium to drop the sodium down.
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Old 08-09-2008, 05:39 PM
bug-guy bug-guy is offline
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isn't there a grass that is very salt tolerant? i thought i heard one time that seashore paspalum was very tolerant. just a different way of looking at the problem. if life gives you lemons make lemonade. would just have to do a cost analysis to see the benefit vs risks. paspalum has it's down falls too!
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/EP059
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Old 08-10-2008, 12:11 AM
TurfBusiness TurfBusiness is offline
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bug guy, Thanks for the suggestion.

I have looked into seashore paspalum for a commercial site. Supposedly it will take a great deal of flooding and can withstand weeks of water sitting on top of the grass. This fall I will bring some pallets in to give it a try, we do have a grower in the area. This site gets flooded at least 15 times from Nov. to Feb. and as much as 2 1/2 feet of water on top. It takes about 7 - 10 days for the water to subside in the lowest area. This site also has high salt/sodium soil and heavy clay.
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