The Water Cycle

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by ICT Bill, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    Kiril brought up something the other day about water being a fertilizer, I Poo pooed it saying "I don't think so", I was actually looking fro something else but ran across this, it is from an Ag site but still pertains

    http://attra.ncat.org/publication.html

    Water Cycle
    Water is a nutrient, :eek: in one sense, since it is one of the raw ingredients used by plants to make carbohydrates. It is also key to nutrient cycling because plant nutrients are soluble and move with water. Downward leaching of plant nutrients occurs with water movement. Soil itself moves in water, taking with it insoluble nutrients such as phosphorus. The area around roots must be moist, since nutrients are taken up dissolved in water.

    Management determines how effective the water cycle will be in pastures. If rainwater can enter the soil easily, runoff losses are less. Maximum infiltration of rainfall keeps groundwater tables charged up, wells running year round, and drought damage to a minimum. Soil surface conditions that foster high rainwater intake are abundant ground cover (by living plants and surface litter) and good soil aggregation.

    The best-aggregated soils are those that have been in well-managed perennial grass :D (sorry about that Kiril). Though aggregation can be maintained under crops, the perennial activity of grass provides both aggregate-forming processes and aggregate-stabilizing humus. A grass sod extends a mass of fine roots throughout the topsoil. The grass sod also provides protection from raindrop impact. A moderate amount of thatch continually provides food for soil microorganisms and earthworms that generate the glue-like substances that bind aggregates into water-stable units. The dead material, as well as the plants themselves, shade the soil, maintaining a cooler temperature and higher humidity at the soil surface.

    Conditions that reduce water intake and percolation are bare ground, surface crusting, compaction, and soil erosion. These conditions are not usually present in well-managed perennial pastures. Bare ground leads to erosion, crusting, and weeds. Crusting seals the soil surface when the soil aggregates break down. Excessive trampling.especially in wet conditions.and the impact of falling raindrops on bare soil are two common causes of crusting. Therefore, it is important to move water sources, feedbunks, and minerals before bare ground and crusting develop.
     
  2. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Which one of the articles is it? I would like to read, and context it...

    Also... This is a great subject... I believe 'the water cycle' includes best water managment to sustain beneficials.. so let's take this one farther?
     
  3. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    a brief overview of nutrient cycling in pastures

    There is some great information on that site
     
  4. DUSTYCEDAR

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 5,137

    i hate when i get crusting
     
  5. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    look a the savannas they are all grass and very rich usually a black muck or peat.
     
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    I was thinking more along the lines of the constituents of water (be it rain or irrigation), which unless it is "pure", will contain plant nutrients. Take a look at your municipal water report and you will see.

    The other points are also a valid way to look at water as a fertilizer, just less obvious.
     
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    Water should also be seen as a habitat. What grows where in the real world has to do largely with the habitat created by water.
     
  8. Daner

    Daner LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    Don't forget...there are many different types of water...Not just one
     
  9. Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 795

    Wait till ya start being aware of and considering the ORMUS content of water. Put that in your Funkin Wagnells (or however that goes).

    We are very fortunate with our water, our well being fed by an underground stream which flows through a mix of mineral gravel/semi-exotic(?) stone and magnetite. It is relatively high in O2 (9-10 PPM) and I believe has a high ORMUS content.

    http://www.hbci.com/~wenonah/hudson/ormusgas.htm
     
  10. Daner

    Daner LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    We are lucky here as well with great spring feed water. But I'm sure none of us will disagree with our water not being the same composition...who knows whats In the water...some may have beneficial fertilizers aboard...some waters may be some what tainted. What was the history of the water and what did It run Into through Its cycle
     

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