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MSU:Water lightly and frequently during summer?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by slash8118, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,723

    Michigan non-irrigated lawns are looking more and more brown, about 3 weeks dry, however not as bad as further south. More hot dry predicted with a slim chance of showers. (Except northern Michigan which had a few rains. )
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    What theory or myth would that be Axe?

    What does this even mean?

    Well Axe, the "fact" is fine textured soils over a course textured subsoil will always reach saturation before water moves into the course textured subsoil. Further, the soil will not dry from the bottom up.

    Unrealistic for who?
  3. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    My real world view of this discussion is that there is an ideal and then there is the actual realistic version of things.

    If you're Kiril, and you have advanced degrees in this and have the long view of your jobs, then no matter the situation I can understand his being able to create a drought tolerant plot

    But what about when conditions are not ideal?

    What if you normally live in an area that gets temps from 75-85 everyday, but for a month or more it is 95 every day, with lows in the 70s?

    What if you overseeded, or filled in certain areas, and they haven't fully established and had the chance to grow deep roots and become more drought tolerant?

    What about if you don't have a zoned watering system, and every area of your lawn is not getting equal shade? What if the soil composition is not ideal? Not necessarily pure sand, but let's say it's naturally a sandy plot, moreso than average?

    The bottom line is this -- I'm sure in ideal conditions with proper management it's possible to have a lawn that is perfect being watered 1 or 2x no matter the conditions.

    But realistically this is rare, and the appearance of a lawn kept in that manner is NOT necessarily what the person wants.

    If you want a golf course lawn (exagerating here), you aren't even coming close if you water 1x a week in 95 degree heat. There has never been a PGA event on a course that was not watered, and watered heavily often even during the tournament.

    So while I have read most of the basics about watering, soil composition and grass culitvars and have at least a decent understanding of the concepts, I still will agree with many here that simply suggest that getting through rare or unusual hot spells our droughts requires careful management of the exact conditions -- versus a general concept of being able to grow a plot perfectly no matter what conditions come up

    When it comes to "normal" growing conditions, I don't think anybody here is really beileving or suggesting that daily watering is a good idea. But again I don't really think the issue is anybody arguing that frequent light watering ALL THE TIME is a good idea. If fighting a disease, for example, benefits from frequent light watering for a while, that makes sense I think, doesn't it?
  4. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    Chicago, as an odd example that many probably have not considered, is a sandy soil city. Go into the suburbs and the farmlands, it is beautiful loamy soil often on top of clay. But the city itself was built up and the shoreline moved, so interestingly when someone digs down (say, for plumbing purposes), you see that after about 18 inches of beautiful topsoil, it is mostly sand. And a problem you have here is that once its dug up, it ain't easy putting the sand back down low and the loam at the top...thus you have soil issues here that can only be corrected over a LONG time, or with a lot of work.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Illinois is part of the thick topsoil region of the corn belt... our part of the glacier left a few different layers that are easy to figure... clay separate from sand, sand devoid of clay and lots of rocks... just like Chicago the lakes around Central WI are surrounded by sand and most of the fields have sand as their top layer, others have clay as their top layer...

    As a result of so much sand everywhere, there is a tendancy to put down 4" of clay loam topsoil... On lawns with more clay than loam and dry underneath anything more than 10 minutes of irrigation is wasted... under those circumstances I can understand what MSU is talking about...
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    CTA, most of the sites I deal with are not "ideal". There is no better litmus test for a properly designed, installed, and managed system than environmental conditions outside the norm. If the site goes downhill, then you failed. Daily irrigating isn't the answer to incompetence.

    As with any irrigated scenario, your weakest area, and the clients expectations, are the determining factors.

    Rework it or renovate it .... or design and install properly to begin with.

    Intervals will in part be determined by your soils available water holding capacity. Given almost no one cares to figure out what that capacity is, or figure out any of the other factors that are needed to properly manage a sites water resources, they will just set all zones to irrigation every day .... AKA the homeowner & lawnboy special.

    Bottom line is you need to understand how to manage irrigation if you are going to attempt to do it.

    This is irrelevant. The vast majority of people here aren't irrigating golf or sports turf.

    Well, I don't know what you are reading, but what I have seen is several people advocating daily light watering .... and we aren't talking about special circumstances either.
  7. Grasssales2001

    Grasssales2001 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 111

    Kiril, you expect entirely too much from lawn care "pro's"! You actually expect them to have a professional knowledge of the subject. :laugh:
  8. Landgreen

    Landgreen LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 254

    Daily light light waterings are mandatory here in northern michigan. Its all because of the soil. Its glacial till which is basically small rocks and sand. The water drains very quickly through the soil profile. Most homeowner lawns are installed with about 1-2" of topsoil. Those lawns with an apropriate amount of topsoil 6-10" can get by with the heavy infrequent watering schedule. Installing that amount of topsoil is usually not in a homeowners budget.

    Our area has some of the finest golf courses in the country because of sandy soil and great drainage.

    When MSU came out with that study years back I thought its about time they figured it out.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    That is just MAD. :laugh:
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    So when we're advised that deep watering be done for soaking the plant,,, you're saying that deep watering occurs in 10 minutes or so...

    You do realize that the formula guys have no way of comprehending that don't you??? :)

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