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Watering Theory

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by RAlmaroad, May 28, 2007.

  1. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,247

    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.
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    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.:)
  3. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,247

    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,
  4. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    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!
  5. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    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.
  6. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,247

    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.
    Keep up that work and I'll find the tread.
  7. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,274

    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.
  8. bntt68

    bntt68 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 329

    You are right about RUNNER!!! Hes the man!!! Runner, Thanks for your help with the ODORSCENT!!!
  9. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    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.
  10. quiet

    quiet LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 720

    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?

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