Golf Course Management

JUN 2013

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research The study site is in a transition zone with cold winters and warm summers. Snow covered the study area in winter, as seen in this photo. V v v The research says ➔ Water quality had no effect on turf performance in this study. ➔ Most of the warm-season grasses included in this study can be maintained at an acceptable quality level when irrigated with saline water from a subsurface drip system. ➔ The cultivars tested were not affected by high salinity when high levels were reached in a cyclic pattern followed by leaching. ➔ More research is needed to assess the ability of soils and plants to withstand continued salt accumulation, but also to determine any detrimental effects on aquifers and groundwater. 88 GCM June 2013 factors other than irrigation water quality may be responsible for the differences in turf quality we observed. When comparing the effect of irrigation systems on turf quality, seven of nine grasses showed no difference in quality during the frst two years, and eight of nine grasses did not differ in fall quality for all three years. In summer 2007, four of the nine grasses showed reduced quality on drip-irrigated plots compared to sprinkler-irrigated ones. The reasons for this drop in quality remain unclear and did not lead to a reduction in fall quality. Further investigations are necessary to explore whether or not short term clogging occurs in emitterless porous pipes and affects water application and turf quality. Reduced color. One of the limitations of growing warm-season turfgrasses in the transition zone is the long dormancy period during which turfgrasses have reduced or no color for up to fve months. Any treatment that could reduce this dormancy period would help improve the acceptability of warm-season grasses in transition zone climates. Water quality did not affect spring green-up but in 2005 and 2006 drip-irrigated plots showed earlier green-up than sprinkler-irrigated plots (Table 3). Faster green-up of turfgrasses under drip irrigation could be a result of higher night canopy temperatures caused by a lack of cooling from irrigation water applied by aboveground sprinkler heads. However, additional research is needed to investigate potential differences in canopy temperature between the two irrigation systems. Conclusions Our results indicate that most of the warmseason grasses included in this study can be maintained at an acceptable quality level when irrigated with saline water from a subsurface drip system. Salinity levels in our irrigation water were higher than those found in recycled water currently used in the Southwest to irrigate lawn and turf areas, and long-term exposure to salinity levels used in our study is considered deleterious to plant growth and soil structure. Nevertheless, our results indicate that, over the course of the three-year study, warm-season turfgrasses maintained acceptable quality and were not affected by these soil salinities when these high levels were reached in a cyclic pattern followed by leaching. In order to determine the long-term viability of using saline waters for irrigation, more research is needed to assess the ability of soils and plants to withstand continued salt accumulation, but also to determine any detrimental effects on aquifers and groundwater. Funding Financial support of the study was provided by New Mexico State University's Agricultural Experiment Station, Offce for Facilities and Services, Water Resources Research Institute, by the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture under Agreement No. 2005-34461-15661 and 2005-45049-03209, Southwest Turfgrass Association, Seeds West Inc., Pure Seed Testing and Simplot Jacklin Seed. The authors are also grateful for the donations from Helena Chemical Co. and Precision Porous Pipe. Acknowledgments The authors appreciate the help and support of Bruce Erhard, golf course superintendent at the New Mexico State University golf course. The results of this research were originally published in 2011 as "Soil salinity and quality of sprinkler and drip irrigated warm-season turfgrasses" by Elena Sevostianova, Bernd Leinauer, Rossana Sallenave, Douglas Karcher and Bernd Maier in Agronomy Journal 10 3 (6):1773-1784. Literature cited 1. Allen, R.G., I.A. Walter, R.L. Elliott et al. 2005. The ASCE Standardized Reference Evapotranspiration Equation. American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, Va. 2. Ayers, R.S., and D.W. Westcot. 1985. Water quality for agriculture. FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper 29 (Rev. 1), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Rome, Italy. 3. Dean, D.E., D.A. Devitt, L.S. Verchick and R.L. Morris. 1996. Turfgrass quality, growth, and water use infuenced by salinity and water stress. Agronomy Journal 88:844849. 4. Marcum, K.B., and M. Pessarakli. 2006. Salinity tolerance and salt gland excretion effciency of bermudagrass turf cultivars. Crop Science 46:2571-2574. 5. Rhoades, J.D. 1989. Intercepting, isolating and reusing drainage waters for irrigation to conserve water and protect water quality. Agricultural Water Management 16:37-52. 6. Schaan, C.M., D.A. Devitt, R.L. Morris and L. Clark. 2003. Cyclic irrigation of turfgrass using a shallow saline aquifer. Agronomy Journal 95(3):660-667. 7. U.S. Salinity Laboratory Staff. 1954. Diagnosis and improvement of saline and alkali soils. USDA Handbook 60. U.S. Gov. Print. Offce, Washington, DC. GCM Bernd Leinauer (leinauer@nmsu.edu) is a professor and turfgrass Extension specialist and Elena Sevostianova is a research associate in the department of Extension plant sciences at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, N.M.

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