Is Your Water Knowledge ‘Certifiable’?

Do you have a sound understanding of the role water plays in the development and overall health of the turf you maintain? The following are excerpts from the Turf Maintenance Principles chapter of the “Employee Training Manual for Landscape Technicians”, produced by the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) and the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC). Take a look and see if your knowledge and skills are worthy of being labeled as Landscape Industry Certified.

There are several factors to consider when determining how much and how frequently to water turf. They include turf type, condition, soil type, slope, type of irrigation system, season and watering restrictions.

As a general rule, a lawn should receive at least 1 inch of water per week. This can vary. For example, water requirements are less in shade and cool or cloudy weather. In addition, water filtration rate is lower in clay soils compared to sandy soils, which means application rate can vary.

Be careful not to underwater or overwater. Underwatering can first be detected by seeing a blue-gray tint to the turf. Overwatering is wasteful and can be detrimental to turf by depriving roots of oxygen and promoting disease. To promote healthy root development, avoid frequent shallow watering of turf.

The best time for watering is in the early morning or evening. At these times, it is generally cooler, more humid and less windy, resulting in less water loss from evaporation. Water pressure may be higher at these times as well, which adds to irrigation system operating efficiency.

In some areas, late-day watering may encourage fungus growth. Also, with irrigated turf, it is beneficial to water shortly after each mowing to help the lawn recover. In addition, other seasonal considerations, such as fertilization or aeration, may require modification of regular irrigation schedules to promote healthy turf.

For information on how to become Landscape Industry Certified, visit landcarenetwork.org and click on the logo.

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