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Keeping golf courses green when fresh water is limited
Date:3/20/2009

e superintendents have expressed concerns over the use of reuse water because of hidden costs associated with the practice. These hidden costs include: foliar damage to ornamental plants, decline in water quality and aesthetic value of irrigation ponds and water features, related damage to equipment, long-term salt buildup in soil, and increased levels of turfgrass stress.

To address these and other concerns, Anne M. Lockett and Dale Devitt of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and Robert L. Morris of the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Service, designed and carried out a long-term monitoring study that was subsequently published in a 2008 issue of the American Society for Horticultural Science's journal HortScience.

The researchers conducted a monitoring program on nine golf courses in the Las Vegas valley for 4.5 years to assess the impact of reuse water on soilturfgrass systems, including bermudagrass, perennial ryegrass, and bentgrass. The nine courses selected included three long-term reuse courses, three fresh water courses, and three courses expected to transition to reuse water during the monitoring period.

The researchers reported on the salt buildup in soil samples and plant response associated with the irrigation of golf courses with different sources of water. Monthly questionnaires were sent to all participating golf course superintendents requesting information on irrigation amounts and times, fertilizer uses, and fairway/green mowing heights. In the spring of each year, 25 soil samples taken from fairways and greens were analyzed for "gravimetric water content" and "saturation extract soil salinity".

The scientists concluded that proper irrigation management, based on a multi-tiered feedback system (soilplantatmospheric monitoring), should be able to maintain favorable salt balances and plant response as long as irrigation volumes are not restricted. "Based on the results of this study, we believe
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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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