In our last Blog post, we focused on assessing salinity issues in your irrigation water and soils. Today, we’re going to look at how to successfully manage those issues.
While high salinity in your irrigation water may be cause for concern, the following management practices should be put in place only if associated salinity problems have been verified to be present in your soil as well.
If your soil tests show problems caused by high levels of salinity, a few steps need to be taken to ensure the health of your turfgrass.
Cultural Practices and Product Recommendations
- Blend irrigation water with another water source that is lower in soluble salts to reduce overall salinity to less than 2 dS/m
- Use salt tolerant turfgrass species or cultivars
- Leach the soil to move soluble salts below the rootzone
- Use an Aquatrols soil surfactant to improve the effectiveness and uniformity of your leaching program
- Apply AquaPlex amino to improve turfgrass water uptake and reduce physiological drought and other related salt stresses
Maintenance Leaching vs. Reclamation Leaching
Maintenance leaching refers to the practice of applying more water than the evapotranspiration (ET) replacement value during each irrigation event to leach soluble salts through the rootzone and keep salinity levels from building up over time.
If soil salinity levels have exceeded tolerance levels for the turfgrass species you are irrigating, a much greater amount of water needs to be applied to lower soil salinity levels to acceptable ranges as quickly as possible. This practice is commonly referred to as reclamation leaching.
The amount of water needed in this process depends on a number of factors, including your irrigation method (pulse or continuous) and the composition of your soil.
Equations for how to calculate the amount of water needed for both maintenance leaching and reclamation leaching can be found in Aquatrols Guide to Assessing and Managing Turfgrass Salinity Issues in Irrigation Waters and Soils. Click here to download a version of the guide for free.