Spring Dry down – Soil Moisture Levels

I’ve seen a bit of Twitter activity recently about the dry weather and how things are drying out from the wetter early part of March.

As we’ve now had a few days of dry weather using the moisture probes we have in the ground we can begin to plot some trends.

The below video shows March’s moisture pattern and the begining of a period of dry down on 3 different greens.

Knowing there is no rain in the short-term forecast, having the ability to use trend data to forecast how things are drying out is really useful.

If my forecast is correct (and the longer a period I can use the more accurate it will be) you can see that we are only a few days from one of the three greens reaching 30% moisture content. However, the other two greens will take an additional 6 days to reach the same point.

Understanding a greens dry down rate is really important when managing it’s irrigation programme. Each green and every area of that green will dry down a slightly different rates.

In an ideal world you’d be delivering the right amount of water to those greens individually. However that is beyond the labour and / irrigation technoloies available to most courses.

Qualibra Syngenta’s wetting agent is designed to help even these dry down rates out and achieve more consistent surfaces. This is important for both agronomic reasons and consistent putting surfaces.

Starting these programmes early is vitally important as once early season moisture levels are lost, root mass often disappears with it leaving an uphill battle early in the season to chase recovery. This, in turn, can put you on the wrong foot going into the season and potentially leading to the turf not being in the best position to resist Anthracnose later in the season.

Ensure you monitor your moisture levels carefully early in the season and try to dry the surface out slowly. Remember moisture contents have been high all winter, so a sudden dry down won’t be welcomed by the plant. Far better to dry the surfaces down to your target moisture content slowly, keep the root mass and the push the boundaries (if you so choose) later in the year.

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