Bank Holiday Dry Down – Soil Moisture Levels

Soil moisture levels across the UK. Investigated.

I’ve been watching the soil moisture probes we have in the ground at Corhampton Golf club closely hoping they’d give me a real indication of what’s going on in the soil and how they could help to get optimum irrigation timings.

They certainly helped identify that each green (or each individual spot) have different dry down rates and proved to me that optimum irrigation rates would be different throughout the green. Which kind of tied in with my philosophy as a Course Manager of relying on hand-watering as much as labour would allow me to.

I was fairly happy with them, until this week when the relationship between normal probing technique and the “in ground” ones stopped correlating completely.

This highly likely to be because they are measuring moisture at different levels. The Delta-T pictured above will measure it throughout the 100mm of soil profile whereas the “in ground” probe is measuring at one individual spot 50mm down.

I’ve just finished writing an article on moisture levels for Greenkeeper International and the conclusion I drew was that roots need moisture to grow but the key to success is having more moisture lower in the profile and less moisture higher in the profile but enough to allow the turf to remain healthy.

So I now have 3 probes throughout the profile in the same spot – 50mm, 100mm and 150mm. It’ll be interesting to see how the moisture is distributed throughout the profile and just how much control can we have over this?

No conclusions yet – but watch this space. Keep an eye out this 4 day weekend, the temperatures are set to lift and in some parts of the country soil moisture deficits will be frighteningly low.

Enjoy the Bank holidays and make sure you don’t lose any roots over the next 4 days – the season is long, make sure you start on the right foot.

Happy Easter from all the Syngenta team

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