Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Evaluation of a soil moisture sensor to reduce water and nutrient leaching in turfgrass (Cynodon dactylon cv. Wintergreen)

S. M. Pathan A B , L. Barton A and T. D. Colmer A C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Plant Biology (M084), Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.

B Present address: Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Great Eastern Highway, Merredin, WA 6415, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: tdcolmer@cyllene.uwa.edu.au

Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 47(2) 215-222 https://doi.org/10.1071/EA05189
Submitted: 1 July 2005  Accepted: 1 July 2006   Published: 23 January 2007

Abstract

This study evaluated water application rates, leaching and quality of couch grass (Cynodon dactylon cv. Wintergreen) under a soil moisture sensor-controlled irrigation system, compared with plots under conventional irrigation scheduling as recommended for domestic lawns in Perth, Western Australia by the State’s water supplier. The cumulative volume of water applied during summer to the field plots of turfgrass with the sensor-controlled system was 25% less than that applied to plots with conventional irrigation scheduling. During 154 days over summer and autumn, about 4% of the applied water drained from lysimeters in sensor-controlled plots, and about 16% drained from lysimeters in plots with conventional irrigation scheduling. Even though losses of mineral nitrogen via leaching were extremely small (representing only 1.1% of the total nitrogen applied to conventionally irrigated plots), losses were significantly lower in the sensor-controlled plots. Total clippings produced were 18% lower in sensor-controlled plots. Turfgrass colour in sensor-controlled plots was reduced during summer, but colour remained acceptable under both treatments. The soil moisture sensor-controlled irrigation system enabled automatic implementation of irrigation events to match turfgrass water requirements.

Additional keywords: bermudagrass, couch grass, irrigation, lysimeter, nutrients, soil water, turfgrass colour.


Acknowledgements

We thank Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) and Holman Industries of Western Australia for financial support of this research. Ken Cuming, a director of Watermatic Controls and inventor of the sensor, is thanked for installation of the sensors in the field plots and for advice during the study. Greenacres Turf Farm is thanked for supplying the turfgrass used in plots at the UWA Research Facility. City of Stirling is thanked for providing Lanchester Park as a research site.


References


Allen DG , Jeffery RC (1990) Methods for analysis of phosphorus in Western Australian soils. Report of Investigation No. 37. Chemistry Centre, Perth.

Augustin BJ, Snyder GH (1984) Moisture sensor-controlled irrigation for maintaining bermudagrass turf. Agronomy Journal 76, 848–850.

Barton L, Colmer TD (2006) Irrigation and fertiliser strategies for minimising nitrogen leaching from turfgrass. Agricultural Water Management 80, 160–175.
CrossRef |

Beard JB (1973) ‘Turfgrass science and culture.’ (Prentice Hall Inc.: Englewood Cliffs, NJ)

Biran IB, Bravdo I, Bushkin-Harav I, Rawitz E (1981) Water consumption and growth rate of 11 turfgrasses as affected by mowing height, irrigation frequency, and soil moisture. Agronomy Journal 73, 85–90.

Carpenter SR, Caraco NF, Correll DL, Howarth RW, Sharpley AN, Smith VH (1998) Nonpoint pollution of surface waters with phosphorus and nitrogen. Ecological Applications 8, 559–568.
CrossRef |

Carrow RN , Petrovic AM (1992) Effects of traffic on turfgrass. In ‘Turfgrass’. (Eds DV Waddington, RN Carrow, RC Shearman) pp. 286-325. Agronomy Monograph 32. (ASA and SSSA: Madison, WI)

Cuming KJ (1991) ‘Conservation water and minimising drainage. Proceedings of the national conference.’ (The Irrigation Association of Australia: Perth)

Hamill M, Camlin MS (1984) The measurement of leaf colour in grasses. Journal of Agricultural Science 103, 387–393.

Hanson BR, Orloff S, Peters D (2000a) Monitoring soil moisture helps refine irrigation management. California Agriculture 54, 38–42.

Hanson BR, Peters D, Orloff S (2000b) Effectiveness of tensiometers and electrical resistance sensors varies with soil conditions. California Agriculture 54, 47–50.

Hsiao TC, Acevedo E, Fereres E, Henderson DW (1976) Stress metabolism: Water stress, growth and osmotic adjustment. Philosophical Transactions Royal Society of London 273, 479–500.

Huang B, Duncan RR, Carrow RN (1997) Drought-resistance mechanisms of seven warm-season turfgrasses under surface soil drying: I. Shoot response. Crop Science 37, 1858–1863.

Isbell RF (1996) ‘The Australian soil classification.’ (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne)

Kamphake LJ, Hannah SA, Cohen JM (1967) Automated analysis for nitrate by hydrazine reduction. Water Research 1, 205–216.
CrossRef |

Landschoot PJ, Mancino CF (2000) A comparison of visual vs. instrumental measurement of color differences in bentgrass turf. HortScience 35, 914–916.

Leib BG, Jabro JD, Matthews GR (2003) Field evaluation and performance comparison of soil moisture sensors. Soil Science 168, 396–408.
CrossRef |

McArthur WM , Bettenay E (1960) ‘The development and distribution of the soils of the Swan Coastal Plain, Western Australia. Soil Publication No. 16.’ (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne)

Meron M, Hallel R, Peres M, Bravdo B, Wallach R (2001) Tensiometer actuated automatic micro irrigation of apples. Acta Horticulturae 562, 63–69.

Morgan WC, Marsh AW (1965) Turfgrass irrigation by tensiometer-controlled system. California Agriculture 19, 4–5.

Morton TG, Gold AJ, Sullivan WM (1988) Influence of overwatering and fertilization on nitrogen losses from home lawns. Journal of Environmental Quality 17, 124–130.

Motomizu S, Wakimoto T, Toei K (1983) Spectrophotometric determination of phosphate in river waters with molybdate blue and malachite green. The Analyst 108, 361–367.
CrossRef |

OECD (1982) ‘Eutrophication of waters: monitoring, assessment and control.’ (OECD: Paris)

Pathan SM, Aylmore LAG, Colmer TD (2003) Properties of several fly ash materials as a potential soil amendment. Journal of Environmental Quality 32, 687–693.
PubMed |


Petrovic AM (1990) The fate of nitrogenous fertilisers applied to turfgrass: a review and analyses. Journal of Environmental Quality 19, 114.

Qualls RJ, Scott JM, DeOreo WB (2001) Soil moisture sensors for urban landscape irrigation: effectiveness and reliability. Journal of American Water Resources Association 37, 547–559.

Shock CC, Feibert EBG, Saunders LD (1998) Potato yield and quality response to deficit irrigation. HortScience 33, 655–659.

Short DC (2002) Irrigation requirements and water-use of turf grasses in a Mediterranean-type environment. PhD thesis. The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.

Shuman LM (2001) Phosphorus and nitrate movement through simulated golf green. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 129, 305–318.
CrossRef |

Searle PL (1984) The berthelot or indophenol reaction and its use in the analytical chemistry of nitrogen. A review. The Analyst 109, 549–568.
CrossRef |

Smith VH (1998) Cultural eutrophication of inland, esturarine, and coastal waters. In ‘Successes, limitations, and frontiers in ecosystem science’. (Eds ML Pace and PM Groffman) pp. 7–49. (Springer-Verlag: New York)

Snyder GH, Augustin BJ, Davidson JM (1984) Moisture sensor-controlled irrigation for reducing N leaching in bermudagrass turf. Agronomy Journal 76, 964–969.

Spaans EJA, Baker JM (1992) Calibation of WaterMark soil moisture sensors for soil matric potential and temperature. Plant and Soil 143, 213–217.
CrossRef |

Stieber TD, Shock CC (1995) Placement of soil moisture sensors in sprinkler irrigated potatoes. American Potato Journal 72, 533–543.

Turner TR (1993) Turfgrass. In ‘Nutrient deficiencies and toxicities in crop plants’. (Ed. WF Bennett) pp. 187–196. (APS Press: St Paul, MI)

Willoughby P, Cumming KJ (1985) Automatic irrigation in a peach orchid. HortScience 20, 445–446.

Youngner VB (1985) Physiology of water use and water stress. In ‘Turf water conservation’. (Ed. V Gibeault) pp. 37–43. (ANR Publications, University of California: Oakland, CA)








Rent Article (via Deepdyve) Export Citation Cited By (2)