Posts Tagged ‘Irrigation’

Water Is No Good If It Cannot Get In The Ground

Coming into summer, I’d like to talk about water for a few posts. It’s the thing that I seem to get the most questions about this time of year and it’s the thing that I see the most mistakes being made with. I’ll try not to get too carried away with numbers and calculations. There are some, but this is more of an example of how I approach the agronomy of water quality.

Knowledge is power. For $50-80 bucks a sample, it’s information you can’t afford not to have.

Water Test. That’s right. Test the water. Get a great water test from a great lab. I’m going to keep saying this. Even if you “think” you have good water, test it. It doesn’t have to be complicated. If you have various water sources, test them all. If you prefer, get a sample out of a quick coupler and keep it simple. Every situation is different so use a little common sense in your sampling. Read the rest of this entry »

There Is A Big White Sandwich-Making Sweater-Folding Elephant In My Truck

The largely unrealized goal this year was to write more blog posts. Inside of that goal has been my deep-seated desire to make Maestro Peter happy. He’d be hog slop happy with more agronomy writing from me. “Agronomy, Wilber” is often the two word email that I get from Peter. It’s fine. I think he, like a lot of people think that every day, all day, I think about growing grass and that every conversation I have with everyone I see has to do with large bore topics like how to really deal with your LDS and the absolute best and only way to use growth regulators in a particular zip code and how organic fertilizers will eventually save the planet.

My problem is that there’s this big ass Elephant that has taken up residence in my truck and in my brain.   And because he’s there, hot agronomy topics like Read the rest of this entry »

There Is Stuff To Be Thankful For And Stuff To Loathe

This is the time of year when people find reasons to list what they are thankful for.

I’ve never been much for doing what everyone does. And I’m not real big on lists either. The creative types and Perez Hiltons of the world are apt to take the opportunity to list what they aren’t thankful for. Some of them don’t seem to be thankful for much of anything.

In further evolution of the species, a lot of people seem to be thankful for is the ability to miss the annual family show down. The option is to stand in line at Wal-mart all day Thursday for the Black Friday deals.

I’ve got something left over in my brain from Mad Magazine or something like that wherein I often think of things as Hot and Not . You know, kind of an ongoing brew of what’s really happening and what is to dislike.

Here it is in list form, because this blog won’t Vulcan Mind Meld as of yet:


  1. Apple Products. You can’t deny the innovation.
  2. Foster The People. Great band, great guys, including my friend Sean Cimino on guitar.
  3. Mini Cooper. If there’s ever a car for the future, the Mini has made a statement.
  4. Phosphites. Nothing has made more of a difference in more spray programs.
  5. Organic Fertilizers. Never a better time for choices and cost-effectiveness.

Not So Hot:

  1. Professional Sports. Yes, you all don’t make enough money—so stop playing and go work in the chosen profession of your college major.
  2. The Irrigation Industry. Control Systems=FAIL. (see #1 above for an option). Cost=FAIL (if we are ever gonna build golf again it has to be different).
  3. Hybrid Cars. Sorry Prius and Voltheads, but #3 above and the TDI and small turbo engines from VW, BMW and Ford are winners without 900 pounds of battery cells to worry about.
  4. General Managers. That’s right, ask for your Super to save the club another hundred grand.
  5. Trade Shows. I’ve never really understood them, but even the big ones are on life suppport. Ever meet a vendor that likes a good trade show?

I’m pretty sure that neither one of those lists covers it. But it is a fun exercise to put your mind around. For most people the cold list is much easier than the hot list.

Personally, I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot that needs to change. Isn’t that always the case? Most of all, I’m thankful for the friends and clients that I’m close with. Those people who have embraced Turfheadism, not as a disease to be hidden from our “non Green” friends and unturfheadlike families are unique and wonderful. Who couldn’t be thankful for them and those like them (us)?

Flushing the Faux Flush

For the sake of discussion spanning geography, lets just assume that in most climates, at some point, push-up or all sand greens need to be flushed. Today I’m thinking about the word Flush and what it means to different people at different times. In the field, if I ask 10 supers how much water a flush means to them, I’ll get 10 answers ranging for 10 min to 10 hours. Seriously? The math is pretty easy in the simple form so lets do it together.

Lets say we have 5,000 square feet of a 12 inch rootzone at 45% total pore space. A typical sand based green. That means I have 2250 cubic feet of pore space (sq ft x ft depth x pore space). Water is 7.48 gallons per cubic foot. So to get to Field Capacity in this example we take 2250 x 7.48=16,830 gallons (cu. ft. of pore space x gal per cu. ft =gallons to field capacity). If I fill these pores, pretty soon the forces of gravity take over and much like grabbing the handle on the toilet, BAM, there’s a flush. A rush of air into the rootzone and the bad stuff either hits the drain tile or goes to the next perched water table.

Our 16,830 gallons has to be applied and in this particular example, we have 4 heads covering this green and all 4 do 28 gpm and they are part circle sprinklers. We would double the GPM (assuming that they are exactly half circles…they never are but, we have to have an example). So that’s 4 x 56 or 224 gpm. We need to put out 16,830 gallons so our run time here would be 75 min (gallons needed/gpm=run time).

So if you tell me that you usually run green 6-8 min and today you flushed with 12 min, I’m gonna teach you this math because you are a Faux Flusher…an Irrigation Drag Queen. And this is an on paper calculation, the truth is with things like part circles that are more than 50% arc, leaching fraction and the like, you are probably closer to 120 min in the real world of this example. In fact, I think that the Faux Flush is probably one of the most damaging things that you can do. It often only makes things wetter, never gets to a real flush where the air gets exchanged and the surface actually might become firmer.

Consistently, when I talk about a flush and we see the real numbers, I’ll hear something to the tune of, “If I turn on heads for

more than 4 min, the water just runs off”. I’m sure that’s true with the daily double cutting and rolling and the like today and ideas like venting being something that not everyone gets, infiltration rates are bound to be minimal in the upper rootzone. However, when hydraulics and gravity and adhesion/cohesion take over in the presence of more water being applied, there’s a pull that happens. Think about it from a rain event perspective. The greens always puddle at the start of the rain event, but after several hours of rain, they don’t do it as much. Oh, and does any of this inspire you all with sand amended push-ups to want to have drainage? Not a bad color of lipstick for you to try.

I thought I might stimulate your mind on a pretty important topic. Don’t be a Faux Flushing Drag Queen.

Video: View From The Road 4/16/2011