I’m on my way home from the World Turfgrass Congress which was held in Toledo, Spain over the past few days. A gathering of around 450 turf managers and industry vendors focused on topics for two days of Sustainability and Technology for the Turfgrass Industry, also featuring a field day at Novogreen looking at turf varieties that required less inputs and could handle bad water situations.
The EU turf managers have had to think outside the box at all times because legislation has taken away many of the common products we use here in the US. The EU turf managers are focusing on cultural practices and natural treatments that will give them a head start on the stress of the season, as well as how to perform CPR and get recovery without being able to have the chemical products that allow them to stop a disease in its tracks. It was an impressive program for the few days.
Many presentations from individuals from around the world that manage many of the great turf facilities and organizations in the world. The last program of each day was a round table discussion where leaders in the Spanish Turfgrass Industry and the audience interacted for an hour on various topics that related to management of Turfgrass, staffing, and their own mental health. It was fascinating to listen to how this group as a whole helped each other and were tackling the issues that is seems the world is facing post COVID of less labor, inflationary monetary stresses, and being asked to produce more with less. One dominant issue that consistently was discussed was the overuse of water and how legislation is forcing turf managers to have a set allotment of water. I see this as the future for the world to be honest. For us in the US it has already begun in the Western part of the US, but I see it becoming a standard for all the US very soon. Not only do we see less water being used, but the quality of the water is declining each year.
Being the end of April now and with most of the US starting their season or some areas starting their renovation processes soon, I wonder how many turf managers are preparing for this upcoming legislation and requirements of less water? I don’t know a single turf manager in the world who would waste water on purpose, but how many have done an audit of their irrigation systems or evaluated within their Agronomic program how many acres of Turfgrass are you actually watering? We have many tools at our disposal to help find out those answers.
Irrigation audits can be performed by simply using a catch can method or by investing in hiring someone to perform a professional audit using more sophisticated technology and software tools to evaluate the system and your water management program as a whole to help you develop a plan moving forward. Technology now offers us the ability to pick several different hand held moisture meters along with other software tools that communicate with these sensors to help you better understand your water outputs and how your soils react with the water you are applying.
With the weather patterns changing and more extreme weather events occurring every year, one must learn how to manage their water as efficiently as possible. Wetting agents are a key input that must be considered when planning your water management for the year. These products help you save water by allowing the soil to interact with the water being applied in a more efficient manner. Early season applications are a must to help you get ahead of the curve before we enter into the hot stressful part of the upcoming season. Please see the following video to help you better understand the relationship between the soil colloid and the water molecule along with how the root systems of your Turfgrass interact to allow for a more efficient healthy plant.
I am sure that some of you reading this are ahead of the game by having already performed the action items above. I know no one is wasting water on purpose either, but in our fast paced world we live in today, I encourage those who have not evaluated their water management programs or have not considered how legislation and water restrictions will affect their properties, to take the time this year to start planning and evaluating your programs for increase efficiencies within your own Agronomic programs.