Tips for Making Seasonal Irrigation Changes
As we approach the time when the daylight hours get shorter, and the sun angle drops lower in the sky, take a few minutes to review your watering schedule to make sure it matches the changing weather conditions.
Here are a few things to review:
- When is your system coming on?
- Can you turn off the evening cycle and water more deeply in the morning?
Morning irrigation can minimize disease pressure by reducing overnight moisture and knocking the dew off the grass. A good soaking of a tenth to two-tenths of an inch should easily get you through one day and maybe more.
- Will increased cloud cover reduce or stop irrigation?
Don’t let your guard down too quickly, though. Early fall days can also bring lower humidity, lower dew points, and higher winds. These conditions can raise the evapotranspiration rate (ET), which will require more water than on hot summer days.
So, what are some tools to help make your daily watering decision easier?
Nothing beats an accurate forecast. Give Usairnet.com a try. Their aviation forecast has a ton of information, such as standard forecast, wind speed and direction, chance of precipitation, humidity, dew point, and my personal favorite, humidity to dew point spread. Days with a spread of 20 or more is an indicator of high ET. Days hovering around 10-15 are reduced-to-zero irrigation.
Another option is to invest in a soil moisture meter. FieldScout TDR or POGO are two excellent choices. They both measure volumetric water content in the soil. A good starting point is 20%. Take readings at the same time of day and in the same area each week and see what your numbers are.
If you would like a partner in reviewing irrigation timing and controls to maximize your turf’s potential, feel free to reach out your local ATS representative. We’re here to serve!