More advantages of frequent irrigation

Update: I’m adding a note here today (21 Nov 2017) to correct and clarify about these data. Mike Richardson pointed out to me that the “differences from plots irrigated to field capacity 2X or 6X / wk were small and not significant” in this experiment.

I thought the data from from this experiment were interesting because the plot receiving frequent irrigation, and the lowest amount of irrigation, also had the highest turf quality.

This chart shows the data from the article referenced below.

This is the same chart, with the axes set to go to 0. Dr. Richardson pointed out that these are not significant differences.

He’s correct, some of these differences are not statistically significant.

I still think it is useful to be aware that frequent irrigation—6 times per week—to 70% of of field capacity resulted in consistently better turf quality, fewer dry spots, and a 30% reduction in total water use compared to deep and infrequent irrigation to field capacity 1 time per week.

What follows below is the original post from May 2014.


I have written about deep and infrequent or light and frequent irrigation, showing this chart that demonstrates how the average soil moisture content can be lower when irrigation is applied frequently.

An important consequence of that, although a counterintuitive one, is that soil air content can be higher when irrigation is applied more frequently.

The new STERF publication Irrigation of Turf on Golf Courses by Kvalbein and Aamlid, includes convincing data that supports the frequent approach.

To paraphrase their results: frequent irrigation—6 times per week—to 70% of of field capacity resulted in consistently better turf quality, fewer dry spots, and a 30% reduction in total water use compared to deep and infrequent irrigation to field capacity 1 time per week.

As an additional benefit, soil surfactants worked better too:

the need for surfactants was less with frequent deficit irrigation than with infrequent irrigation to field capacity

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