Evaluation of irrigation scheduling approaches within sand-capped turfgrass systems Academic Article uri icon


  • In an effort to improve performance of turfgrass irrigated with poorquality water, the practice of sand capping is increasing. Given current strains on water supplies, evaluation of various methods of irrigation scheduling approaches for these systems is needed. The objectives of this 2yr field study were to evaluate turfgrass performance, temporal and spatial soil moisture and salinity dynamics, and comparative water use among four irrigation scheduling approaches including (a) wireless soil moisture sensor (SMS), (b) onsite reference evapotranspiration (ET), (c) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasted reference evapotranspiration, and (d) visualwiltbased treatment. The turfgrass used was Latitude 36 hybrid bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. C. transvaalensis BurttDavy] planted atop a 17.8cm mediumcoarse textured sand cap. Results demonstrated that all approaches produced similar levels of acceptable turfgrass quality and percentage green cover with no apparent differences in root development. Forecasted reference evapotranspiration was found to be a good predictor of onsite ET (R = .97) when comparing daily values across two growing seasons. Under wiltbased irrigation, the volumetric water content (7.6 cm sandcap depth) at which wilt occurred was highest midsummer (4.14.7%) but declined during early and late summer months (1.82.2%), suggesting different thresholds may be needed throughout the season when using SMSbased scheduling. Finally, seasonal water use was 23% lower for the onsite ETbased approach compared with SMSbased scheduling, although this did not result in elevated electrical conductivity within the sand cap. The results provide important information to guide adoption of datadriven approaches to irrigation scheduling.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Hejl, R. W., Wherley, B. G., McInnes, K., Straw, C. M., & Fontanier, C.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Hejl, Reagan Wesley||Wherley, Benjamin G||McInnes, Kevin||Straw, Chase M||Fontanier, Charles

publication date

  • January 2022