Who always has the best looking lawn in town? Your local golf course, of course. Here, you’ll find miles and miles of impeccably manicured fairways — because good turf, leads to better play — and more repeat business. That’s why golf courses are among the first businesses to bring their commercial irrigation systems up to par and employ new techniques keep those miles of greenery, green. Today, I’m going to give you a few tips, inspired by their success, to help you get better results at home, or at the office.
Keep It Cultivated
Golf courses use aerators to create small holes in their fairways, so water, air and nutrients can reach down to the grass roots. This helps the grass grow deeper roots and it also creates an opening to help it break through to the topsoil. Shallow roots are more likely to go dormant when warmer weather arrives, causing grass to turn brown. Deep roots help the grass stay strong, lush and green.
Golf course turf receives adequate nutrients from regular fertilizing. Fertilizers typically contain a balance of potassium and nitrogen, which helps the grass stay strong, even when it’s subjected to extreme temperature and heavy traffic. Weeds are kept at bay almost automatically, because no sunlight or moisture can get to them — the turf is too dense.
Optimize Water Coverage
Golf course superintendents use a number of techniques to ensure good water coverage. They choose specific sprinkler heads and nozzles to optimize water levels in different areas of the course — sprinkler heads are spaced so streams overlap. Watering cycles are scheduled at dusk and dawn to avoid evaporation and moisture loss caused by the sun.
Measure and Respond
Today’s golf courses use high-tech irrigation control systems with sophisticated sensors. These sensors record data on wind conditions, rainfall, evapotranspiration (ET), and outside temperatures, and automatically adjust watering cycles to optimize water levels on playable areas of the course.
Start with the Tough Stuff
When Florida experiences drought-like conditions, lawns and plants often suffer the consequences. That’s why many golf courses use native plants and more resistant turfs.
The United States Golf Association is taking these efforts a step further by supporting university grants to develop grasses that are resistant to drought, salt water and pests. For example, the University of Georgia recently developed a type of salt-resistant grass that can be watered with ocean water – no filtration needed.
Use Alternative Water Sources
Some courses irrigate their lawns with water from onsite water hazards and storm water ponds, reclaimed water facilities or even desalinized brackish or ocean waters. This conserves drinking water and allows the golf courses to water as much as they want — Tampa has no watering restrictions on reclaimed water.
Grow Greens Hydroponically
Many golf greens use a hydroponic system for growing grass. This system is installed during construction — a bulldozer makes a hole for the green that is between 12 and 16 inches deep. In more advanced systems, the hole is lined with plastic, before gravel, drainage pipes and sand are added. This creates an ideal environment for growth – the stand is sterile and the drainage is just right. The surface of the green is shaped to encourage runoff and prevent flooding.
Keep Your Irrigation System Maintained
When your business depends on lush green landscapes to stay in business, you don’t take any chances. You make sure your state-of-the-art system has a state-of-the art maintenance plan, so everything stays running, like it should.
Ready to go pro and put some of these techniques to work on your own lawn? The right irrigation system will go a long way in helping you achieve the results you want. For more information, please call 727-261-0521 or email us at [email protected].
Former U.S. Coast Guard and Tampa-native Joseph Swett is the owner of Sunrise Irrigation, a Palm Harbor-based company that has been providing sprinkler and irrigation services in the Tampa Bay Area, Florida, for more than 20 years. A RainBird-trained landscape specialist, Mr. Swett is dedicated to helping Florida homes and businesses implement effective irrigation technologies and transition towards smart water conservation. In his spare time, Joe sponsors and plays in two men’s softball leagues, but also enjoys surfing and going fishing with his family.