Seeded bermudagrass establishment using subsurface drip irrigation
Weeaks, Justin D
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Throughout most of the .Southwest water is becoming limited. Innovative methods to conserve water loss during irrigation arc being evaluated and implemented in many parts of the U.S. No research to date has indicated whether seeded bermudagrass can be established by using subsurface drip irrigation (.SDI). In two experiments, seeded bemiudagrass was successfully established using SDI. Treatments consisted of tubing spaced at 30, 46, and 61 cm. Emitter spacing was equal to distance between lateral lines. The control treatment consisted of pop-up sprinklers. Salinity accumulation is a concern when irrigating turfgrass in areas of poor water quality and low annual rainfall. Salinity accumulation was visible at the soil surface during establishment in 2001, but turfgrass showed no visible signs of stress due to salinity. Salinity accumulation was greater in most months at the 0-15 cm depth in both years compared to the 15-30 cm depth. In establishment periods with significant rainfall, salinity accumulation is still possible but not seen at the soil surface in 2002. This research documents the ability to successfully establish seeded bermudagrass using SDI. Full turfgrass coverage (> 90%) for the control plots in 2001 was around 8.5 weeks and the SDI treatments had complete coverage in 10 weeks. Turfgrass coverage for all treatments in 2002 was 9 weeks. Experiment II had a slightly faster establishment rate due to greater rainfall and different soil characteristics than that of Experiment I. Root count and depth of roots for both years showed roots to 61 cm depth in all treatments. A general trend of higher salinity accumulation midpoint of tubing was seen in Experiments I and II. However, after significant rainfall, salinity accumulation returned to concentrations comparable to initial soil salinity in both years. This is important because roots are finding water below the SDI tubing, which was buried at IS cm. Root number in both years was sufficient to provide a healthy turfgrass. Subsurface drip irrigation is a successful method of establishing seeded bermudagrass.