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IA webinar covers water conservation approaches in turfgrass systems

April 6, 2021 -  By

The Irrigation Association (IA)’s webinar entitled “Water Conservation Approaches in Turfgrass Systems” counts as one continuing education unit and can be viewed online 90 days from the activation date.

Two different approaches to water conservation will be discussed during the webinar, based on information obtained from two separate research projects at Kansas State University.

Project 1: Subsurface drip irrigation is increasingly popular because of its potential for conserving and uniformly distributing water. Researchers investigated the effects of straw and polymesh germination blankets in combination with SSDI on germination and the establishment of tall fescue turfgrass. Under ground covers, soil temperatures were 5 to 7 degrees higher and erosion during rainfall was reduced, resulting in uniform and faster germination of tall fescue compared with no ground covers.

Project 2: Irrigation strategies typically rely on calendar or evapotranspiration schedules that completely ignore soil moisture. The research approach is to integrate the components of the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum by utilizing sensor-based technology to determine turf canopy responses to soil water deficits and to improve irrigation decisions. Water savings of 70 percent have been achieved using this approach.

Cost of the webinar is $20 for members and 40 for nonmembers and registration can be found online. The webinar will be hosted by Alex Bach and Wes Dyer.

Alex Bach, MS graduate student at Kansas State University

Alex Bach’s interest in irrigation began three years ago when the Irrigation Association granted him a scholarship after he explained how much he enjoyed and had learned in the irrigation class at Kansas State University. The following year, he became an E3 winner, an opportunity where the IA paid for his trip to the annual Irrigation Show and Education Conference. His experience in Long Beach, Calif., that year was where he learned the career possibilities in the irrigation industry, propelling his interest in pursuing a master’s degree focused on irrigation. Earlier this year, the National Association of Landscape Professionals granted Bach the Hunter Industries Water Conservation/Irrigation Efficiency Scholarship, assuring his decision to pursue a career in the irrigation industry.

Wes Dyer, Ph.D. graduate student at Kansas State University

Wes Dyer, Ph.D. candidate, is studying horticulture and natural resources at Kansas State University. His research focuses on water conservation efforts in turfgrass systems. Approaches include utilizing various sensor technology, field research and lab analysis to share data for better irrigation decisions. Throughout his studies, he gained interest in environmental soil physics, water conservation approaches and computer programming for data analysis. He received his bachelor’s at Mississippi State University and his master’s in agronomy at Texas A&M University, where his research focused on water quality issues. Having worked on golf courses and athletic fields and volunteered for six PGA Tour tournaments as agronomy staff, Dyer has a passion to connect research with industry application.

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