The Groundsman

March 2013

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the Groundsman March 2013 IOG ADVICE 25 Ask the expert The IOG's panel of experts answers your questions regarding groundsmanship issues, turfcare advice, careers guidance or training matters How can I maximise water efficiency throughout the year? Anticipating potential interruptions to the water supply would be a sensible measure given the events of around 12 months ago. It is, in any case, increasingly hard to justify the volumes of mains drinking water used for some activities. The groundscare industry can both assist the situation and insure itself against future difficulties by taking steps now. Maximising water efficiency starts with greater knowledge of usage, volumes and timings. This helps identify any potential savings or expensive leaks in the system. Not all measures need to be large scale rainwater harvesting projects (although a number of clubs have successfully implemented these via successful external funding). Reducing water application rates so they do not exceed the surface capacity for infiltration avoids runoff. Low pressure sprinklers and misting can assist. Irrigating outside of the warmest times of the day reduces evapotranspiration and for cricket groundstaff using covers can be an important aspect of pitch moisture management. The turf demand for water can also be impacted by raising mowing heights and using less, or different types of, fertiliser (another good reason for soil testing). Many more considerations can be made inside clubhouses and education of members and staff is an important aspect of this. Water can very often be undervalued and it needs appropriate management. Can you give some tips on effective drainage solutions? Designing and installing drainage is specialist work and needs to be undertaken on a site by site basis. The signs of poor drainage may be obvious, surface ponding for example, but others such as mottling in the soil or specific turf disorders may need a professional eye. Aside from the requirement to comply with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999, a problem can be exacerbated by misguided conception and inappropriate calculations. A few general suggestions can be made but it is impossible to offer solutions without visual inspection. Firstly, it would be useful to know if there is any installed drainage on the site. Records can be lost over time but it is important to try and establish if any sub-surface pipework exists so it can be considered either as part of the remedy, or at least not further damaged by any works. Digging inspection trenches may be a last resort as the presence of drainage pipes can sometimes be seen in contrasting growth patterns. Looking for an outfall that may connect to a network would be advisable as any corrective work would in any case need to identify an eventual escape route for water. Ultimately, choices of which, what and how will be dictated by the site and budget available, contrast for example the options of a golf course with those of a tennis court. For both the aim remains the same – to increase the potential for use by swift removal of excess water. There are numerous possibilities for doing this and an advisory visit from the IOG would help inform such decisions. Please contact membership@iog.org if you have a personal query or would like to share your views with our readers – we'd love to hear from you

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