The Groundsman

September 2012

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Page 38 of 59

the Groundsman September 2012 FEATURE 39 Whetting the appetite for savings… We report how a soil moisture meter is benefiting the turf management regime at a golf course in Scotland As part of gWest's golf course's good soil/water relationship management system, a Spectrum Technologies' FieldScout TDR300 soil moisture meter is enabling the Course Manager to accurately interpret "what is going on beneath my feet" and, as a result, achieve savings in water usage and chemical use, as well as a consistently top-class playing surface. He continues: "We use the TDR300 to collate soil moisture level data, as part of a wider view of the rootzone performance, and the meter helps us to identify and establish indicators why certain things are happening in the soil and on the turf. "In addition, our greenkeepers use the device to determine how much hand watering is required and, importantly when to stop watering - saving a lot of wasted over-watering and labour." Nothing that the device is very user friendly and gives a wide range of options on measuring moisture depth and data recording the data, the club adds that the plan now is to use the TDR300's GPS capability and SpecMaps software to take on a much wider role of data collection – for example, for monitoring disease outbreak locations and for measuring moisture levels in fungal attacks such as dry patch. This additional data will help with a greater prevention, understanding, control and recovery of pest and diseases. "In the long run we hope to gain greater savings on our irrigation water and expensive electrical running costs, a reduction in chemical use by better timed applications and spot treatment as opposed to blanket treatments, and overall a far more consistent performing playing surface".

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