Event Title

Quantifying Soil Water Flow and Conservative Tracer Transport below Turf Grass and Native Low Water Use Plants in a Semi-Arid Environment

Presenter Information

James Gregory

Location

Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu/

Start Date

3-27-2006 10:35 AM

End Date

3-27-2006 10:40 AM

Description

Increased demand for water in the future may require a transition to more water efficient landscaping. Many landscapes in Utah use water inefficiently by maintaining non-native plant species that are not adapted to a semi arid environment or summer drought conditions characteristic of the Intermountain West. For example Kentucky blue grass (Poa pratensis), a cool season C3 grass uses up to 762 mm of water a year in a semi arid environment where the precipitation rate averages only 330 mm a year. Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) a warm season C4 grass native to the Great Plains is considered a low water use species adapted to a climate with only 380 mm of water a year. One of the objectives of this study was to compare soil water potentials and plant water use between traditional non native high water use and native drought tolerant landscapes during a 3 week dry-down at the Utah Botanical Center, Kaysville, Utah. Soil water potentials were measured using inexpensive Irrometer Watermark resistance blocks at 4 points and 3 depths (15, 45, and 90 CM) along an 11 m diagonal transect in 4, 2 X 2 replicated traditional and native landscapes. Each replicated landscape is installed in a (9.1m x 6.1m x 1.6 m) drainage lysimeter, and is being monitored for seasonal changes in soil water status. Data from each landscape were compared during a dry down between DOY 216 to DOY 238 to measure differences in soil water potential and dry down response at the12 locations in the soil profile. The 4 points along the diagonal transect include 3 landscape treatments. Ornamental annual and perennial shrubs and bunch grass, turf grass, and pine tree. At the end of the dry down on day of year 238 the soil profile had soil water potential values that were 50% more negative at 15 and 45 cm under the non native Kentucky Blue grass compared to Buffalo grass. Soil water potentials were less negative under the mulched ornamental and pine tree treatments compared to the drier turf grass treatments indicating lower plant water use in the non turf grass treatments. Irrometer Watermark Blocks provide an inexpensive method to estimate relative changes in soil water potential, soil water transport, and plant water use over time and may be used to provide information for irrigation scheduling.

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Mar 27th, 10:35 AM Mar 27th, 10:40 AM

Quantifying Soil Water Flow and Conservative Tracer Transport below Turf Grass and Native Low Water Use Plants in a Semi-Arid Environment

Eccles Conference Center

Increased demand for water in the future may require a transition to more water efficient landscaping. Many landscapes in Utah use water inefficiently by maintaining non-native plant species that are not adapted to a semi arid environment or summer drought conditions characteristic of the Intermountain West. For example Kentucky blue grass (Poa pratensis), a cool season C3 grass uses up to 762 mm of water a year in a semi arid environment where the precipitation rate averages only 330 mm a year. Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) a warm season C4 grass native to the Great Plains is considered a low water use species adapted to a climate with only 380 mm of water a year. One of the objectives of this study was to compare soil water potentials and plant water use between traditional non native high water use and native drought tolerant landscapes during a 3 week dry-down at the Utah Botanical Center, Kaysville, Utah. Soil water potentials were measured using inexpensive Irrometer Watermark resistance blocks at 4 points and 3 depths (15, 45, and 90 CM) along an 11 m diagonal transect in 4, 2 X 2 replicated traditional and native landscapes. Each replicated landscape is installed in a (9.1m x 6.1m x 1.6 m) drainage lysimeter, and is being monitored for seasonal changes in soil water status. Data from each landscape were compared during a dry down between DOY 216 to DOY 238 to measure differences in soil water potential and dry down response at the12 locations in the soil profile. The 4 points along the diagonal transect include 3 landscape treatments. Ornamental annual and perennial shrubs and bunch grass, turf grass, and pine tree. At the end of the dry down on day of year 238 the soil profile had soil water potential values that were 50% more negative at 15 and 45 cm under the non native Kentucky Blue grass compared to Buffalo grass. Soil water potentials were less negative under the mulched ornamental and pine tree treatments compared to the drier turf grass treatments indicating lower plant water use in the non turf grass treatments. Irrometer Watermark Blocks provide an inexpensive method to estimate relative changes in soil water potential, soil water transport, and plant water use over time and may be used to provide information for irrigation scheduling.

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2006/AllPosters/6