Stacia Conger, Beasley, Jeffrey S.
This publication is the third in a series addressing best management practices for Louisiana and Mississippi golf courses. The first publication, Nutrient BMPs for Golf Courses in Louisiana and Mississippi (LSU AgCenter Pub. 3619), and second publication, Water Resource Management BMPs for Golf Courses in Louisiana and Mississippi (Mississippi State Extension Pub. P3365), address many issues that are equally important to protecting water resources on golf courses.
Proper irrigation design, application and scheduling are important to the sustainable operation of golf courses. Unfortunately, rainfall does not consistently occur at the correct time, place or amount despite high annual averages in Louisiana and Mississippi. The imposed stress from improperly applied irrigation can invite other stressors such as weeds, pests and diseases that negatively impact turfgrass health. These stressors may become difficult to control if unfavorable growing conditions persist, especially if the irrigation procedures are not corrected. Irrigating too much or too often can also negatively impact a healthy turfgrass due to leaching nutrients and other mobile chemicals such as pesticides. Standing water can lead to oxygen deprivation that can cause stress to the turfgrass sward and affect the playability of the course. Also, lack of proper irrigation can cause erosion and surface runoff that carries nutrients, sediment or other pollutants to local water bodies. Properly irrigating a golf course has the potential to reduce or alleviate concerns over diminishing water resources, increasing environmental regulation and rising costs.
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