WATER RESOURCE CENTER
Is It Better To Irrigate Light And Frequent Or Deep And Infrequent? May 20, 2014

Both irrigation practices are commonly used and will provide quality playing conditions. Generally, light, daily or frequent irrigation keeps the top one to three inches of the soil moist, while deep, infrequent irrigation waits for signs of the grass wilting before applying enough irrigation to wet the soil to a depth of 10 inches or more. Light frequent irrigation provides a healthy looking turfgrass; however, at the expense of the grass plant developing a deep root system.

A study at the University of Maryland found creeping bentgrass subjected to deep infrequent irrigation developed less thatch and organic matter than was found in light frequent irrigated plots. Deep, infrequent irrigation produced a greater number of roots, longer roots and a larger root surface area that helped the turfgrass during periods of higher temperatures. Slightly more than twice the amount of water was applied to the light frequent versus deep infrequent irrigated plots.

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