Irrigation strategy and H2Pro SaltSmart key to greens recovery at De Woeste Kop golf club during extreme summer
We join Arjén Westeneng, greenkeeper at golf club De Woeste Kop (Axel, The Netherlands) to look back on the challenges of an extremely dry and hot summer.
“I’ve been greenkeeper at De Woeste Kop for 6 years now. Admittedly, for many people Zeeland (province) and salt are two inseperable things, but since I’ve been here, the water was practically salt-free. Until the extremely hot and dry summer of 2018. The past couple of months we barely had any rainfall. We ran out of fresh water, and the water from both our pumps had EC levels nearing 3 mmol/cm3. Water with a high EC can cause severe salinity stress for turf and make overseeding directly after the hot period necessary.
This year we started monitoring moisture content and EC with our POGO device and irrigating by hand to reduce turf stress. But the water, and thus also the soil, kept getting saltier and saltier. Together with ICL Specialty Fertilizers advisor Twan van Wijk we searched for a solution. Twan contacted his colleagues in Spain, where they have a lot of experience with drought stress. They advised us to use loads more water, and when I say ‘loads more’ I mean about 20 mm more per application. So we applied H2Pro SaltSmart and opened up the sprinklers. SaltSmart is a wetting agent specially developed to flush problem salts out of the root zone, and so improve growing circumstances in salty conditions. Thanks to H2Pro SaltSmart and the adjustment in our irrigation strategy, we saw the EC levels decrease. The POGO measurements confirmed this too. On top of this we discovered that the 3 wetter greens did not react to SaltSmart as much as the very dry ones. Obviously, the wetter the greens, the less flushing effect could be realized with the product.
It took a bit of figuring out, but thanks to the help of the right people and a change in our irrigation strategy, we found the ideal solution!”