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Quantifying surfactant interaction effects on soil moisture and turf quality

Poulter, R.E. and Duff, A.A. and Bauer, B. (2009) Quantifying surfactant interaction effects on soil moisture and turf quality. Project Report. TU08034. Horticulture Australia Limited.

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Organisation URL: http://www.deedi.qld.gov.au
Publisher URL: http://www.horticulture.com.au/reports/search_final_reports.asp

Abstract

Soil water repellency occurs widely in horticultural and agricultural soils when very dry. The gradual accumulation and breakdown of surface organic matter over time produces wax-like organic acids, which coat soil particles preventing uniform entry of water into the soil. Water repellency is usually managed by regular surfactant applications. Surfactants, literally, are surface active agents (SURFace ACTive AgeNTS). Their mode of action is to reduce the surface tension of water, allowing it to penetrate and wet the soil more easily and completely. This practice improves water use efficiency (by requiring less water to wet the soil and by capturing rainfall and irrigation more effectively and rapidly). It also reduces nutrient losses through run-off erosion or leaching. These nutrients have the potential to pollute the surrounding environment and water courses. This project investigated potential improvements to standard practices (product combination and scheduling) for surfactant use to overcome localised dry spots on water repellent soils and thus improve turf quality and water use efficiency. Weather conditions for the duration of the trial prevented the identification of improved practices in terms of combination and scheduling. However, the findings support previous research that the use of soil surfactants decreased the time for water to infiltrate dry soil samples taken from a previously severely hydrophobic site. Data will be continually collected from this trial site on a private contractual basis, with the hope that improvements to standard practices will be observed during the drier winter months when moisture availability is a limiting factor for turfgrass growth and quality.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Funders:This project was funded by voluntary contributions from industry with matched funding from the Australian Government facilitated through HAL.
Projects:HAL Project TU08034: Quantifying surfactant interaction effects on soil moisture and turf quality
Business groups:Agri-Science, Horticulture and Forestry Science
Additional Information:© Horticulture Australia Limited.
Keywords:Turf quality; soil moisture; water repellency; organic acids; surfactants; hydrophobic soils; turfgrass.
Subjects:Plant culture > Lawns and turfgrasses > Performance and management
Deposited On:29 Nov 2010 02:01
Last Modified:13 Oct 2011 06:20

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