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Status assessment of water use research in turf growth and maintenance.

Poulter, Rachel and Dahler, Janelle (2010) Status assessment of water use research in turf growth and maintenance. Project Report. TU09033. Horticulture Australia Limited, Sydney, Australia.

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Publisher URL: http://www.horticulture.com.au/reports/search_final_reports.asp
Organisation URL: http://www.deedi.qld.gov.au/
Organisation URL: http://www.turfaustralia.com.au/levy-funded-projects

Abstract

The strategic objectives of Turf Australia (formerly the Turf Producers Association (TPA)) relating to water use in turf are to:
• Source and collate information to support the case for adequate access to water for the Turf production and maintenance sectors and
• Compile information generated into a convincing communication package that can be readily used by the industry in its advocacy programs (to government, regulators, media etc)

More specifically, the turfgrass industry needs unbiased scientific evidence of the value of healthy grass in our environment. It needs to promote the use of adequate water even during drought periods to maintain quality turfgrass, which provides many benefits to the broader community including cooling the environment, saving energy and encouraging healthy lifestyles. The many environmental, social and health benefits of living turfgrass have been the subject of numerous investigations beyond the scope of this review. However further research is needed to fully understand the economic returns achievable by the judicious use of water for the maintenance of healthy turfgrass. Consumer education, backed by scientific evidence will highlight the “false economy” in allowing turfgrass to wither and die during conditions which require high level water restrictions.

This report presents a review of the literature pertaining to research in the field of turf water use. The purpose of the review was to better understand the scope and nature of existing research results on turf water relations so that knowledge gaps could be identified in achieving the above strategic objectives of the TPA. Research to date has been found to be insufficient to compile a convincing communication package as described. However, identified knowledge gaps can now be addressed through targeted research. Information derived from targeted research will provide valuable material for education of the end user of turfgrass. Recommendations have been developed, based on the results of this desktop review.

It was determined that future research in the field of turf irrigation needs to focus on a number of key factors which directly or indirectly affect the relationship between turfgrass and water use. These factors are:
• Climate
• Cultivar
• Quality
• Site use requirements
• Establishment and management

The overarching recommendation is to develop a strategic plan for turfgrass water relations research based around the five determinants of turf water use listed above. This plan should ensure research under these five categories is integrated into a holistic approach by which the consumer can be guided in species and/or cultivar choices as well as best management practices with respect to turfgrass water relations.
Worsening drought cycles and limited supply of water for irrigation were the key factors driving every research project reviewed in this report. Subsidence of the most recent (or current) drought conditions in Australia should not be viewed by the turf industry as a reason to withdraw support or funding for research in this area. Drought conditions, limited domestic water availability and urban water restrictions will return in Australia albeit in 5, 10 or 20 years time and the turf industry has an opportunity to prepare for that time.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Funders:Horticulture Australia Limited, Turf Australia, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI).
Corporate Creators:Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), Agri-Science, Turf Australia, Horticulture Australia Limited
Projects:HAL Project TU09033. Status assessment of water use research in turf growth and maintenance.
Business groups:Agri-Science, Horticulture and Forestry Science
Additional Information:© Horticulture Australia Limited.
Keywords:Water use; turf; turfgrass; research; gap analysis; irrigation; turf irrigation; turf industry; research framework; research priorities.
Subjects:Plant culture > Lawns and turfgrasses
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Conservation of natural resources
Deposited On:25 Aug 2011 07:17
Last Modified:07 Jun 2015 15:09

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