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Soil moisture sensors better than ET for irrigation

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  • #91
    Originally posted by NeverDie View Post
    Looks great! Honestly, the best I've seen anywhere.

    By the way, your turf looks fantastic, especially given that you have unmodified native clay and limestone soil under it. What species of grass do you have, and which species do you think perform best in Austin? At least on paper, Zoysia seems like it might do better (better disease/pest resistance,for instance) than St. Augustine. St. Augustine is what I have (came with the house). However, in relation to the topic of this thread, I'm unsure as to whether zoysia would consume any less water than st. augustine without the Zoysia going into hibernation. Do you happen to know? That's the important info no one seems to talk about. i.e. Even if zoysia could survive a drought better than st. augstine, it's mostly a backup layer of protection: droughts don't really happen if it's properly irrigated, so drought tolerance alone is almost a moot issue. What matters more is the total water needed to stay looking great.

    I looked at the "special blend" of turf grass at Ladybird Johnson, and (despite their glowing press release) it looked truly pathetic in real life when I visited there to see it. I wonder if all the decent looking turfgrasses consume nearly the same amount of water in order to look good, or if there are any which still look great while consuming comparatively less water? Anyone know?
    You are very kind.... I have palisades. I would highly recommend it.

    I would not recommend any buffalo blend and many home owners associations won't allow it as it doesn't look like grass. Most lawns, that are under-watered are taken out by chinch bug which is directly associated to the the depletion of water. When most drought testing is done for a specific turf type, it is done in a closed environment. (think greenhouse..) Therefore, external factors are not considered. When the city of Austin was in the planning stages of a drought plan, some 10 years ago, research from San Antonio showed St Augustine could go 4 weeks with out irrigation. (yes in a prefect world) But unfortunately, chinch bug do exist and thrive on St Augustine. The reality is that an under-irrigated St Augustine lawn become quite tasty at about 1.5 weeks of irrigation defect.

    Several years back, we planted test plots at my office. About 1k SQFT of Tiff, Palesade, Emerald, St Augustine, etc.... We had a little Palesades left over, and chunked it in the ally, between the office and the fence. Its not but about 5 ft wide, so it only receives about 1 hour of sunlight per day and is un irrigated. Anyway, the palisades has encroached into the Emerald Zoysia to the point where we are thinking about letting it just take over because the alternative would be digging it out.

    Just saying... Its what I planted in my yard, and my company does take care of many lawns.

    The irrigation requirements seem to be a bit more forgiving in zoysia. The Chinch Bug Resistance is substantial, which is what kills most St Augustine. (way before the drought)

    And it seems to be shade tolerant while still remaining vigorous. Most Shade tolerant grasses are not vigorous and will not repair themselves when the need to repair comes into play. Zoysia will go into true dormancy, when deprived of water as will bermuda. St Augustine will be dead from Chinch bug way before the irrigation deficit has an effect. ( and yes, then that will kill it too)

    Thank you again for your kind words.

    Best Regards,

    Last edited by jnaiser60; June 9th, 2014, 06:23 PM.


    • #92
      Another nice thing I've noticed about my soil moisture sensors: they automatically account for rainfall runoff. More so than many places, quite a lot of the rainfall here is brief but very intense, and so a lot of rain water can be lost due to run-off.

      Maybe some ETo systems would account for that, but I can't recall any that do. If there are those that do, I wonder: how accurately?