subsurface irrigation for lawn

Asked March 11, 2013, 6:11 PM EDT

I'd like recommendations on bluegrass sod cultivars that would be best adapted to subsurface irrigation for a new installation in Colorado Springs (6500' elev), as well as recommendations for soil prep, and subsurface pipe manufacturers that have been successful in Colorado. Any advice about how to have a successful lawn area that will be irrigated by a subsurface system would be helpful. Also, would Buffalo or Bluegramma thrive with subsurface irrigation?

El Paso County Colorado

1 Response

Any bluegrass cultivars will perform well with subsurface drip (SSD). When sodding, you can't be "too picky" when it comes to cultivar selection; the number of sod producers in your area (much less the state of CO) is limited. Your selection of KBG cultivars will be likewise limited.

SSD can be installed either by "pulling in" the lines with a pipe-puller. Alternatively, some companies will move and stockpile topsoil within the yard, install the SSD system, and bury it with the stockpiled topsoil. I have seen both methods work equally well. We can't endorse any particular company that may install SSD. It would be best to get a client list and visit with people who have had systems installed to inquire firsthand about problems, customer service, repair history - and whether or not SSD appear to save water. The installation of SSD is definitely NOT a DIY project. Nor is it one for the inexperienced company. Uniform depth and spacing of the lines is ESSENTIAL for acceptable performance, as is dealing with the problems of slopes, existing tree roots and utilities in the landscape, rocky soil, etc.

The most commonly used SSD systems/line are from:
Netafim http://www.netafimusa.com/landscape/products/techline
Rainbird http://www.rainbird.com/landscape/products/dripline/XFS.htm
Toro http://www.toro.com/irrigation/golf/sprays_micro/dripkit/index.html

Finally, yes, blue grama and buffalograss will do well with SSD irrigation.

Thanks,
Tony Koski

http://csuturf.colostate.edu/