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Hillcrest Primary School

Monitoring Soil Moisture to Achieve

Best Practice Turf & Irrigation Management
Gerry Charlton
IPOS Consulting Pty Ltd
Background 2009/10
Hillcrest Primary School Oval - 1.2 ha

Reduced water usage to deal with drought

Resulted in surface cracking and closure of
the oval for school activities.

IPOS engaged to carry out turf & Irrigation
assessment and make recommendations on
future management.
Irrigation System & Turf Assessment Results
Irrigation System
System 5 years old
Application rate acceptable - 12.7 mm/hr
Distribution Uniformity (DU) acceptable 77%
Maintenance issues include sprinklers not turning, misaligned.
Irrigation schedules not meeting plant water requirement.

Turf Assessment
Soil Type heavy black reactive loamy clay. Swells when wet
shrinks when dry, prone to compaction.
Soil structure acceptable with good infiltration rate.
Kikuyu coverage and density variable with significant broadleaf
weed present.
Significant surface cracking, particularly in poorly turfed areas.
Cracking extended deep into the soil profile.

There was not turf and irrigation skills within the school.
Irrigation System & Turf Assessment Results
Irrigation System & Turf Assessment Results
Irrigation System & Turf Assessment Results
Irrigation System & Turf Assessment Results
Description / Year 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09
Irrigation Water Use 5,167 6,152 3,794
Irrigation Requirement 5,400 5,400 6,400
Irrigation Water Usage
Irrigation System & Turf Recommendations
Turf Maintenance
Implement turf maintenance program aimed at improving turf
coverage and density, eradicating broadleaf weeds and
maintaining soil structure and infiltration .
- verti-drain
- herbicide application
- Sodding bare areas
- fertilser application.
Monthly turf quality inspections

Irrigation Management
Carry out irrigation maintenance to ensure all sprinklers are
operating correctly.
Increase current irrigation schedule to soak the soil profile and
close cracking
Install multi-probe soil moisture sensor to monitor moisture
levels through the profile.
Use soil moisture technology to manage irrigation scheduling to
ensure the plant water requirements are met and moisture
maintained in the profile.
MAIT Industries Intellitrol System

Multi stage soil moisture probe with sensors at 10, 20, 30, 40 cm
Monitor soil moisture, flow, rainfall, EC, Soil Temp.
Control irrigation scheduling based on soil moisture status.
Management control using calibrated full and refill points.
Real time remote monitoring of irrigation events, soil moisture, flow
and rainfall.
Requires back up monitoring of turf condition.
MAIT Soil Moisture - Irrigation Monitoring and Control
Full Point 25%
Refill Point 15%
Soil Moisture
MAIT Soil Moisture - Irrigation Monitoring and Control
40 cm
30 cm
20 cm
10 cm
Results Irrigation Water Usage
Irrigation Water Usage managed to apply only as much water as required to meet plant
water requirements while maintaining soil moisture within the profile.
Results Turf Quality
Improved turf and surface quality.
No surface cracking.
Oval fit for purpose, safe for school activities.
Results Turf Quality
Turf and Irrigation recommendations implemented.

Improved turf and surface condition resulting in uninterrupted use of the
oval with no surface cracking.

Improved water use efficiency with actual water usage matching the plant
water requirement without wastage.

Positive outcome for the school with sound turf and irrigation
Thank You !