JWARP  Vol.9 No.7 , June 2017
Effects of Turfgrass Thatch on Water Infiltration, Surface Runoff, and Evaporation
Abstract: The development of a (layer of) thatch in turfgrass causes important changes to near-surface eco-hydrological processes. In this study, we investigated the effects of turfgrass thatch, specifically Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) and red fescue (Festuca rubra L.) on water infiltration, surface runoff, and soil moisture evaporation. The thatches were collected from the field for controlled experiments using packed soil columns under various rainfall conditions. Results indicated that the presence of thatch delayed the onset of infiltration compared with situations without a thatch at the soil surface. Infiltration was delayed for a longer period in thicker red fescue thatch than thinner Kentucky bluegrass thatch. The presence of a thatch reduced runoff by holding more water locally during the rainfall period and allowing a longer period of time for infiltration. Additionally, evaporative water loss was reduced with the presence of thatch than that of bare soil. Our results highlight that the presence of thatch changes the near-surface hydrological processes, which may help improve turf management practices in terms of thatch control and irrigation scheduling.
Cite this paper: Liang, X. , Su, D. , Wang, Z. , Qiao, X. (2017) Effects of Turfgrass Thatch on Water Infiltration, Surface Runoff, and Evaporation. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 9, 799-810. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2017.97053.

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