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65% Water Saving From Hydroponic Tee Box

65% Water Saving From Hydroponic Tee Box: Capillary Concrete’s revolutionary new Capillary Hydroponics system is delivering outstanding results a year into its first major customer installation, at the Hawk’s Landing Golf Club in Orlando, Florida.

Last September/October, Capillary Concrete built a new tee box at Hawk’s Landing, incorporating the Capillary Hydroponics system, along with superintendent Josh Kelley’s team and contractor Double Eagle Golf Works. The system divides the tee box into two areas, with a layer of Capillary Concrete under the rootzone. Two air lift pumps, powered by a 55 watt solar panel, move water inside the closed system. All irrigation is applied subsurface; because of this, water is mainly lost through transpiration, with evaporation minimal. The system creates a moving water table, using capillary action to move water out of one zone and into another. The water pushes the heavier carbon dioxide molecules out of the rootzone and sucks in oxygen to replace them. It is a far more successful method of gas exchange in the rootzone than conventional methods of aeration.

65% Water Saving From Hydroponic Tee Box

Kelley says: “We have been working with Capillary Concrete on our bunkers since 2016, and they first mentioned the Hydroponic System to us in summer 2018. We said we were keen to try it, and so we began building the test tee in late September. It was completed and grassed in early October. Now, a typical tee box is obviously just a pile of dirt that you shape up. As you get to the higher end, you might put drainage under it, or even use a special rootzone. The process here was that we laid out the rectangular box, cored down twelve inches, and then installed two inches of Capillary Concrete before filling up with sand, levelling and sodding. It was not a difficult project.”

“It is a trial site; we aren’t doing anything special to it,” Kelley continues. “We have run no overhead irrigation at all, except to water in two applications of herbicide. The tee itself has performed superbly; zero hotspots, no disease issues, no wet areas.”

Capillary Concrete inventor and CEO Martin Sternberg CGCS, says: “We are grateful to Josh and Hawk’s Landing for the ability to test Capillary Hydroponics close to our Orlando base. When we installed the tee, we put a flow meter on the irrigation so we could measure exactly how much water was being used. After almost a year, we can say that it has used 65 per cent less water than a similar sized, conventionally irrigated tee box, and we think that we can tweak the system to get that figure to 85 per cent.”

Sternberg adds: “I started experimenting with tees five years ago in Sweden, primarily as a subsurface irrigation project. But the addition of a hydroponic moving water table – which we can do because of the strength and capillary properties of our product – is what makes this a game changer. We know we are getting up to 6,000 per cent more gas exchange in the rootzone in comparison to convention methods of aeration, and it is obvious that will have a massive impact on turf health. This is akin to what happens naturally in a seaside links environment, where you typically have a very low water table – but critically, it moves with the tide. That promotes a gas exchange. The best way to promote gas exchange is to push it with a water front – which is what we can do using Capillary Concrete. The hydroponic industry is 25-30 years ahead of us in the turfgrass industry in terms of understanding how to optimize plant root oxygen exchange, but it hasn’t been physically possible to build large outdoor structures for hydroponics without a product that performs as Capillary Concrete does. If you compare the cost of building, to use Capillary Hydronponics is slightly more expensive than building a push-up or California tee, but comparable to USGA specification construction.”

Josh Kelley says: “I really think in markets where water is scarce or expensive, this will change the way we do things in the golf business, and I’m delighted that we at Hawk’s Landing were one of the first to get to try it out.”

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New Hydroponic Turf System

New Hydroponic Turf System: Capillary Concrete, best known as the supplier of golf’s most scientifically advanced bunker liner product, has launched a revolution in golf turfgrass management. 

Capillary Concrete, best known as the supplier of golf’s most scientifically advanced bunker liner product, has launched a revolution in golf turfgrass management. The Hydroponic Turf System offers course managers the opportunity to make huge reductions in the amount of water needed to maintain high quality turfgrass, while at the same time promising major increases in turf health.

New Hydroponic Turf System

The system uses the capillary properties of Capillary Concrete to enable both drainage and irrigation from below and to precisely regulate the moisture content of the turf’s rootzone. 

Martin Sternberg, Capillary Concrete inventor and CEO, said: “The system divides the turf into two areas of equal size. A control basin automatically oxygenates and pumps or drains water between the two areas on a regular schedule. The system is powered by a small solar panel and the water levels in the turf profile can easily be adjusted.” 

The Hydroponic Turf System enables massive increases in gas exchange below the top four inches of the rootzone – the area which conventional aeration methods do not adequately service. Because carbon dioxide molecules are heavier than those of oxygen, the system pushes out the heavier molecules and sucks oxygen into the turf profile by raising and lowering the water table. It also delivers optimal levels of nutrients directly to the rootzone. 

Sternberg said: “We have been researching this application of our technology for five years, and the results are remarkable. Irrigating from below virtually eliminates evaporation, and our tests show up to 85 per cent savings in total water used under our Hydroponic Turf System. Irrigation costs can be lowered by up to to 30 per cent, and the level of gas exchange in the rootzone can be increased by an almost unbelievable 6,000 per cent. Using hydroponics in this way will increase the lifespan of tees and greens, it will help superintendents deliver superior turf from dryer surfaces with lower maintenance costs and a much smaller environmental footprint.” 

Capillary Concrete is currently looking for golf clubs to participate in a pilot programme to adapt the patented Hydroponics Turf System to local conditions and climates. Pilot partners will receive the new system, and also comprehensive support services enabling them to install, test and evaluate the benefits of the system for tees and greens.

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