Hydroponic turf maintenance is different from traditional turf maintenance due to its benefits. In order to better understand the differences and best maintenance practices, it is helpful to break it down into three areas: aeration, fertilizing, and irrigation.
Starting with aeration, this process is usually one of the most important and time-consuming aspects of traditional turf maintenance. However, in hydroponic turf, there is no need for this kind of aeration process due to the high gas exchange rate, which can be as much as 6000% more than traditional turf. This is because of the unique water movement in hydroponic turf, which allows for a high rate of air and water exchange through the profile.
Regarding fertility, traditional turf is fertilized using either granular or liquid fertilizers. These methods can still be used in hydroponic turf, but there is also the option of dosing directly into the basin for immediate uptake by the grass plant. Granular fertilizers can be quick-release or slow-release, and liquid fertilizers are ideal for precise nutrient application. By fertilizing from the basin, its sensors will monitor the water and adjust nutrient application to the perfect level, using only the fertilizers that the plants need.
Irrigation is another important aspect to consider, and it is where hydroponic turf offers the biggest difference compared to traditional turf. Traditional turf is irrigated using overhead sprinklers, which aim to apply water evenly and filter it through the turf, root zone, and thatch. However, there can be problems with poor irrigation coverage, hydrophobic turf and root zone, and other issues. In contrast, hydroponic turf water levels raise and lower regularly and consistently, which helps prevent hydrophobic turf and promotes root development. The water temperature can also be controlled, leading to an expected reduction of 85% in irrigation consumption compared to traditional methods.