Managing salinity stress in sports turf

Sports turf managers in low rainfall areas and along coastal regions of the country face salinity stress on a regular basis. Now, there’s a new approach.

“In parts of the country where water evaporation from the soil exceeds that of rainfall, soluble salts accumulate in the soil,” said John Haguewood, technical manager for Macro-Sorb Technologies. “Saline soils also develop from poor drainage, high water tables or the use of poor quality — or salty — irrigation water.”

Why are saline soils bad for turfgrass? As levels of salinity increase, the plant’s ability to take up water diminishes. This results in drought conditions for the turfgrass plant. Called ‘osmotic stress’, it means plants have reduced water uptake.

“Plants create a slightly negative osmotic pressure to draw water into their root zones,” added Haguewood. “”However, when soils contain high enough salinity levels, the slight negative pressure is not enough to draw water into turfgrass plants.”

To help turf managers combat salinity stress, Macro-Sorb Technologies recently introduced Macro-RELIEF. The new product uses a specific amino acid complex to lower the osmotic pressure of the plant, which allows plants to bring in more water. The result? A healthier turfgrass plant — even when grown under salinity stress.

“Studies have shown that Macro-RELIEF increases leaf water content when plants are grown in soils with high salinity levels,” noted Haguewood, who is conducting salinity and drought stress trials with the University of California, New Mexico State University and Pennsylvania State University this summer.

Macro-Sorb Technologies is committed to university testing all of its products under different regional conditions throughout the country. Check out state field days this summer for a research trial near you.

For more information about Macro-RELIEF and other Macro-Sorb Technologies products, visit