Turf Irrigation Water Testing

Water testing helps determine whether your water is safe to use by measuring the pH, various components and the total salt content. Our turf irrigation water testing services provide data and guidance to help you form an action plan to improve the condition of your turf. 

For more turf testing, check out the soilsoil health and plant tissue pages.

Testing Options

What’s in your water? Monitoring the quality of irrigation water is a vital component in managing plant health.

Irrigation Suitability Package – complete profile of water quality, including….

  • Total Hardness, pH, Bicarbonate, Carbonate, Electrical Conductivity (ECw), Sodium, Chloride, Nitrate, Sulfate, Sodium Absorption Ratio, Phosphorus, Total Soluble Salts, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Manganese, Iron and Boron 

Additional Analysis Available – These tests can be selected individually for any sample.

  • Total Alkalinity
  • Aluminium
  • Boron
  • Calcium
  • Cholride
  • Copper
  • Electrical Conductivity (ECw)
  • Hardness
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Nitrogen – Ammonia
  • Nitrogen – Organic
  • Nitrogen – Nitrate
  • Nitrogen – Nitrite
  • Nitrogen – Total Kjeldahl
  • pH
  • Phosphorus
  • Phosphorus – Total
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Sulfate
  • Sulfur
  • Total Soluble Solids
  • Total Suspended Solids (One liter of water required for this test)
  • Zinc

Sampling Guide

Irrigation Water Sampling Guide

Water Sample Submission Form 

Sampling Supplies:

  • Water Bottles – Use only clean plastic bottles. Glass bottles are NOT recommended.
  • Sample Entry Forms – Please be sure all essential information is completed

Amount Needed: At a minimum, 120 ml (about 4 oz or ½ cup) of water per sample.

Procedure:

  1. Always use a clean plastic bottle.
       a. Rinse the bottle and the lid several times with the water to be tested.
  2. To reflect the water quality at the time of application, collect sample from the pumping station or within the irrigation system.
  3. If collecting irrigation system samples, run water for two to three minutes in order to purge static water from the system before collection.
  4. If sampling from a system of ground water irrigation wells, sample each individual well separately. This is important if pumping into a holding pond.
  5. If collecting from a pond, collect water from the pumping station. Avoid sampling water from the side of the irrigation pond, where sediment may act as a contaminant.
  6. Fill the plastic bottle and eliminate all head space.
    a. Laboratory requires at least 120 ml (about 4 ounces) of water per sample.
    b. Be sure the lid is tightly secured so that samples do not leak during transit
  7. Fill-out all necessary paperwork completely
  8. Ship sample to AgSource Laboratories – If possible, collect and ship samples the same day.

Sampling Procedures

Your results are only as good as the sample taken! In order for a soil test to be an effective monitoring tool, sampling procedures need to be consistent. Maintain annual field histories to document your sampling routine.

Results & Reports

Sample turnaround is three working days. Results are available online, via email or standard mail. Choose from Excel, PDF or CSV files or the Turf water report.

Turf Irrigation Water Report

IRRIGATION SUITABILITY INTERPRETATIONS

Analysis
Unit
Satisfactory Possible
Problem Probable
Problem
Water Characteristics
Water pH
Hardness
0 – 125
126 – 245
>245
Bicarbonate
ppm
0 – 111
112 – 525
>525
Carbonate
ppm
0 – 12
13 – 62
>62
Impact on General Plant Growth
Electrical Conductivity
mmhos/cm
0 – 0.75
0.76 – 3.0
>3.0
Total Soluble Salt
ppm
0 – 480
481 – 1950
>1950
Impact from Root Contact
Sodium
meq/l
0 – 2.9
3.0 – 9.0
>9.0
Chloride
ppm
0 – 140
141 – 360
>360
Boron
ppm
0 – 0.5
0.6 – 2.0
>2.0
Impact from Foliage Contact
Sodium
ppm
0 – 70
71 – 210
>210
Chloride
ppm
0 – 100
101 – 350
>350
Impact on Soil Structure
Sodium Absorption Ratio Adj.
meq/l
0 – 6.0
6.1 – 9.0
>9.0
Electrical Conductivity
mmhos/cm
>0.5
<0.5

Resources

Water Sample Submission Form
Sampling Guide – Irrigation Water
Understanding Turf Irrigation Water Quality

Understanding a Turf Irrigation Water Analysis
Monitoring irrigation water for its salt content is an important component in an overall turf management program. Irrigation water can create saline and/or alkaline soil depending on the quality and type of salt dissolved in the water. Salt concentration in irrigation water reduces available soil moisture, which limits plant growth. The type of salt dissolved is detrimental to soil structure, which reduces water infiltration.

Total Dissolved Salts
Chemically pure water does not conduct electricity, but water with dissolved salt does. The total salt content of a water sample is measured by electrical conductivity (ECw), reported as millimhos per centimeter (mmhos/cm). More tangible units of measurement are parts per million (ppm) or pounds of salt per acre foot. The ECw can be converted to these units as follows:

                ECw x 640 = ppm
                ppm x 2.72 = lbs/acre foot

For example: ECw of 2.0 mmhos/cm equals 1,280 ppm of dissolved salt or 3,481 pounds of salt for every foot of water applied. If over the irrigation season, 24 inches of water is applied the final annual total of salt is 6,962 pounds. From this example it is easy to understand how salts in irrigation water can quickly increase the salinity level in the soil.