NEW MEXICO — In a paper published by Crop Science journal Bernd Leinauer, a turf grass expert at New Mexico State University, along with co-author Elena Sevostianova, suggest combining “fertigation,” drip irrigation and decentralized water treatment, for a sustainable, thriving lawn, according to a press release.

Many New Mexico cities, remove nearly all the nitrate from wastewater, which is an expensive and energy intensive step created to prevent pollution of ground and surface waters, causing golf course personnel and homeowners to apply mineral nitrate fertilizers to their turfs in order to keep them healthy, stated the release.

Fertigation is the method of fertilizing and irrigating plants at the same time, continues the release, and instead of watering plants from above, drip irrigation delivers the water directly to the plant roots underground.

Leinauer and Sevostianova suggest implementing a decentralized treatment system tailored to generate effluent that contained 15 parts per million (ppm) of nutrient nitrate during the summer months, where residents would then use this water to fertigate their lawns, noted the release.

So far this tailored combination has resulted in green and healthy turf plots, just like the turfs receiving potable water and mineral fertilizers, however the results are preliminary and more studies need to be completed to address possible challenges, such as the potential for high salinity, reported the release.