Things you can do now with advice and help managing drought and the effects of drought in turf.
This blogs is written for all sports surfaces ,which may be struggling with drought on turf, with rain a seemly distant memory.
Nice bit of rain last week for some, but not for others, we did a brief survey and our community has highlighted drought conditions are the major worry at the moment on their grounds.
Some very Basic Things you can do to help The Plant Deal with Stress Right Now
1- Height of cut may seem a small thing, but considering the plant is made up of 60% water, maybe not so!
Range of height per sport, in line with the https://www.thegma.org.uk/guidance-interim-works-your-sports-turf guidance on cutting heights. These heights of cut will assist surface shading.
Football 40-50 mm
Cricket -18-22 mm
Bowls -8-12 mm based on
2-Effective watering, watering during cooler parts of the day will cut down on evaporation and increase infiltration into the soil itself. Early or late in the day are the ideals.
Water the drier areas first thing ,if its going to take all day to water.
Use of hoses such as sprinkler/soaker hoses or water tractors (slow mowing watering machine)
Prioritise newly seeded areas, if time and water pressure an issue.
3-Shading -use of debris netting,scaffold netting, fleece, germination sheets will all keep moisture in the soils for longer.
4-Do not put grass under unnecessary stress by removing more than a third of the leaf in any one cut and avoid too aggressive verticutting operations.
5-Avoid unnecessary rolling of the soil when it is too dry and the plant is under stress.
If you Have Access to Additional Resources and Budget
6-If you have a knapsack or sprayer and the grass is stressed, liquid feeding is a gentler approach to feeding.
If the plant is under real stress though feeding will only stress it more so some judgement will be needed and always read the label.
7-Andy Mackay ECB Pitch Advisor is recommending the use of non-ionic wetting agents as a way of reducing water input in squares but advises that you talk to your fertiliser rep regarding which one as not all are suitable for cricket squares.
8- If resources allow the usage of a product such as primo max, this growth regulator can assist in water utilisation, as part as a regular application programme(check the product label prior to applying ).
Long Term Aims
Winter spiking, note in the picture the rye grass with the root’s way down, has found a tine hole from winter spiking.
Encouraging of desirable grasses -The shallow rooted one (above right in the picture), is annual meadow grass with roots that are very shallow, so it will be struggling for water pretty quickly, in comparison to the rye grass (left side image).
More for the golf boys but a interesting blog also,released today on poa (weed grass) –https://turfcareblog.com/poa-flower-in-putting-surfaces/
Brian and Team