Early Easter doesn't mean it is spring!

Lucy Nichollsin Chemicals & Fertilisers

Alan Abel from Complete Weed Control gives turf managers advice following an early Easter period

With some warm sunshine during early April it seemed as though spring had finally sprung. But with frost later in the month and lower than usual temperatures predicted, we should not get sucked into ‎thinking it's time to apply selective herbicides and complete other spring type actions!

With daisies that have 'over wintered' and dandelions popping up everywhere it is tempting to get the sprayer out.

However, the uptake of the herbicide may not be successful unless perfect conditions are present. That is not only the weather conditions, but the water condition and the sprayer condition. This includes the correct nozzle selection giving the right water volume for the herbicide being applied.

Also, don't forget that if the temperature is going to drop over night after an application, then scorch is likely to take place. The spray droplets are on or blown to the tips of the grasses or crop and when frost forms, that is what causes the scorch effect.

This is a phenomenon that has been seen in many fields after early spray applications by the farming fraternity this year. Scorch will severely set-back the grass growth ‎that we are desperate to have this year, so it MUST be that a spring flush really arrives before the sprayer temptation takes hold.

When Easter is early, as it was this year, Turf Managers see that as the starting gun for the season ahead, but it's not the case. We must wait for the right conditions to prevail and patience is an important virtue. When discussions where mooted as to the fixing of the Easter date, that would be a good thing in our industry.

When the right time does come for applying selectives; then a tank mix with a soluble fertilizer should be considered to get the grass sward really moving. The pH of the water being used is so important and buffers should always be used to bring the water acidity to the correct level.

Manganese and Phosphites that are quickly available to the plant through the leaf would be worth looking for. It must be brought to your attention that this year will be the last time that the three way mixes of phenoxys that we have been used to will be able to be applied.

In 2017 we will see a big turn-around in terms of cost ‎when it comes to weed control in fine and amenity turf areas.

Complete Weed Control can give advice on all the above products and your local specialist can apply the correct product for your individual situation.

For more information, visit www.completeweedcontrol.co.uk.