Expected weather for this month:

A mild start, with single figure temperatures mid-month onwards

With appreciably shorter days and cooling temperatures being accompanied by residual moisture from heavy dews, November is a month where disease pressure in the form of microdochium patch is likely to be high.

Careful monitoring of climate conditions and weather forecasts can help the turf manager to apply preventative fungicides in a timely fashion. The best time to control microdochium patch is at the very earliest stages of disease expression before obviously visible patches occur – thus vigilance is paramount.

As the leaves fall in increasingly greater numbers, much time and resource will potentially be diverted to collection. It is important to keep on top of drifts and areas of high leaf fall to prevent microclimates forming underneath, trapping moisture, reducing light and air movement - all factors placing grass under stress and increased risk of fungal attack.

Along with leaves, November also presents peak season for worm casting activity. With the recent announcement from the Chemical Regulation Directorate (CRD) concerning the withdrawal of Carbendazim – the only legally approved substance for controlling worms – initially from sale on February 28th 2017 and then from authorised application and storage by end users on August 31st 2017, the time to finally focus on cultural controls has arrived. Switching and brushing dried worm casts on bowling and golf greens on a regular basis and especially prior to mowing is very important to reduce smearing.

It is important to continue aeration by whatever means available, so long as ground conditions are not too wet. This will maintain soil profile respiration (oxygen in/carbon dioxide out) and healthy air water ratios. Factors which will facilitate healthy populations of vital soil biology, happy plants and efficient drainage.

Key Tasks for November

End of season renovations should be complete (see October) therefore, during November, the following activities are usually undertaken:

  • Maintain a winter height cut of 10-12mm
  • Carry out inspection and maintenance of machinery and irrigation equipment
  • Service equipment and replace any worn or damaged parts.
  • Check for diseases and pests, seek advice if necessary
  • Aerate when conditions allow
  • Clean up any leaf debris
  • Drag brush daily
  • Spike, if and when possible, and only if conditions are right
  • Maintenance of fences and hedges

As mentioned earlier, November is a month where disease pressure in the form of microdochium patch is likely to be high.

Careful monitoring of climate conditions and weather forecasts can help the turf manager to apply preventative fungicides in a timely fashion. The best time to control microdochium patch is at the very earliest stages of disease expression before obviously visible patches occur – thus vigilance is paramount.

Where soil temperatures remain conducive to growth, a systemic fungicide is still a viable option; if temperatures are lower and the rate of grass growth has diminished then active ingredients such as iprodione and fludioxonil, which possess a contact mode of action, should be considered.

Where nutrition is required then light applications of nitrogen accompanied by higher proportions of potassium are what the plant requires at this time of the year. Excessive nitrogen will either cause a flush of soft, disease susceptible growth, or leach into water courses due to the fact that the plant will refuse to consume it.

Reducing plant stress and providing it with the appropriate nutrition to strengthen its own defences are key cultural strategies in the fight against disease. Straight nutrients such and Iron, phosphite, calcium and magnesium applied as foliar sprays are all key ingredients to be utilised.

As the leaves fall in increasingly greater numbers, much time and resource will potentially be diverted to collection. It is important to keep on top of drifts and areas of high leaf fall to prevent microclimates forming underneath, trapping moisture, reducing light and air movement - all factors placing grass under stress and increased risk of fungal attack.

Along with leaves, November also presents peak season for worm casting activity. With the recent announcement from the Chemical Regulation Directorate (CRD) concerning the withdrawal of Carbendazim – the only legally approved substance for controlling worms – initially from sale on February 28th 2017 and then from authorised application and storage by end users on August 31st 2017, the time to finally focus on cultural controls has arrived. Switching and brushing dried worm casts on greens on a regular basis and especially prior to mowing is very important to reduce smearing.

Casts formed on areas which have been regularly top dressed with sand will dry out faster and disperse more easily.

Users should be aware that any other substance applied for the control of worms would result in the substance then being categorised as a pesticide. To be legal, any substance being used for that purpose would need to have gone through the necessary rigorous scientific testing, whereby after effects in the environment and upon the rootzone or grass plant would have been assessed prior to registration. 

It is important to continue aeration by whatever means available, so long as ground conditions are not too wet. This will maintain soil profile respiration (oxygen in/carbon dioxide out) and healthy air water ratios. Factors which will facilitate healthy populations of vital soil biology, happy plants and efficient drainage.

Earthworms may be a problem, so regular drag brushing / caning of the green will be necessary to keep the surface free of debris and worm casts. Brushing can be daily when conditions are right. Regular aeration to keep the surface open will aid drying. A drier surface may help towards reducing the effects of the earthworm activity near the surface.

The combination of early morning dews, warm and wet weather and diminishing daylight hours increases the risk of fungal disease outbreaks. The right conditions to trigger these disease attacks are weakened or susceptible plants, a disease-producing organism (pathogen usually fungi) and weather conditions which favour the formation of fruiting bodies and spores (moist, mild wet conditions).

The typical types of diseases you may come across this time of year are:

  • Fusarium Patch
  • Red Thread
  • Dollar Spot

Please note: More information on these and many others can be found here: https://www.pitchcare.com/useful/diseases.php

The majority of diseases that are occurring now have responded to the unusually warm, autumn weather conditions. Boundary layers around the leaves have stayed very moist and humid. Relative humidity is important for spore germination and penetration of leaf tissues, and constant wet conditions will allow the development and transportation of active fungi spores.

Most fungi grow well between 10°C - 40°C and function best at a pH range of 4-7pH. The current lack of cooler weather and sharp frosts has not helped in reducing these active pathogens.

The first step in turfgrass disease management is identifying the true nature of the problem. Diseases are only one cause of turf loss, and disease control measures will do nothing to alleviate damage from other causes such as management, wear or plant stress. It is therefore essential to determine whether the problem is disease, and if so, which disease.

The three disease factors: susceptible grass / host, pathogen, and environment, provide the evidence for disease diagnosis. Symptoms are the expression of the susceptible grass to the disease and can take on a variety of forms.

It is important to maintain machines by carrying out regular servicing and repairs.

As grass growth slows down, use the time to take some machines out of operation for an overhaul.

  • Keep machines overhauled and clean
  • Maintain a stock of consumables for your machinery, replace worn and damaged parts as necessary.
  • Keep an eye on your material stocks (seed, topdressing, petrol, oil), remembering to replenish as required.
  • Service machinery and equipment - changing oil / air filters and greasing up moving parts and sharpening mower blades.

Pitchcare is the only provider of LANTRA accredited training courses in the maintenance of Bowls Greens. It is a one day course designed to provide a basic knowledge of bowling green maintenance. The course enables the Groundsman to grasp the basic needs of a bowling green surface, either Flat or Crown, throughout a 12 month period.

Delegates attending the Bowling Green course and using the accompanying manual will be able to develop their own skills, working knowledge and expertise, by understanding the method of instruction and the maintenance principle it sets out.

Included in the Course Manual, there are working diaries showing the range of tasks needed to be accomplished each month. The Course Manual is available for purchase separately.

In addition, we are able to arrange courses to be delivered on site to groups of 6 – 10 people. Email Chris Johnson for information.

 

 

 

 

 

At this time of the year, when the weather allows, a general tidy-up of areas around the green makes all the difference; this would include tasks such as hedge cutting, clearing ditches, painting club house, weeding paths and borders.

Plan for the forthcoming winter months and the upkeep of ditches, banks and surrounds.