Expected weather for this month:

Generally consistent forecasts of daytime temperatures between 2 and 10 degrees centigrade throughout the month

Key Tasks for January

Keep off the surface as much as possible, particularly with any frost around.

  • Tip grass, if necessary, maintaining 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
  • Clean up any leaf debris
  • Spike, if and when possible, and only if conditions are right
  • Maintenance of fences and hedges

A new year heralds new opportunities. Opportunities to reflect upon the successes and failures of 2019 as we plot a refined course for 2020.  

At the heart of all effective sports turf management agronomic programmes is an integrated approach. One which pays consideration to the whole as a system rather than individual factors. Underpinning the successful implementation of an integrated approach is knowledge, monitoring and recording, followed by planning.

Knowledge leads to appreciation and understanding.

Monitoring and Recording leads to the extraction of truth.

Planning leads to the refinement of ideas and processes for incremental increases in successful outcomes.

As we enter 2020 and the new decade it heralds, should you not be 100% confident and comfortable in your own ability and understanding of how to practically implement these concepts into your day to day management then I implore you to act now. Take positive advantage of these winter months to reach out and seek answers as to how you can better grasp and then implement these principles into all you do across your facilities. Fully integrated management, implemented well, is a necessity for success in 2020 and beyond.

Many people are doing well and are trying hard to adapt to changes such as revocation of products and extremes of climate. However, I do often witness a committed application of the principles to one subject area; for example, Microdocium nivale management mirrored by a lower level of engagement and application for other issues, such as weed, water and leather jacket management. Integrated by definition applies to all matters equally, as a collective.

Nutrition

The requirement for nutritional inputs by the plant will be low to zero depending on temperature. A soil temperature of 8-10 degrees Celsius is required for metabolic activity and plant uptake of nutrition.

Applications of calcium and silicon will assist the plant to withstand cold and harsh winds and by strengthening the primary and secondary cell walls. Contrary to popular opinion, iron does not directly harden a grass plant, rather it upregulates enzyme production leading to a greening of the leaf via metabolic processes. Chelated iron can be used to add colour and will not accumulate problematic iron deposits in soil over time, in the same way raw ferrous sulphate heptahydrate will. Increasingly, copper is being added to many iron products; copper will accumulate in soils over time and can cause toxicity issues, so be sure to researched the full ingredients list on any products rather than looking at headline figures. If you are still unsure, then Safety Data Sheets will sometimes list ingredients if they are contained at concentrations which have to be declared in the interests of environmental and human health. That is not to say that copper has no place in balanced nutrition, but rather to apply it with thought and consideration to the long-term bigger picture. Some amino acids also may assist the plant in upregulating metabolic compounds which assist in cold weather survival.

Disease

Applications of calcium and silicon will also help the plant to directly bolster its defences from pathogenic attack via hardening of cell walls. Seasonally warm night-time temperatures, combined with continual periods of leaf blade wetness, will help Microdochium nivale to proliferate. The active substance Fludioxonil acts as an anti-sporulant.  This fungicide controls dormant spores residing in the sward and thatch layer in-between outbreaks of infection. Using dew dispersal and penetrant surfactants will reduce leaf wetness and sward humidity. All approaches which form an integrated management approach.

Weeds

Weeds development will be dormant during this month but, considering rotation of active substances and application timings for the upcoming growing season is a responsible course of action.

Pests

Insect pests will be dormant down within the soil profile, so present no immediate cause for concern. If soil temperatures are low, then worms will also be avoiding cold regions at the surface.

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

With minimum work needed on the green, 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.

Grounds Training was established in 2006 to provide a complete and unique service delivery training courses for the sports turf industry. We are now the go-to provider for on-site, bespoke training for groups. Grounds Training also works with the industry’s awarding bodies – Lantra and City & Guilds (NPTC).

Our Online Sports turf maintenance courses, which are independently accredited by Lantra, are going from strength to strength. The video tutor is leading industry consultant, Alan Lewis MSc NDT FinstG. The course provides flexible, cost effective training and is accompanied by a comprehensive training manual. https://www.groundstraining.com/online-grounds-training-courses/

In addition, we have  a wide range of ground care machinery courses, safe handling of pesticides, tree survey, and ecology courses, all of which are delivered by industry qualified instructors registered with  Lantra Awards and/or NPTC.

We also offer a small number of open courses at our site at Allscott,Telford.

All the courses we have to offer can be found by visiting https://www.groundstraining.com/

Here are our upcoming open courses:

PA1/ PA6A - Thursday 16th /Friday 17th January Allscott Telford TF6 5DY

For more information visit: Groundstraining.com or email info@groundstraining.com