Key Tasks for August
Continue brushing to keep the air circulating around the base of the plant, removing early morning dew and controlling disease.
Mow regularly at your preferred cutting height to ensure a good sward density - 30 to 35mm; dropping it to around 25mm for matches.
Verticut to clean out lateral growth and aid air circulation.
Continue spiking when the conditions are right - alternating between surface and deep with occasional slitting.
Linemarking; “measure twice: mark once” is a good tip to take on board when marking out new pitches. Make sure you have enough linemarking material for the season.
Do not apply fertiliser during drought periods, unless you have the means to water in.
If you are unable to provide irrigation to the whole pitch, then at least you should try and ensure adequate watering of the goalmouth and centre circle areas.
It’s hard to believe that July is drawing to a close and we will soon be into August, with shorter days and cooler nights.
July has given us some very high temperatures, and for prolonged periods, which has brought with it challenges for turf managers, especially those without or with unreliable irrigation systems. When the rain has come, it has been well received. These extreme weather conditions put extra stress onto the plant at a time when stress is already exacerbated from the intensive management carried out to provide excellent playing surfaces. This in turn can be the tipping point for pathogen populations to increase and disease incidence to occur. Therefore, attention should be on stress management and alleviation where possible.
The forecast for August looks far more consistent with daily high temperatures typically being around 20°C. The rainfall looks scattered which means those that are desperate for some rain will get some respite and a good chance at some recovery. The key here is to ensure that those areas that need water the most will be receptive to it when it comes. Water will run off areas that have become hydrophobic; utilising a surfactant to break the surface tension and allow the water to penetrate into the profile can have a positive impact on recovery of drought stressed areas.
The increase in weather extremes is ultimately influencing how successful our nutritional plans are. Little and often nutrition provides a steady supply of the nutrients required, minimising peaks and troughs in growth and assisting in providing excellent surfaces. However, changes in the weather which brings heavy downpours impacts on the effectiveness of this method. It essential that plans are proactive and reactive to the day to day conditions and not simply what was drafted out at the start of the season. Granular fertiliser with a portion of high-quality slow release technology offers a base nutrition which can be topped by liquids as required. Calcium and Potassium are both key nutrients when considering biotic and abiotic stress, due to their role in cell walls and water regulation. Therefore, looking out for these when selecting your fertiliser is recommended.
This can be a key time of year for renovations, with weather conditions ideal for getting recovery and establishment of seed. Practices will vary across the different surfaces, however having objectives planned out will increase the probability of having a successful renovation. If over-seeding, consideration should be given to selecting the right cultivars for the intended usage. Organic matter removal can be a major component of renovation work, and ensuring that the maximum amount is removed with minimal disruption is recommended. Carefully selecting the most suitable method of removal to ensure the desired outcome is achieved efficiently is important.
Planning work out in advance, at this time in the season, allows for a full recovery of the plant and establishment of new seed in time for autumn and winter. Utilising biostimulants, such as liquid seaweed and humic acids, will further promote seed germination and establishment in combination with the usual renovation fertilisers.
Later in the month, the cooler nights will increase the probability of dew occurrence. The increase in leaf wetness will undoubtedly increase disease pressure. At a time when growth potential is still high and cutting is still regular, utilising dew dispersant technology to reduce leaf wetness is only going to be effective for short periods of time, due to the growth rate of the plant. This isn’t to say that this is not an effective management tool for reducing leaf wetness, as long as expectations on product performance in these conditions is taken into consideration. The amount of time that they do last can just be enough to see you through a high-pressure period, and thus can be invaluable.
The purchase window for chafer grubs control expires on 4th August and the storage and application window ends on the 31th August 2021. A separate authorisation is awaiting approval for Leatherjackets, but this is yet to be approved. As with previous years, all applications must be approved by a BASIS qualified advisor.
For anyone not able to apply Acelepryn, cultural and biological controls in the form of Entomopathogenic nematodes are the only legally authorised controls available. As with the specific restrictions of application for Acelepryn, these are in line with best practice Integrated Pest Management. This biological control method requires warmth and moisture in the soil to be most effective, and as such this time of year provides an ideal window. Targeting larvae when they are small and susceptible gives the nematodes the best chance of success.
With reference to your machinery needs; if it's part of your inventory, drag it out, dust it off and fire it up to make sure it will work for you when you need it. If you don't have it in your inventory, but you know someone who has, a neighbouring club or school perhaps, particularly if you are on good terms with them; you may come to some arrangement to borrow it when they are not using it.
Alternatively, look at the option of hiring. There are a growing number of hire companies these days that are now specialising in the hire of sports ground equipment. With reference to your material needs, get them ordered now so that they are on hand when you need them.