Key Tasks for November
- grass growth will have slowed down, but certainly not stopped altogether, so you should continue to cut weekly, ensuring that you take no more than a third off in any one cut
- a cylinder mower may still be used, but it is more likely that a rotary mower will serve you better
- box clippings to avoid the spread of disease
- remove leaves and other debris as soon as possible
- sarrel roll when conditions allow
Keep surface clean with regular sweeping and brushing
Remove any algae and moss from surface. Sand filled systems require regular brushing to maintain manufacturer’s recommendations on sand levels and pile heights
American Fast Dry courts
- keep surface clean, rolling to consolidate surface
- levelling and brushing of fast dry materials, brushing to clean lines
- carry out regular sweeping and brushing to restore playing levels
- topdress any hollows or damaged areas
- carry out regular sweeping and brushing
- repair any hollows or damaged areas
With many clubs allowing and, indeed encouraging, play on their artificial surfaces through the winters months (when weather conditions allow) it is imperative that these courts are completely free from moss, algae, leaves or anything else that might pose a slip hazard.
With the sun now lower in the sky, shade problems tend to increase. Shadows remain on the ground for longer periods and these areas tend to take longer to warm up and dry out which, in turn, may affect maintenance operations and playability on all surfaces.
A generally mild October with good growing conditions has provided opportunity for continued recovery across many areas of the country, especially in the north and west of the British isles. Speaking to turf managers across the south and east, comparably lower rainfall in some areas has resulted in stalled recovery from summer drought stress. Maximising any rainfall via the use of penetrant wetting agents and aeration will assist the rehydration process; something which needs to be encouraged before cold temperatures eliminate opportunities for growth.
With that in mind, the forecast for November is for periods of stormy and wet weather interspersed with drier spells and crucially, with respects to turf management, below average temperatures.
As always then, prior preparation with a mindset to wards proactively making use of favourable windows are key considerations.
TURF DISEASE TRIANGLE
Disease incidence can be correlated with the factors in the disease triangle. All three factors are required to coincide for an outbreak of disease. The major pathogen on turf surfaces throughout November will be Microdochium nivale.
Consideration of the contributing factors
- Susceptible host – excess leaf growth and stress will lead to the grass plant (host) becoming more susceptible to fungal pathogens. The key phrase here is appropriate nutrition. In practice this means the Goldilocks zone of nitrogen, just enough to keep the plant healthy but not too much to cause a flush of soft growth which allows the disease to attack more successfully.
Providing the plant with calcium, silicon and phosphite strengthens the cell walls and helps the plant to resist attack without resorting to chemicals. Applying plant beneficial biostimulants such as seaweed and carbon energy when conditions favour the plant primes its metabolic defence responses and assist’s beneficial microorganism’s to help repel the disease.
- Virulent pathogen – Is the pathogen being provided with the resources it needs to thrive? In the case of fungal pathogens this would be prolonged periods of leaf blade wetness and nutrition. Manage this situation by removing dews, reducing humidity within the thatch layer via aeration and the application of penetrant wetting agents. Also avoid applying biostimulants such as seaweed and carbon energy at times when the pathogenic activity is actively on the rise.
- Favourable Environment – prolonged humidity as a result of overcast days and nights, rainfall, cool temperatures which slow grass growth and low wind speeds which extend drying times are the factors which when they align drive the arms race between host and pathogen away from the grass plant and towards the disease. Monitoring forecasts and historic patterns facilitates prediction of high disease pressure. Allowing turf managers to act appropriately.
Nutritional requirements will be aligned with growth, put simply the more growth the more nutrition required. Typically fertilisers applied during renovation operations should see the majority of surfaces through November and into December. As a result NPK applications will be limited however, targeted application of secondary macronutrients and micronutrients to elicit plant responses such as those outlined above with calcium will bring tangible benefits.
Maintaining appropriate water air ration is a key factor in reducing turf stress during periods of the year where rainfall increases and drying opportunities are reduced. Little and often aeration via methods such as star tineing and sarel rolling facilitate diffusion of oxygen into the profile and carbon dioxide out. This allows the plant roots and beneficial soil microorganisms to breath which reduces plant stress and sustains their population numbers respectively.
Maintaining water percolation into deeper aeration channels and drainage systems via the application of penetrant wetting agents reduces the tendency of water to be held at the surface where it acts as a barrier to gas exchange and increases localised relative humidity. Something which helps fungal diseases to grow and spread.
Regular applications of products containing sulphur will acidify the local soil surface environment and discourage worms from casting. Avoid regular products containing iron which is not in a liquid chelated form as this will quickly oxidize and build up in the soil chemistry causing numerous problems such as reduced pH, iron panning, nutrient lock up and inhibition of microorganisms.
With some machines not currently being used, take the time to carry out an overhaul or send them away for a service.
- inspect and clean machinery before putting away for the winter
- replace worn and damaged parts as necessary
- empty fuel tanks as petrol will go stale over winter
- maintain a stock of consumables for your machinery
- secure machinery nightly with good storage facilities and strong locks
- record makes and models and take pictures of your equipment as additional reference
- don’t leave it to the last minute when servicing dealers will be very busy
Pitchcare provide a range of courses suitable for tennis clubs. In most cases, the courses can be held on site using the club's own equipment and machinery.
Some of the courses available are:
- Chainsaws - CS30 and CS31
- H&S Refresher Training on Combined Turf Care Equipment; Tractors and Trailers; All Mowers (Ride-on and Pedestrian)
- Machinery Courses on ATVs; Tractors: Brushcutters/Strimmers; Mowers (ride-on and Pedestrian)
- Pesticide Application (PA courses)
- Stem Injection of Invasive Species (Japanese Knotweed etc.)
- Basic Trees Survey and Inspection