Key Tasks for June
Irrigation. It is essential to have water available for irrigation purposes. Irrigation is required for court preparation and repairs. Ensure that the water gets down into the rootzone, a minimum of 150mm, to encourage deep rooting. Check with a probe. Evapotranspiration rates should begin to rise in the coming month. Irrigate uniformly and ensure the right amount is applied. Watering in high, daytime temperatures will be less effective and could encourage shallow rooting as the water fails to get deep enough to stimulate the plant roots.
Rolling will still be a key maintenance regime in June, using a 1-1.5 tonne roller to periodically roll the courts, both down and across the line of play when conditions allow. Try to achieve between 6-10 hours of rolling in any one given week prior to matches.
The rolling, and the fact that soil profiles are now drying out, will produce firmer, faster courts. This month sees the continuation of regular maintenance tasks; grass cutting, grooming, brushing, aerating, feeding and watering. Other regular tasks include:
- Ideally, you should be brushing on a daily basis to remove early morning dew.
- It is essential to have water available for irrigation purposes.
- Keep an eye open for any fungal disease attack, and use approved fungicides to treat the infected areas.
- You may need to stop verticutting operations if the courts become too dry.
Mowing regimes will be dictated by the amount of play, the weather and what tournaments you may have. As a general rule of thumb, most courts should be cut a minimum of three times a week at a height of around 7-8mm, however some clubs do like to mow daily to maintain presentation and improve the quality of the sward.
Marking is important. Lines need to be clean, straight and accurate; ensure your marking machine is cleaned and serviced, checking that all the components are working properly. There is northing worse than using a marker that drips and produces poor line quality. It will reflect on your workmanship. Remember to use string lines for accuracy. Also invest in good quality paint products, there are plenty to choose from that will suit your requirements and budget.
- Ensure drainage outfalls, channels and ditches are clear
- Inspect stored posts, nets, seating and notice/score boards
- Inspect and remove debris from playing surface
- Regular sweeping and brushing
- Repair any hollows or damaged areas
- Repaint lines
As I write this month’s diary, many people’s attention will be shifting towards getting ready for the bank holiday Jubilee. Whether that be getting grounds ready for matches and events or venues ready for festivities and celebrations. The forecast looks dry, so a good few days should be enjoyed. Before we look too far ahead, let’s take a brief look back at May. Although the year is flying by at a rapid pace, of all the months so far May seems to have gone the quickest. I think a combination of Bank holidays, half-term break and holidays have meant June is already here. May was a mixture of weather, which brought us some decent temperatures to finally encourage more consistent growth and some much needed rainfall, although many parts of the country are still very dry, which is now having an impact on growth and there are signs of localised dry patch in some areas.
The forecast for June looks favourable with consistently decent temperatures, with 21 days predicted to be 18° C or above and night- time temperatures around 10° C or above for most of the month. There is the occasional period of rainfall forecast which should maintain growth, without too much moisture where growth is above the desired amount. After a dry May for most areas, if rainfall in June in also minimal, this will mean that irrigation systems will need to be running to ensure enough moisture is in the profile to sustain a healthy plant and avoid any issues of areas drying too much and volumetric moisture content (VMC) dropping to low, which may lead to turf issues.
Following the increase in temperature and light intensity, growth has become much more consistent and therefore nutrient programmes should be in line with this growth pattern. Nutrition should be supplied only at a level required to give the desired amount of recovery from wear imparted on the surface. Liquid fertiliser can be an excellent source of nutrition. When applied little and often, this is complementary to an even and consistent growth pattern. Granular fertiliser can also be used, however there is more probability of peaks and troughs of growth. If using granular fertiliser, to avoid the aforementioned peaks and troughs, utilising a fertiliser which relies on microbial activity to release the nitrogen is a good option. Examples of these are organic, organo- mineral, methylene urea (MU) and crotonylidene diurea (CDU). These forms release nitrogen gradually over a period of time and can be classed as slow release. This release pattern complements the amount of growth at this time of year as the release is dependent on environmental and microbial activity. Growth can also be managed by the use of plant growth regulators. For those using this technology, applications will have already been made in previous months and these should continue in line with growth potential. Trials have shown the combination of active ingredients Proheaxadione-Calcium and Trinexapac- ethyl give excellent plant growth regulation results.
In dry periods, achieving consistency in moisture management throughout a rootzone is crucial to overall plant health and performance. The aim is to have even moisture distribution through the rootzone, within a determined ±% tolerance guideline set by the turf manager. Wetting agents and surfactants can be essential tools to help achieve this aim. If the rootzone dries down too much and the VMC % drops too low, conditions can become hydrophobic (water-repellent), curative action will need to be taken to allow the rootzone to be re-wettable. Therefore, avoiding this by following a water management programme can minimise the probability of issues.
Acelepryn has been awarded an emergency authorisation for chafer grub control again in 2022, covering golf courses (restricted areas), airfields, horse racecourses and gallops, and this year under exceptional circumstances, cricket outfields. It is important to note here that this only applies to elite venues where there is a risk of a major event being cancelled and does not apply to all cricket outfields (follow label instructions). As with previous years, applications of Acelepryn are governed by a stewardship process and all releases of stock must be validated by a BASIS qualified advisor.
Pheromone traps utilised in May should have shown up any activity of chafers on site. It is important to regularly monitor and record activity so that informed decisions can be made about the best way to manage the issue. Treatments such as the relevant entomopathogenic nematodes can be made on sites where the emergency approval is not granted. Apply 4-5 weeks after the peak adult flying time has been recorded ensuring that:
- The number of larvae in the soil has reached the action threshold
- The soil temperature is within the tolerance limits for the nematode
- The soil is moist and has been aerated
- Further rain is forecast or you can apply irrigation
There is no emergency authorisation for the control of leatherjackets currently. Therefore, those with issues will need to evaluate the potential use of entomopathogenic nematodes. Applications made early in the season need to be done with care, ensuring the correct species are used and realistic expectations are set in terms of achievable results.
B.Sc (Hons) | BASIS | FACTS
You should have had your mower serviced and sharpened ready for the new season.
- Inspect machinery and equipment
- Clean after use
- Remember to check air filters
- Inspect and reset mowing blades on cylinder mowers to ensure they remain sharp