As we leave what is likely to prove one of the warmest Februarys on record we face the oncoming spring with the opportunity for recovery growth from the rigours of winter and a strong start to the growing season. However the general lack of rainfall over the winter should be of grave concern to turf managers at all levels.
The notorious drought of 1976 was a summer was statistically not as dry as the summer we experienced in 2018. However what made 1976 so difficult was the fact that it was a dry summer which followed a dry summer and a dry winter. As we move towards summer 2019 water reserves in the reservoirs are as low as the water reserves in the soil. If this continues then there will be intense drought pressure on grass plants much faster than in 2018 as soils which are already relatively dry loose their moisture content sooner.
March is the month to start applying polymer wetting agents, such that you have enough time for the chemistry to build up in the soil ahead of summer. Prevention is absolutely better than cure when it comes to dry patch, and planning and preparation now prevents poor surfaces later in the year. This is especially important against the context of soil which are already dry. Maximising the absorption of any rainfall which does occur via a combination of aeration and penetrant wetting agents is a very wise tactic to employ.
To find out more visit this month's diaries here.
Don't forget, you can also use our Pitchcare Forum, where members can ask for and offer advice on the whole range of sports turf surfaces issues.