1 May 2019 Pitch Diaries

Spring 2019 has thus far been more favourable for the turf manager than the spring of 2018. Disease pressure had been relatively low and, whilst April has seen the cool nights and warmer days which are typical of this month, there has been good growth windows to get surfaces moving and recovering across much of the British Isles.

Shrewsbury School

Concerningly for turf managers, water reserves both in reservoirs and within the soil profile remain low across much of the country. This provides potential for drought stress on grass plants much sooner than in the spring and summer of 2018.

The weather forecast for May currently suggests there may be some periods of rainfall. Taking opportunity of these precipitation events by maximising the penetration of water into the soil, via aeration events such as sarel tine and star tine rolling, combined with the use of penetrant wetting agents, will enhance the passage of water down into the soil profile. Such action applies to fairways, outfield areas and pitches as much as it does fine turf surfaces such as greens. The application of surfactants to larger areas of land is often perceived as being expensive, but modern product formulations mean wetting agents can be applied to larger areas of land cost effectively.

Combining the advantages of a penetrant with the water retention properties of a block co-polymer surfactant will help to hold water which has soaked into the ground and keep it available for roots.

Seaweed is well proven to mitigate plant stress response as well as promote post drought recovery; again, cost effective applications of a cold pressed seaweed to larger areas are sensible and achievable for many.

In this month's diaries we look at the key considerations. Click here to view.

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.

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