As we wave goodbye to July, we must prepare for August, the starting point for shorter days and cooler nights.
July has been unforgivingly wet in some areas, which is a stark contrast to the drought conditions we were experiencing in June, where on average there was 42mm of rain compared to July, which in some areas has had on average 98mm of rainfall, with some seeing over 100mm! This has made July a tough month for turf managers, as we move from one stress (drought) to another stress (saturation point). Initially, following June, the rain was welcomed and much needed. However, it has felt like it hasn't stopped in some parts. Anyone with annual meadow grass will have undoubtedly seen how this has struggled for most of the year to date, as it has rarely been out of stressful conditions and has definitely not been in that 'happy place'. It has had to deal with wet, cold, drought, heat and now wet again.
When dealing with the weather, we now seem to face extremes more than anything else, flipping from one to another. These extreme weather conditions put extra stress onto the plant on top of the stress already present from the intensive management carried out to provide excellent playing surfaces. This can be the tipping point for pathogen populations to increase and disease incidence to occur. The sudden flip from dry to wet can also suit the development of turf diseases.
The start of August looks like a continuation of what we have had in July, rain! It is forecast for the first half of the month with improved weather to follow, although still a scattering of showers, temperatures will remain around 20°C for the majority of the month. The continued rainfall and environmental conditions will require careful management in relation to nutrition management to counteract any losses through the profile. Disease monitoring will also be required throughout this period.
An overview of the weather statistics for July can be found below. Click here if you want to review weather data in your region for July. To keep up to date with the weather throughout August, visit https://academy.agrovista.co.uk/category/weather
The recent weather extremes are ultimately influencing how successful our nutritional plans are. If not already in place, adapting to a little and often approach for applications will help to mitigate exaggerated peaks and dips in performance. It is 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 (SRF) technology offers base nutrition which can be topped up 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 month and the optimum time of year for renovations. Weather conditions can be ideal for recovery and the establishment of new seed. Seed selection is crucial for the greatest probability of success. There are fine margins between the best cultivars however; when considering seed selection, ensuring all the cultivars in the bag are from the top end of the seed tables will provide excellent results. Although 'extras' can be provided in some seed mixes, this is often at the expense of the quality of cultivar. No additive will change a cultivar, so cultivar quality is paramount.
Renovation will vary across the different surfaces being maintained, however having objectives planned out will increase the probability of having a successful renovation. 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. There is a plethora of equipment at your disposal to achieve these goals. Utilising biostimulants, such as liquid seaweed, amino and humic acids, will further promote seed germination and establishment in combination with the usual renovation fertilisers. This will only add to the success of the right seed selection previously mentioned.
As we get towards the end of the month and the nights become cooler, the likelihood of dew occurrence increases significantly. This increase in leaf wetness leads to an increase in disease pressure. Whilst growth is presumably still substantial, regular mowing is still required; this means that the use of dew dispersant technology to help keep the leaf surface drier will only last for a short period of time, as the product is removed when mowing takes place. That said, it doesn't mean that they aren't a useful tool to help through periods of substantial disease pressure - as long as expectations of product longevity are aligned with the current environmental conditions. A small window of product performance is sometimes all that is required to get past a period of high disease pressure relatively unscathed.
B.Sc (Hons) | BASIS | FACTS