The Winter of 2009 / 2010 has been severe and long and our green keeping skills will be tested to rectify the resulting poor growth habits. This is not just because at this time of year the weather can be at its most unpredictable and inclement, but also because golfers are emerging from their Winter hibernation and expect and demand good playing conditions.
I have very rarely seen golfers appreciate, or indeed care, that the growth and climatic conditions for growth are not yet conducive. Furthermore, they watch the US Masters on TV in April and expect their own Club to provide similar playing conditions. Pressure on the green staff to produce such greens often dictates questionable practices in an attempt to stimulate green greens, tight swards and exceptional putting conditions with even, true, smooth surfaces by trying to force the grasses to respond to salt based fertilisers.
2010 will be experiencing a later Spring. Taking the T200 format as a guide, green keeper management can understand when growth is conducive. This is established by taking all temperatures from 1st January, including those a 0°C, adding all the positive temperatures together over the forthcoming days and weeks until you reach an overall temperature of 200°C. This is only a guide, but worth trying. Soil temperatures have to reach a considerable 5 to 6°C higher before grasses will grow uniformly and respond effectively to fertiliser application.
Bumpy greens are common place in the Spring as the different grass species that make up the green respond with varying growth vigour. Furthermore, the make up of the greens also influences the growth and growth habit. The level of moisture in the soil along with high and low temperatures influence the speed and uniformity of grass pick up in the Spring.
The ground water, frozen over weeks in the Winter, restricts development, hence water temperatures in the Spring rise very slowly. Stress from frost, wet and granular salt fertilisers will impact further on the plant. It's what I call the artex effect.
It is vitally important for all managers of turf to appreciate that, like people, the plants must receive an antioxidant. WHY? Plant cells are like people cells, during periods of daily stress they build up toxins which will kill the cells. People tend to take antioxidants in order to control the toxic substances that build up in their cells. Plants also need antioxidants in order to prevent the build up of toxic chemicals in their cells. As cells die the plants need to produce many more cells in order to replace them.
The restricted growth experienced by Poa annua is likely to be further influenced by over stimulation of fertiliser applications. Ethylene hormone is produced in all plant tissues and is regulated by a variety of developmental and environmental factors during the life of the plant. However, if the plant builds up excess Ethylene then the plant goes into more retardation.
Hence, growth is stunted and the plant is poor in colour, vigour, rooting and development. To counter the toxin gas build up it is vitally important for the plant to under go an antioxidant treatment. After a strong antioxidant is applied to the plant it reduces the toxins in the plants cells and, more importantly, it teaches the cells how to make antioxidants.
This avoids a lot of plant stress during the period of growth and productivity. Therefore, the application of an antioxidant will increase the plant's resistance to all stresses such as drought, high temperatures, disease, insects, glyphosate and herbicide damage. However, the plant is at its most stressed condition during the cold, wet Spring and growth is difficult to stimulate. Any plant that avoids stress will always be a more productive plant.
Only a single application is required per season in order to train the plant cells to control toxins. The rate of treatment has been proven that a foliar spray of 750 ml to 1 litre per hectare will bring results within 4 to 5 days of treatment. Multiple applications are not necessary.
The treatment of an antioxidant purges out the toxin which has, in fact, blocked the growth and development within the plant. Once purged the plant returns to full growth potential. The treatment with an antioxidant will cause the plant to correct the tremendous imbalance the plant has encountered due to stress. The imbalance of hormones inside the plant is controlled. Liquid nutrition is ideal to further enhance the plant's growth recovery using amine-nitrogen such as EarthResponse from Earth-Tec Ltd.
Observation :- If a plant is retarded, the leaves curl and yellow off, are poor in leaf elongation and open to disease attack, i.e. Fusarium etc. Within a period of 4 to 5 days of application the leaves will unroll and turn dark green, the colour will come back into the drought stricken or frost damaged plant. This relief treatment will enable the plant to grow more normally in an environment that is full of all kinds of stress.
Plants are different to people in that they cannot go into the health shop and get antioxidants or get out of the effects of our climate. They must stay on the course and take their punishment. A product such as Earth-Tec's EarthForge will make them more resistant to the punishment of Mother Nature and bring about significant growth back into the plant once more allowing the plant to recapture its full potential.
One treatment will get your greens growing again quickly.
Further information from David H. Bates Agronomy Services. Tel: 07736 066031.