By Laurence Gale MSc
First up on the floor was Alex Vickers, Course Director of the MSc in Sports Surface Technology programme at Cranfield University.
Alex presented an enthusiastic talk on Soil, Air and Water, which included several practical demonstrations of how water moved through the soil. The information was well received by the audience; Alex was able to demonstrate a number of science related principles that occur in soil plant water relationships. These included capillary rise in rootzone constructed greens and how hydraulic conductivity rates can be influenced by the choice and size of gravel and sand materials used in drainage systems.
The second speaker was Simon Barnaby, Technical Manager for Scotts UK. Simon put together a talk on exploring the options for minimal product inputs to achieve effective fine turf management. In essence, looking at what the plant needs. Often, by careful soil analysis, it is possible target the specific needs of the plant more effectively.
Having a better understanding of the plant nutrient requirements of the sward and having a greater knowledge about the soil conditions will enable a more targeted approach to the use of fertilisers and growth promoters.
The day was completed, after a very fine lunch provided by the Essex Golf and Country club, with a turf clinic question and answer session involving all three speakers.