Voice of a Greenkeeper: July tips

Well here we are going into July after one of the driest Junes on record; some people are only seeing 10 to 20mm of rain in the last 6 weeks with temperatures regularly 25 to 30 degrees most days!

Maintaining a healthy sward during these conditions is key. It is so important to balance moisture and nutrition management to avoid diseases and excessive stress, heat or drought.

Keep nutrition balanced as necessary to maintain a healthy plant but remember due to the very hot dry conditions you may be watering more regular so this could be leaching or rinsing some of the nutrition, and you may need to increase to keep the plant healthy.

Look at light summer organic, granular natural slow release, or if you prefer your liquid applications spray a bit more regularly to keep nutrition levels healthy for the plant. The use of some seaweed and a good wetting agent for best results will be seen with a moisture retentive product during these conditions.

When some disease symptoms do appear, as you could see some fungal activity with such high temperatures and higher irrigation volumes being used, these weather conditions may bring thatch fungi, fungal dry patch, but it could be the turn of Rhizoctonia, Take All, Anthracnose or Leaf Spot. You need to know so that the correct action can be taken.

You can do a great deal to avoid some diseases simply by avoiding stress.

Your nutrition and irrigation programmes are very important for this but so too are other aspects of maintenance – mowing height in particular could be raised. Cutting too low for too long can be very stressful in these conditions so try using a Roller or Vibro Roller every other day to reduce the cutting.

Good light aeration is needed so try the Sarel Roller, Star Slitter or Dyna Corer tine to help relive surface tension and improve moisture absorption from the irrigation. Combined this with a good moisture management program.

A lot of other areas on the golf course will not be growing so much giving you more time to do a few tidy up jobs around the course or a bit of machine maintenance and sharpening for when the moisture levels return and the grass grows again.

As I have always said when golfers say to me how good the weather is and it must make your job easy, there are probably more problems we have to deal with from a very dry summer than a very wet one!

A greenkeepers we get on with it and do it working round the clock, trying to beat mother nature.

Finally, the most important thing to remember in this hot weather is your cap and some good sun cream!

Being exposed to the sun for hours on end can give you a good tan, but seriously think of the harm you can cause to your skin. Insist that the club supplies a good sun cream and always rehydrate by drinking plenty of water.