Voice of a Greenkeeper: August tips

What will August bring? We have just had more rain in the last few days of July than through the months of May and June combined!

Through this period the priority has been to keep the greens alive, then all other areas depending on irrigation systems and water availability.

As we come through this dry period various problems have surfaced including those related to fungal activity, nutrition and stress from heat and drought.

Let’s look at these as we move forward…

Fungal activity

We are seeing more fungal dry patch, fairy ring, waitea patch / brown patch and leaf spot. Why is this? Firstly, we must consider the climate changing, and the wetting and drying of the surface is far more frequent now with the use of pure sand drying the surface and root zone very quickly.

Then the use of re-wetting moisture management to keep moisture in the top of the profile. With the hot conditions we have experienced the humidity in the sward is incubating any fungal disease pathogens, creating more fungal activity than we see normally.

As course managers we are all looking to use less fungicide and the fungicides we are using are less effective as active ingredients and applications are reduced. This is resulting in the fact that if we don’t spray that fuzz we see or we do not put that preventative on before our renovation work that we would have done in the past, these applications would have also killed a lot of other fungi in the rootzone that we are seeing now.

We are seeing changes as we, as an industry, change too.

Good aeration is vital and you should be looking at kit such as the Thatch-Away Supa-System Sarel Roller and Star Slitter cassettes to help with this.

Light grooming of the sward will help keep surfaces open and oxygenated, combine this with good microbial biology to create a healthy soil will help to out compete the bad fungi.

Thatch-Away Supa-System Sarel Roller

Nutrition

Most of us have used more water than we would have liked, this has been required to keep plants alive in such high temperatures for such a prolonged period.

But this has caused leaching or rinsing of a lot of nutrition and goodness in the root zone, so keep an eye out for anthracnose.

With this in mind some extra light nutrition liquid applications applied with a good seaweed or an application of a good organic slow release granular will help keep nutritional levels balanced to reduce stress levels (listen to what the grass has to say not the diary as conditions are so extreme).

If moisture levels are better after the rain a good pencil tine with 6mm or 8mm tines will allow oxygen in and some moisture movement through the profile.

Heat and drought stress

Look to raise the height of the cut, reduce the days you cut, roll if possible, keep blades sharp for a clean cut, use good moisture management and hand watering. The use of a good bio stimulant and seaweed will also help.

Looking at renovation or repair work with a loss of grass coverage due to the conditions, make sure you get the correct seed and quality of seed.

Apply in a way that gives you a seed soil connection. GreenTek Dyna Seeder units get the seed where it needs to be to get the best results.

Dynamics Dyna-Seeder

Using a seed coat can help increase germination in good healthy root zones. Mycorrhizal beneficial fungi will increase germination and seedlings growth by more than 30%, increasing the uptake of nutrition and moisture in the young seedlings.

Moving through this month a few will be looking at maintenance week. Think carefully at what you need to do. Look at the condition of the greens’ moisture levels, organic matter levels and the climate for the time you are looking to do the work.