The Groundsman

February 2014

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GROW WITH THE IOG 26 the Groundsman February 2014 Visit for more information and digital editions ports and amenity turf grass surfaces form a significant part of the UK land area; all of which needs maintaining to some degree or other. Within any management plan there will be a need to define the purpose of the surface and the requirements from managing it. Define the purpose of the surface. • The playing of a sport? • Encouraging biodiversity? • Providing protective cover for wildlife? • Providing food for insects? • An attractive backdrop to floral displays? • General recreation and leisure? • Reducing soil erosion? • Providing an educational and learning resource? • A range of purposes? Once the purpose has been agreed then an appropriate sustainable management regime can be devised. The Grow with the IOG article in the January issue provided an insight into Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This two-part article (the second part to be published in the March issue) looks at some points that you might consider when devising an IPM plan and how it might be built into a wider systems approach to minimising pesticide use and managing grounds in a sustainable way Making a start An early stage of IPM is to identify unhealthy plant situations; these might include: • shaded areas • soil compaction • exposed areas • poor airflow • wet soils • soil nutrient status • soil pH levels • poor maintenance work, increasing plant stress • excessive nitrogen applications promoting weak soft growth • plant stress caused by overuse. Surveying and analysing a surface, by using Performance Quality Standards, can identify unhealthy plant situations and can provide the base data on which to devise a management plan, with the involvement of stakeholders. S A systems approach to managing grounds By: Chris Gray Unhealthy growing and plant development conditions can significantly encourage disease, pest and weed problems. Without addressing any underlying conditions these problems will continue to be perpetuated, which is not a sustainable situation. Disease management An integrated disease management strategy that emphasises the importance of disease ecology along with correct cultural practices can provide a sound foundation in controlling diseases, as well as reducing the severity of damage caused. The need to have plant protection products (pesticides) in reserve where severe disease problems arise should be considered an important part of the management regime. [1] Three conditions are needed for a disease to be successful: [2] 1. a susceptible grass, or plant; 2. an active pathogen; 3. a favourable environment (in particular conditions such as water availability, temperature, soil texture, soil pH, soil organic matter and nutrient availability). Cultural practices can be implemented to assist in alleviating the conditions for a successful disease attack, including: [3] • Reducing plant susceptibility to disease Select species and cultivars that are more resistant and consider having this as a higher priority than some other criteria when purchasing seed. Specialist contactors carry out a range of refurbishment and renovation works

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