The Groundsman

March 2014

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GROW WITH THE IOG 26 the Groundsman March 2014 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions est management Pests can be divided according to their size: smaller soil dwelling creatures, or larger mammals and birds. The specific type of control method will depend upon the pest being managed. The main smaller turf grass pests are leatherjackets, chafer grubs and earthworms. The aim is to (a) reduce the ground and environmental conditions which favour these pests and (b) control them when they are at their most vulnerable in their growth and development stage. The main larger turf grass pests are moles and rabbits, although foxes, birds and deer can be locally significant. Knowing the habitats and habits of these animals can help in devising appropriate control methods. This article carries on from Part One, which appeared in the February issue of the Groundsman magazine. It continues to look at the points you might consider when devising a sustainable systems approach to minimising pesticide in grounds management Managing earthworm activity with maintenance activities The conditions that are favourable to earthworm surface activity need to be addressed to make them less favourable. Several maintenance activities can be used to influence the production of an environment that is less attractive to earthworm activity, including: [9, 10] • Box off clippings to remove a potential earthworm food supply; • Consider reducing, but not eliminating, the use of organic fertilisers. One approach may be to ensure organic fertilisers are not applied either too early or too late in the growing season, as this is when earthworm surface activity can be high; • Apply acidic and fertilisers; being careful not to over acidify the surface; P Sustainable grounds management: Part 2 By: Chris Grey • Remove thatch accumulation by hollow-tining and other aeration methods; • Do not apply lime, unless essential; • Reduce reliance on fertilisers which produce an alkaline soil reaction; • Test the pH of irrigation water, consider amending it if it's alkaline; • Drag brush and switch regularly to disperse earthworm casts. Weed management Moss and algae can pose a high risk in some areas due to the slippery surface they create. [11] Other weeds only provide a very low health and safety risk, arguably through reduced turf strength, increasing the potential for minor injuries. The main issues to do with weed management are that of (a) visual acceptability, which is a very subjective value judgement, and (b) the effect weeds can have on the playing performance of a surface. The negative effect that weeds can have on playing performance is probably the main practical reason why selective herbicides may need to be applied to a turf grass surface. Weeds create an environment in which ball reaction is not consistent, while some species also die back during the winter creating a thinner sward. [12] The application of good cultural practices, as undertaken for disease management, will assist in making the turf environment harder for weeds to become established in. Maintaining a dense sward with appropriate grass species should be a key aim of maintenance activities. Turf grass pests, such as earthworms can be managed with the correct regimes

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