The Groundsman

June 2014

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WEATHER UPDATE 48 the Groundsman June 2014 Alleviate stress to enhance turf health While June can produce some ideal growing conditions, recent history of weather records show it also has the potential to pose extreme stress on turf plant health; from high heat and drought conditions, to some of the heaviest rainstorms and flash flooding. Statistically, June is the driest and brightest month of the summer. It holds the record for the most sunshine – over 264 hours in 1957 – as well as one of the driest average months on record, with just 14mm of rain in 1925. However, the memory of summer 2012 is still etched on all turf managers' minds, with nearly 150mm of rainfall in June a precursor of the season's terrible conditions, yet that was in fact only a repeat of 2007. More recently, average temperatures in June have been on the rise. The UK long-term average is around 13°C, but over the past two decades has exceeded that on more than 15 occasions. More significantly for turf health, the average daily maximum for the whole month across England has exceeded 18°C on all except one of the last 10 years. The implication for turf health is that when temperatures exceed 18°C, root growth is impaired. And when the temperature rises further, above 24°C, photosynthesis and leaf health is also affected – adding to the loss in playing surface quality from drought stress and leaf browning. Trials have shown that pre-stress conditioning turf with combinations of Primo Maxx and Heritage Maxx ahead of periods of high temperature and drought stress can increase chlorophyll concentration in the leaf by up to 60 per cent and raise levels of bioactive cytokinins that helps leaves stay green and healthy for longer. Where weather conditions risk drought stress, treatment makes turf more water efficient - by regulating respiration rate and stomata evapo- transpiration. Developing a stronger root mass also creates plants better able to withstand the effects of drought. When combined with a Qualibra wetting agent programme, which holds water deeper and evenly through the soil profile, the roots can be encouraged to grow more extensively in the areas of soil moisture retention. Water management The witnessed trend towards more extreme weather patterns, epitomised of late by periods of prolonged dry weather followed by bursts of intense rainfall, pose the greatest headaches for greenkeepers and turf managers. The use of the dual-action wetting agent Qualibra through the summer means that surface water - from heavy rainfall or irrigation - quickly moves down to leave surfaces firm and dry. It is then better retained at depth, to enhance efficient utilisation, nutrient uptake and turf health, while limiting the damaging effects of Dry Patch. • Enhance plant health with Primo Maxx prior to stressful weather conditions • Continue Qualibra wetting agent programmes to optimise water use • Maintain appropriate nutrition for actively growing turf • Watch for local weather and disease risk warnings on the free GreenCast turf management website June Top Tips Av Temp (°C) Sun (hours) Days with more than 1mm of rain 13.6 13.4 13.9 15.1 14.1 Rain (mm) 187 118 196 239 183 35 148 70 37 62 8 17 12 6 10 Weather records for England highlight the hugely variable weather that has occurred in June, but a definite trend to warmer. Rainfall has been more than 50 per cent different to average, either very wet or very dry, on five of the past 10 years 2013 2012 2011 2010 30-yr average World-leading on-line advice for turf • Up to the minute weather forecasting • Advance warning of turf diseases • Application zone for practical pointers • NEW interactive forums

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