The Groundsman

June 2012

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Page 47 of 51

48 WEATHER WATCH Heat is on for June After the incessant deluge of recent months, it's a welcome relief that June is, statistically, the driest and brightest month of the summer. June 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. More recently, average temperatures in June have also been on the rise. The long-term average is around 12.5°C, but over the past two decades has exceeded 13°C on more than 16 occasions. More significantly for turf health, the average daily maximum for the whole month across England has exceeded 19°C on seven out of the last 10 years. The implication for turf 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 a Primo Maxx programme ahead of periods of high temperature and drought stress can increase chlorophyll concentration in the leaf by up to 60% and raise levels of bioactive cytokinins that helps leaves stay green and healthy for longer. Treatment also makes turf more water efficient - by regulating respiration rate and stomata evapo-transpiration – as well as diverting energy into developing a stronger root mass that is better able to withstand the effects of drought. When combined with a Qualibra wetting agent June Top Tips • Use Primo Maxx prior to stressful weather conditions to maintain plant health • Continue 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 Av Temp (°C) 2011 Diff to average UK N.England S.England Scotland N Ireland 12.7 13.2 14.3 10.7 11.8 + 0.1 + 0.5 + 0.3 - 0.2 - 0.6 Sun (hours) 2011 Diff to average 175 190 199 139 148 + 4% + 13% + 7% - 11% - 3% the Groundsman June 2012 Rain (mm) 2011 Diff to average 85 67 72 100 104 + 17% - 4% + 21% + 17% + 44% Days with more than 1mm of rain 2011 Diff to average 13 12 12 15 16 + 2 + 2 + 3 + 2 + 4 June 2011 - wet, warm and sunny weather created the perfect conditions for turf growth, especially in the south and west programme, which holds water deeper and evenly through the soil profile, the roots can be encouraged to grow more effectively in the areas of soil moisture retention. Nutrient washout The record rainfall in April - with an average 126.5mm across the UK - and repeated heavy downpours in May could have washed out any soil nutrient reserves, and left turf exposed to potential deficiencies during the June growing season. Any nutrient deficiency could make turf especially susceptible to stress-related Anthracnose attack as temperatures heat up and soils dry out. Turf managers are advised to alleviate turf stress as far as possible and to ensure adequate appropriate nutrition is provided, including tank-mixing liquid fertiliser with Primo Maxx and fungicide applications. When the GreenCast website indicates Anthracnose disease risk is high - – the fast acting Banner Maxx has proven to give high levels of control and protect turf quality through the summer.

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