The Groundsman

July 2012

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28 WEATHER WATCH Recent seasons have witnessed dramatic summer storms - with rainfall over two- thirds above the norm for July. Any repeat will be unwelcome news for turf managers, after the challenges of exceptional and often record rainfall through May and June. Over the past decade the UK has experienced extremes of both the wettest and the warmest conditions on record in July. Temperatures have been above the long term average in 12 of the past 15 years – peaking over 3°C above the norm in 2006. Last year was the coolest July for over a decade. Moreover, it is the rainfall that recently has been breaking the record books. Some regions have suffered especially badly; in 2009, for example, south west England and south Wales recorded 220 mm - 333% of average rainfall and with significant rain on 22 days over the month. The following year, by contrast, the same areas experienced a 40% shortfall, with rain on just six days and totalling only 26 mm. The combination of generally wetter and warmer weather in July has raised problems in physically undertaking turf Av Temp (°C) 2011 Diff to average UK N.England S.England Scotland Wales N Ireland 14.2 14.4 15.5 12.7 14.1 13.7 - 0.7 - 0.7 - 1.0 - 0.3 - 0.9 - 0.7 Sun (hours) 2011 Diff to average 170 180 175 160 180 - 2% + 2% - 13% + 10% - 2% the Groundsman July 2012 July grass growth storms ahead Rain (mm) 2011 Diff to average 76 76 50 100 95 146 + 2% 70 + 9% + 19% + 3% + 8% + 21% - 4% Days with more than 1mm of rain 2011 Diff to average 10 10 9 11 11 12 - - + 2 - 2 + 1 - 2 July 2011 weather compared to 30-year average. The coolest July for over a decade, it was also wetter for many regions, with a third more rainfall than average in eastern counties maintenance operations, along with keeping on top of mowing, whilst the incidence and severity of pest and disease attack have increased. Keeping turf growth regulated with Primo Maxx applications over the summer can ease management issues of continual mowing, and help retain root mass to promote healthier growth. Plants in regulation mode are better able to cope with weather induced stress and recover quicker. If it does turn out to be hot this July, regulating turf growth before a period of drought can improve the plant's efficiency of water use and reduce the need for irrigation by over a third. Summer water management could also prove crucial, with advice advocating that Qualibra wetting agent programmes initiated during good growing conditions in July, could help achieve better results in maintaining turf health and playing surface quality through periods of drought that have become the norm for August and September. Nutrient deficiency The result of excessive nutrient leaching caused by high rainfall in May and June, combined with a general cut back in nutrient use on many turf surfaces, could further exacerbate problems of deficiencies whilst turf is still actively growing. Nutrient imbalance puts turf health under stress, but also increases the risks for Dollar Spot, Take-all and Anthracnose that historically peak in July. Local forecasts of high disease risk periods on the free web site www.greencast.co.uk will help turf managers time applications of Banner Maxx, Heritage Maxx or Headway more effectively to counter Anthracnose and other diseases. July Top Tips • Use Primo Maxx to manage mowing costs, enhance turf quality and alleviate summer stress • Be aware of Dollar Spot and Anthracnose outbreaks during hot weather • Watch for local weather and disease risk warnings on the free GreenCast turf management website

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