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Non-stop pitch renovation recovery

Customer Insight
Football stadium turf

Whilst the football and rugby season effectively draws to a close, in reality it’s only a few weeks before pre-season kicks off demand for pitches all over again. That puts immense pressure on the grounds’ teams to renovate and recover surfaces, ready to go again. 

ICL Area Technical Manager and stadium turf specialist, Phil Collinson, highlighted the available window for renovation is being squeezed at both ends. “The lack of time to establish a strong sward with healthy roots systems an increasing challenge for turf managers.

Phil Collinson - ICL

“The time pressure between seeding and first use is becoming greater, whilst weather extremes that can compromise success seem ever more extreme,” he added.

“Growing ryegrass in a high sand medium that it wouldn’t normally favour further adds to the challenges of both nutrition and moisture management. You really can’t afford to lose any days of potential growth.”

Football pitch renovation fraze mower

Phil advocated that the Syngenta FR321 disease control and stress management package is especially well suited to promoting and maintaining healthy growth through the summer stadium and pitch renovation timing.

“Renovations in stadiums and enclosed training facilities can create conditions for incredibly high disease pressure situations," he warned.

"The combination of protecting seedlings from pathogens on both the leaf surface, with Medallion, and inside the plant with Heritage, gives the best chance preventing any check in growth or losses from seedling diseases."

“The two different fungicides are also targeting the pathogen at different stages of its lifecycle, which gives a really nice multi-site package that a single active fungicide wouldn’t offer,” said Phil.

Football stadium turf

The specific rates of the two fungicides provided in the convenient one-box solution has been proven to give excellent results as a cost-effective treatment.

Establishing a seedling in the middle of summer, where heat stress can be at its highest of the year, adds a further challenge or rapid growth and recovery from renovation, Phil pointed out.

“The Ryder pigment component of FR321 brings protection to the young plant from the high light levels that can be seen through this period - essentially preventing it from stalling seedling development.” Using Ryder early in the renovation programme gives the pigment chance to lock onto the leaf and minimises risk of transfer onto kit when play recommences.

He recommends treatment timing once there is sufficient seedling growth to effectively target and coat the leaf with the fungicide, which is typically around 21 days after seeding.

Application research using angled nozzles has been shown to enhance coverage on small upright grass leaf targets, along with using lower water volumes to avoid overwetting leaves and associated run off.    

“Where possible avoid applications in the middle of the day, if conditions are high heat or sunlight,” he advised. “Check the weather forecast to avoid risk of rain soon after application and adjust irrigation timings, so as not to immediately wash the product off the leaf that could compromise performance.”   

Football stadium turf

Phil also highlighted that using FR321 in combination with a Primo Maxx II programme will help to ensure longevity of fungicide and pigment retention on the leaf, whilst at the same time the growth regulator encourages sward density and stronger rooting, giving improved plant health and surface stability.

“With challenges for both nutrition and moisture management during summer renovation, it’s crucial to ensure there is sufficient nutrition available to the plant to support rapid establishment,” he advised.

“Monitor moisture levels in the rootzone continuously, to ensure it doesn’t sit too wet or too dry and create the correct environment for healthy growth, both above and below ground. Use wetting agents to help manage and maintain consistent moisture.”

Read Glenn Kirby's GreenCastAdvisory blog on pitch renovation here:

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