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August growth now for winter survival later

Product Update
Sun over golf course - summer stress
Rising summer sun temperatures are a key stress trigger for the onset of Anthracnose attack - compounded by other stress factors including drought, nutrient deficiency and low mowing heights. Photo: Matt Plested, Stoneham GC

Take advantage of good growing conditions in August to prepare your turf for winter. Long hours of sunshine can build essential carbohydrate reserves, but plants need to have adequate water and nutrients available.

Recent wet weather and good growing conditions will have helped turf in the south and east to recover from losses in root mass earlier in the season - as a result of record temperatures and extreme dry conditions. In the north it’s been an almost opposite, with wet and cooler conditions early the year, but more recently warmer and drier.

Long-term weather models are pointing towards continued above average temperatures and below average rainfall right through into the beginning of autumn. Once again the pattern is for prolonged dry spells, with any rain in short, sharp interludes.

Jet movement

The jet stream that typically dictates UK August weather has, in the past, been predominantly circular – leading to gentle and gradual change between weather systems, and more predictable weather patterns. More recently, the shape has become more angular, leading to far more dramatic swings and extremes of heat, wind and rain etc. Meteorologists see no reason for this enhanced changeability to alter in the near future.

Last August saw the return of above normal temperatures - after two consecutive seasons’ of cooler conditions - along with longer sunshine and average rainfall; ideal for stress-free growth.

  • The reference average August temperature for the UK has risen by over 0.7°C for the period 1981-2010, compared to 1961-1990.
  • The past decade has seen an average 50% more rainfall, compared to historical average.
  • Extreme August weather events, with sporadic flooding, have been experienced in 75% of years over the past decade.
  • Temperatures have been significantly below the long-term average only twice in the past 20 years.     

Managing moisture becomes a greater challenge under extremes of rainfall weather patterns. Qualibra wetting agent effects, built up over a summer programme, ensure rapid penetration of surface water, to minimise the effects of heavy rainfall and keep surfaces dry, but then hold soil moisture deeper in the profile to encourage greater root mass development.

Used in conjunction with Primo Maxx II, to concentrate chlorophyll levels in the leaf, enhances summer sun photosynthetic activity, giving a real chance to minimise effects of stress on plants and build carbohydrate root reserves.

Relieving summer weather stress on plants is an important Integrated Turf Management tool to minimise risk of Anthracnose outbreaks in dry periods. However, if high risk occurs - particularly around maintenance weeks or high wear-and-tear competitions - and whilst plants are still actively growing, an application of Banner Maxx or Headway can help plants to cope. 

Proactive disease planning in the summer will ensure turf is in the best health going into the winter.

Stadium Leaf Spot

Hot humid days in August can be the precursor for Leaf Spot breaking out, especially in a sheltered sports stadium environment and where cutting height is being reduced ready for the playing season. Attacks of melting out now will leave little chance for recovery. Medallion TL has proven extremely effective in preventing turf damage to stadium and training ground playing surfaces.