Water Management Turf Action Plan – planning for adaptability

By Alistair May 11, 2022 09:16

Aquatrols’ technical support and European account manager, Michael Fance, shares his thoughts on how to work with the weather with a well thought out turf action plan.

“Throughout my European travels, the only consistent trend I’ve observed regarding the affects of the weather on sports turf maintenance is its inconsistency!’’ Michael says.

Michael has spent his 38-year career advocating a proactive approach within an integrated turf management programme but using his experiences, and the extensive database of research acquired throughout Aquatrols’ 60-plus years of research and development, his thoughts have been refined to a more tailored approach. Whilst still recommending working to a programme, there is more emphasis now to make reactive decisions within the ‘Turf Action Plan’ to help mitigate the unpredictability of the weather.

The proactive approach

The first approach suggested is that of carrying out a simple water drop penetration test (WDPT Letey, 1969). “If the soil cores exhibit a low level of repellency, or if it is discovered that moisture levels are greater than ideal at the surface, an application of Dispatch Sprayable can be very beneficial as well as economical, as its patented formulation facilitates the infiltration and penetration of water,’’ says Michael.

If rootzones are identified as highly water repellent an application of Aqueduct Liquid can be used as a pre-treatment tool to address the problem before starting a regular preventative programme.

Michael continues that irrespective of prevailing weather conditions, starting Revolution or Zipline programmes early will help optimise air-to-water ratios in the rootzone for a better growing environment and healthier turf. Both formulations have the ability to perform well in extremes of wet or dry weather in a wide range of soil types.

The last couple of years have seen many situations that required investment in curative applications and renovations that could possibly have been avoided. Zipline and Firmway both have variable rate options which provide the turf manager with a proactive, economical approach that will help to mitigate any challenging conditions thrown up by the weather.

If the site-specific issue relates to low moisture retention capabilities, then a proactive wetting agent approach would be advisable. Primer Select is the preferred technology Michael advises as it creates a matrix flow – a uniform wetting front to prevent the development of water repellent conditions.

Reactive moisture management options

In wet conditions, Dispatch Sprayable can be very useful and has also proven to significantly increase water penetration times and therefore retain playability of sports surfaces in wet conditions.

Having discussed the merits of Aqueduct Liquid within a proactive strategy, the product is more often referred to as the ‘fire extinguisher’ of curative soil surfactants for treating hydrophobic soil. Its use enables many turf managers to rehydrate soil and therefore induce turf recovery when heat and drought have taken their toll.

Healthy turf for all seasons

In addition to a well-managed Turf Action Plan for water management, Michael also advocates ensuring that turf is kept healthy at all times. Developing a nutritional programme recommendation requires more than soil test data, such as an understanding of common abiotic stress factors, the desired level of turf performance and a thorough knowledge of the site.

Since the Redox TurfRx range became available to turf managers across Europe, many have embraced their use within their own particular Turf Action Plans. Utilising the purest mineral sources, the highest quality soluble carbons and three highly technical manufacturing techniques sets Redox apart from the competition. Every mineral in every formulation has been reacted with the most appropriate soluble carbon to ensure plant availability and therefore efficiency, assisting natural plant processes. A consequence of this unrivalled nutrient delivery efficiency is incredibly low application rates.

Michael has observed the prescriptive use of various Redox TurfRx products first-hand on his travels. Knowing that a particular long-term goal of many turf managers is to maintain, or even improve, turf quality and playability whilst also reducing nitrogen inputs, he has seen how two products within the Redox TurfRx portfolio have very quickly become the cornerstone for this approach; namely C-85 and Supreme.

TurfRx C-85 improves soil microbial diversity and has been proven in independent trials to increase the efficiency of applied nitrogen and also to reduce nitrogen lost in leachate. TurfRx Supreme improves nitrogen metabolism within the plant, converting excess nitrate nitrogen to amino acids and proteins. It can be used to reduce clipping yields when felt necessary and complements plant growth regulator use. Commonly used in a tank-mix programmed approach, these two products have successfully assisted turf managers to extend periods between nitrogen applications but also to reduce its overall use.

Michael summarises by saying “I feel that the inclusion of reactive strategies within an overall proactive programme is the best way for managers of natural turf surfaces to prepare for whatever the weather throws at them.’’

For more information, visit eu.aquatrols.com


By Alistair May 11, 2022 09:16

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