Why a turf action plan is so important

By Alistair April 26, 2019 08:13 Updated

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 36-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 in the industry, 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.

Last year saw 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 manger 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, however, trials have shown that low rate applications of Fifty90 have also proven to significantly increase water penetration times and therefore retain playability of sports surfaces in extremely 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. Recently launched Attain containing AquaVita Technology (which is also contained in Zipline) has been proven in independent trials to improve a number of aspects of turf health and performance. Unlike traditional biostimulants, this biocatalyst technology is not compromised by soil temperature or chemistry issues therefore helping as part of a turf action plan to mitigate the weather.

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 uk.aquatrols.com


By Alistair April 26, 2019 08:13 Updated

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