Turf Management during a heatwave

Once again sure signs, climatic change is upon us, record temperatures threatened this week with forecasts showing mid to high 30’s.

When the air temperature is high we often overlook canopy temperatures during these periods and how much higher they can get than the air temperatures.

The Greencast weather tool does a pretty accurate job of forecasting these and for sustained period this week we may well experience canopy temperatures around 38 degrees.

Extreme temperatures that are too high to sustain healthy growth are still fairly unusual (for now) but this one of those periods where we will see growth stunted and additional stress imparted. This is coupled with long days and high likelihood of high levels of light. This means you have two stresses being imparted on the turf that you have very little control of.

The below chart shows light levels for this 5 day period over the last 5 years. Stress from high levels of light is pretty much guaranteed at this time of year.

The MetOffice are issuing heatwave warnings – What can you do to help your turf through these periods?

  1. Ensure moisture is within your optimum range (not too wet or too dry)
  2. If you can skip cuts to reduce stress do so
  3. Avoid stressful operations like verti-cutting, topdressing and dragging
  4. Beware Anthracnose (have a plan – now is a critical period)
  5. Ensure you’re in the correct nutrition zone (noting these hot humid spells can quickly end in thunderstorms and a flush of N)
  6. Allocate as much labour to hand watering as possible – remember though little and regular is the key – the aim isn’t to overly wet turf but to simple cool them down
  7. Try to undertake any work on surfaces before the light levels reach stressful levels (mid morning)
  8. Use Ryder to help manage the light stress imparted on your turf

Leave a Reply