We all know how important water is to turf, I’m sure irrigation systems around the country are now in full swing.
I wrote a few weeks back about the potential for a Spring dry down after a prolonged wet and miserable winter. And sure enough that’s exactly whats happened. The above graph shows how this is a fairly regular pattern and has occurred in 3 of the last 5 years here in the south of the UK.
I’ve recently put together a series of Primo Maxx II articles and did a webinar for Bigga yesterday on the same subject – one of the questions that has come through to me was “Is there value of Primo in drought?”
Well yes – but it’s part of a programmed and planned aproach.
In general, plants are comprised of 75 to 90 percent water, but only a small amount of that is used for metabolic processes, around 3%. The rest is used in the transpirational process. Despite our seemingly high and prolonged periods rainfall in the UK, managing moisture stress is key part of our management program throughout the Spring and Summer.
When the plant is losing more moisture than it can take up you will see wilting of the plant which is generally seen as a “silvering” of the leaf after it’s walked on. Key point here – the plant is losing more than it can take up that doesn’t necessarily mean the soil is dry.
Plants have processes to cope with this, they can reduce transpiration through early stomatal closure, use leaf rolling, they have hairs on the leaf blade that reduce evaporation from the leaf surface, and develop a thicker cuticle layer.
The immediate things we have control of are limited, in the short term the simple solution is adding more water (which sounds simpler than it sometimes is – particularly at the moment) but there are a few ways we can influence the plant and its environment to help.
- Reduce the rate the plant loses water
- Increase the plants capacity to take on more water
- Reduce the external stresses on the plant to reduce Transpiration rate and delay wilting
- Improve the soils ability to hold moisture (or rehydrate once dry)
Primo has the potential to lower water use by reduction of cell elongation which in turn will produce a short compact turf with a reduced evapotranspiration (ET) rate and increased chlorophyll content. Primo has been proven to reduced ET rates in both warm and cool season turfgrasses.
It’s worth keeping an eye on your application timings though. Primo longevity is highly related to temperature rather than a calendar, if applications are spread too wide a rebound effect can be seen which could lead to unwanted growth which isn’t helpful to drought stressed turf. Good timings of applications based on GDD is key to getting the best out of your Primo application.
We have worked really hard to develop a range of products to help the customer during these dryer periods. Primo can help the improve the way the plant controls its water use, Qualibra will aid moisture availability in the soil and Ryder never fails to surprise me with it’s ability to keep the plant healthy during periods of stress and in turn delay the onset of increased transpiration.
Happy watering 😊