Lockdown Trial – The Lowdown – Week 4

OK, you all know the score, we all need to stay alert unless you’re in Scotland or Wales, in which case you need to stay at home. I’m allowed out as long as I’m alert but only if I have to be, unless I’m exercising, when I could be out all day as long as I only meet one person that I know, unless they are having a picnic, I think.

But the good news is golfers can begin to golf again and the work you do is used for its intended purpose – and with that our Lockdown trial begins to take some new twists.

It’s already generated some really good data and indications for future reference. And as we adapt to replicate what’s going on in the real world, the challenge for us in this trial is now about how do we do begin to increase the cutting regime across the plots and lower cutting heights, whilst still pulling some valid data out of it.

Not something for you to worry about – I’ll update you on what we decide next week, but I can assure you it’ll look pretty strange as we’re dealing with 4 different types of treatment in 3 different cutting regimes!

The stand out messages for me still –

  • The less maintenance the healthier the turf
  • However, less maintenance has affected playability
  • The more Primo Maxx, the more suppression

The data

GDD expressed in blue as daily amount and accumulated total in red

A few things to note here:

Treatments

  • The 7 day interval plots have now had 4 applications at 0.4l/Ha
  • 50 GDD interval programme have had 2 applications at 0.4l/Ha
  • 100 GDD interval programme have had 1 application at 0.4l/Ha
  • We’ve had some rainfall
  • We’ve had a 4 day period during which the GDD data shows we moved into some good growing conditions.
  • Last weeks fertiliser application has kicked in
  • We had a 3 day weekend – Whats that got to do with it?? Read on and find out………

Sward height

How has the above impacted things? The last cut was on the Thursday prior to Bank holiday. This opens the door to some interesting figures that we wouldn’t normally see. Between the 7th May and 11th May we saw an un-mown growth spurt, which enabled us to measure the differences in the height of the sward and we saw a difference of 2.7mm!

There were 2 strong influencing factors here, so I’ve broken the same data into two graphs.

Sward height in mm

The above graph but shows the height of the sward in mm for the different application intervals, If you average out the data on the treatments you can see it is clear that the more Primo Maxx applied (effectively layering product on top itself due to application timings) the more suppression.

The next graph is the same data averaged for the cutting regime.

Sward height in mm

You can see here that the more regular the cutting the the lower amount of regrowth we had – despite the same interval between the assessments. This is likely to be a reflection of plant health rather than anything else at the moment.

The full graph shows the full range of data, but in summary

  • Most regrowth comes from least mowing + no Primo
  • Least regrowth comes from most mowing + most Primo

For those of you that love a graph – I’ve added the full one at the bottom – good luck……

Evenness of cut

This regrowth in turn had a knock on effect on the evenness of cut ratings. Once again I’m surprised at how quickly the advantages that we gained were lost. Still the Primo application plots had improved evenness of cut.

Clipping yields

Clipping yields are only taken from the one cut per week plot and usually measured on a Friday (but this one was done on a Thursday). So this set of data has only six days clippings compared to a usual seven. It’s also from quite a slow growth period (check the above GDD chart). The level of suppression remains strong and whilst there is a difference between the 3 types of Primo Maxx intervals, it’s making me question the value of more regular intervals if you’re on a regular cutting regime? It’ll be interesting see if we sustain the suppression in the 100 GDD application intervals in next weeks data?

Conclusions?

My thoughts:

  • Less maintenance = healthier turf?
  • Does perceived ‘healthy’ turf make for a good playing surface? – quite possibly not!
  • More regular Primo apps = more suppression – but is the extra worth the additional labour of extra spray applications?
  • Benefit of additional mowing is very short lived and lost after 2 days of no mowing

Looking forward to seeing if the at the back end of the 100 GDD application we continue to sustain the level of suppression.

The graph for those that have read all the way to the end and would like to examine the differences between sward heights over a 4 day period?

Stay Safe

Tune in next week for the next set of results! Or subscribe on the link below. It’s easier that way.

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