Turf management – heat strategies

With more high temperatures forecast this week what strategies can you implement to get through these periods before the temperatures begin to drop and we move into Fuz territory?

Last week I referred to how cool July had been and i’ve also spent the last 2 months talking about how there has been a lack of stressful conditions in Yorkshire. See Unlock and play blogs……

In a blog I referred to this tweet that showed that July had not (at the time of writing) given us a particularly hot day but there was still a worrying trend. As it turns out before we’d finished the month and posted the blog the weather had delivered a 37.8 degree day and continued to add to that worrying trend.

So I’ve taken a little time to see how these trends look in a few areas in the UK. I’ve taken the warmest day of the month (July and August) since 1984 and plotted them on a graph. It shows a worrying trendline (plotted in red) during July of increasing temperatures but equally August shows the opposite.

This feels representative of the challenges we face managing turf in the UK now. Periods of high stress which is increasing during July but August seems to be throwing increased Microdochium pressure at us.

Monthly Max temps

The UK is a fairly small area but the above charts show the variance we see in our climate. Some areas are sitting in prolonged drought whilst others are moving into Fuz weather already. Getting through these periods of stress is critical to going into the next period with healthy turf.

Strategies to get through the stressful hot days

Go in healthy – Stressed turf will always struggle more during these periods

Lift cutting heights or lose a cut – A slightly increased cutting height will make a big difference. I’m not a huge fan of replacing cuts with rolls in these conditions but it’s a useful option.

Keep moisture levels at their optimum – Overwatered wet greens can struggle in the heat as much as turf that is too dry. Commiting labour (where available) to ensure turf sits in that safe moisture zone – remember it’s likely that we’ll see some suitable conditions for Fuz soon so the last thing we want to do is go into that period saturated. Commitment to good watering practices and a high quality wetting agent such as Qualibra will really help through these periods.

Ryder – Periods of high heat are generally coupled with periods of high light. This additional stress can be countered by using a Pigment to reduce the harmful damage that can be caused by UV light. During these periods Ryder at 1l/Ha will really help.

Whilst your short term objective must be coming through these periods, having an eye on what’s coming down the line is equally important.

The below monthly summary that @neilkaye puts together is brilliant for summarising recent conditions.

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