January’s Turf FAQ’s

As we head towards the end of the first month of 2021 – what has been the centre of this months conversations? Here are your frequently asked questions.

Weather!

I try and avoid weather if I can as Mr Hunt does a much better job blogging about weather than I ever could Link here….. However January is generally the time we find out how the previous year sat in the Global warming trends.

There are many reports out there but “The Berkeley Earth report” I find to be the simplest to understand and is well worth a read find it here…….

But to summarise 2020 was the second warmest year on record (2016 was the warmest) with the last 6 years all being the warmest in history.

Map shows how local temperatures in 2020 have increased relative to the average temperature in 1951-1980. Link to source…

The temperature increase is manifesting itself differently across the globe and the above image shows how the UK climate, whilst not the biggest increase is certainly on the move.

This is problematic news for several of the challenges we face – Anthracnose with increased heat, Fuz with longer Autumns and LeatherJackets with prolonged periods to feed.

LeatherJackets

Although we have now gone into a cold spell I’m still getting reports on feeding and damage having commenced already. I threw together an online survey a couple of weeks back to support a Course manager who’s committee clearly underestimated the scale of the challenge. The support was overwhelming with over 420 responses. Take a look at the latest version here – you can log your position too to add to the data.

Only 1% of respondents reported no damage and 11% reported significant loss of turf. When I pulled the data apart there was a very clear trend towards the warmer areas of the country too Blog on temperatures and LJ’s here…….

But what to do about it????

We continue to work on a full registration for Acelepryn and are investing heavily in trial work to ensure we get the best out of it. However we need to learn our lessons from the Chlorpyrifos loss – we cannot continue to build our ITM strategies around one product. It’s just to risky.

So start by monitoring the leatherjacket numbers you have – heres a blog on how to do it ……. for me this is the building block for all of the “what shall I do questions” if you undertake population counts and you’re finding hundreds the management approach will be very different to if you only find one or two.

Don’t forget they move so make sure you monitor what’s going on around your greens too.

I talk a bit about how important understanding population levels is to your decision making process……..

Cold / Warm / Cold – What fungicide to use???

As we drifted in and out of cold temperatures during January I had a few calls asking for Fungicide advice.

Pretty simple this one:

During the periods of low growth with little to no disease activity go with Medallion.

If your actively growing and / or your seeing some disease activity then use Instrata Elite.

The objective should always be to stay clean up until and through that Christmas period (easier said than done – but those who started early are now reaping the rewards) Once you’re into January the chances of fresh disease appearing are slim but old scars will certainly flair up at any opportunity. Your January / February strategy is heavily dependent on how well you’ve come through the November / December period of the previous year.

If you’re clean you should have pretty easy ride from here on in, if not then this period of the years gets tricky.

Aeration on Frozen ground

Now – I’m no agronomist so take my opinion for what it is.

I often think Winter aeration is overrated and question the value in it. How ever I get the pressures – No golf, often too wet, etc so I understand why people would try it.

I personally have seen very little long term damage to *“well managed play” on frozen turf and have seen several positives to membership morale and the bottom line.

*Note the disclaimer! maybe I’ll do a blog on that one one day

However Aeration on frozen turf feels a step too far for me to be comfortable. The gains feel insignificant compared to the potential losses – but I’d be happy to be wrong on this one as I do like a bit of innovation.

However here’s what I’d be doing – set up a trial a chipping green or an area that isn’t too high profile and undertake this practice on half of it. Commit to it all winter and then you can review the gains v the losses the following season knowing which half you’ve done it on.

Then you’re in a really strong position to decide if it’s a worthwhile practice for the future. All assuming we ever see frozen ground again which brings me back nicely to where I started.

Stay positive, have a great February and if you want a chat – give me a shout

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