Soil Temperatures for Fairy Ring – Cricket edition

I caught up with a whole selection of the County Cricket groundsman last week to talk about Fairy ring and it’s management.

There are a few critical things with fairy ring:

Manage your expectations

The green rings you see are likely to be last years activity -short term positive results are more likely to be masking of symptoms than control. This is a long term game and success will not be achieved overnight.

Target the right area

Fairy rings are the result of many different types of fungal pathogen and can manifest themselves differently depending on the many variables that can be found in the soil. Knowing what depth the fungal activity is (test by removing a core and doing a water droplet test or incubating in a bag) can help target the fungicide to the right area using correct amount of water after applying, wetting agents (if necessary) and aeration.

Temperature and intervals

Optimum temperature to get the best out of a fungicide application is soil temps of 12.5C to 15C. Fairy ring is a challenging soil borne pathogen so intervals of around 14 days between treatments improves your chances.

When then?

I pulled some soil temp data out from our database for a number of County Cricket clubs to see when would be optimum. Surprisingly the variability was very small (except Durham – where you lagged a long way behind!) but when I look at a map I can see I have been a bit Southern biased!

Optimum for most of these areas of the country are Mid April to Late May with Durham lagging behind not reaching those temps until Late May.

The guys I was talking to rightly pointed out that targeting fungicides with appropriate watering schedules, wetting agents and aeration are very difficult operations to undertake during that period of the year.

Alternative Strategy

So let’s look at the back end of the year, Knowing this is a long term strategy and we’re trying to make positive inroads on an annual basis – should we look at the end of the season when there is a bit more freedom? Durham is still limited to a shorter window but the rest of the venues I looked at have a wider range to go at.

Key points:

  • Know your soil temperatures
  • Know your target depth
  • Match depth to watering in and aeration
  • Free yourself from normal restrictions to get the best out of a fungicide application
  • Remember – an application Late on in 2021 will posibly show results in 2022 but more likely 2023 season!

Just like cricket – It’s a long game but worth the commitment.

I have written about Fairy Rings and the specific issues with cricket pitches here.

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