There are reports of games being played when the surface was not able to cope, which has unfortunately left them unplayable for the following month.
If you find this is the case, try to stay of the pitch until it’s dry enough to run a dragmat or chain harrow it over to restore levels; spiking could also help.
Aim to achieve the best surface possible as the season reaches it’s climax, as many of you will be hosting important games such as promotion and relegation battles, cup games or even corporate requirements. Given the winter we’ve had it won’t be easy, but presentation will go a long way.
Regular brushing will help to prevent disease outbreaks and also stand the grass up.
Prior to applying any plant protection products always ensure that any disease is correctly identified.
Maintain a height of cut between 24-30mm.
Before the match
Now is a good time to take soil samples, ideally a full Particle Size Distribution (PSD), which will tell you what your soil profile is made up of.
A PSD will analysis the percentages of clay, slit and sand of your soil, giving you a better understanding of what soil you are dealing with and can establish the amount of organic matter (OM) content, soil nutrients and soil pH.
There is an optimum for each plant nutrient, when couple with other properties such as soil structure and particle sizes, determine how vigorous your plants are.
An early fertiliser can be used now, which will provide for good grass recovery and help with young grass seedlings; something like a 9-7-7 would be ideal, but your soil analysis should help you make this decision.
Later in the month you can apply a slow release fertiliser, to take the grass through May/June.
Weeds, Pests & Diseases
Ensure when you spray your weed treatment programme it doesn’t damage emergent grasses in newly sown areas.
You will need to delay your renovations for up to six weeks if you priority is to spray treat your weeds prior to renovation; you can always check the label for advice. Similarly, if your priority is to complete the renovation first you will need to ensure that newly sown grass is well established before applying.
Preventing is always better than curing, so keep an eye out for fungal diseases. Early morning dew can often contribute to this, so regular brushing will aid in preventing it.
Keep the leaf blade dry, to avoid leaf spot which can be quite damaging, and apply approved fungicide to stop further outbreaks.
Red Thread can developed any time of the year and develop on most turfgrasses, this diseases is often an indicator of low fertility.
Usually a dose of fertiliser will help control outbreak of Red Thread, however if that isn’t the case many fungicides currently available have shown to be effective against turf disease. Always ensure that the disease is correctly identified prior to the application of any plant protection product.