General Maintenance Tips
Many football and rugby clubs will be on final pitch preparations by now and as air temperatures continue to be high, during August, it is important to keep the grass plant well-watered and you should continue with mowing of the sward at least twice a week; or more if you have the resources. Cylinder mowers will provide you with the best results as well as cutting in a different direction each time.
You should continue brushing to keep the air circulating around the base of the plant, removing early morning dew and controlling disease and mowing should be at regular intervals, at least twice a week, at your preferred cutting height to ensure you maintain a good sward density.
As well as Verticutting, to clean out lateral growth and aid air circulation, continue spiking when the conditions are right - alternating between surface and deep with occasional slitting.
Linemarking tip: “measure twice: mark once” and make sure you have enough linemarking material for the season ahead.
A slow release fertiliser can be applied through August, applying a summer N P K fertiliser - perhaps a 12:0:9 or 9:7:7. Avoid the use of fertilisers with a high salt content, as this draws moisture from the plant. You could consider seaweed or amino bio stimulants applications which have proved beneficial in helping grass through stressful periods.
If you are unable to provide irrigation to the whole pitch during drought periods, then try at least to give the goalmouth and centre circle areas watering on football pitches.
To apply another Organic fertiliser application in August is a good time to do i ; as with a two month longevity, it will take you through to October, which is the perfect time for an autumn winter feed.
With the risk of severe drought stress largely passed, August tends to produce substantial rain fall. However, moisture combined with warmth and humidity places stress on the plant from a number of other directions and Aeration is vital to keep the soil oxygen ratio balanced. 8mm needle or 12mm standard tines down to a depth of 200-300mm with a vertical aerator will be particularly beneficial in allowing the soil to breath.
Using polymer and penetrant wetting agents will also help to manage soil water percolation and retention effectively by moving rain fall away from the surface and holding it further down in the profile where it will be available during any hotter and sunny spells.
Weeds, pests and disease
Red Thread has been particularly prevalent on outfield turf. Red Thread is an ill-defined bleached grass with Pink mycelium visible in early morning dew. On close inspection it will reveal red needle like structures which are attached to the leaf blades. The needles become brittle when dead and are easily detached allowing the spread of the disease.
Outbreaks can be controlled by systemic curatives and protective fungicides such as Chlorothalonil and Iprodione.
Symptoms of Fusarium (Microdochium nival), the most common and damaging disease, are orange/brown patches 2.5-5cm across increasing in size under suitable conditions as the disease progresses. They have a distinctive 'ginger' appearance when active and viewed early in the morning, with white mycelium, like cotton wool, in the centre and towards the outer edge of the patch.
Worms can also be very active, in August, and controlling treatments can be applied such as Carbendazim.