February Maintenance

General Maintenance

During February the following activities are usually undertaken:

  • Drag brushing when dew is present
  • Clean out the ditches and repair surrounds
  • Tip the grass with the mower if it grows above 12mm (1/2 inch)
  • Aerate, when possible and conditions allow

Prepare the surfaces for renovation by mowing the sward. Soil and air temperatures will influence grass growth, so once temperatures rise above 8 degrees centigrade, grass growth will be stimulated. Aim to maintain sward between 8 and 12 mm.

Soil temperatures will begin to rise towards the end of February, enabling the grass to make use of any fertilisers.

To initiate movement of soluble solutions from the soil the grass’ transpiration and respiration rates need to be active.

A soil analysis would be useful to ensure you’re applying the correct amount and balance of fertilisers for your turf - based on the results, an appropriate program can be initiated for your facility.

Agronomy

The extreme water-logging is causing some problems, however if you managed to undertake a decent renovation at the end of last year, the mild temperatures have been kind and this will have grown well.

The Annual Meadow-grass is typically dragging its heels at this time of the year and you will notice a disparity between the perennial species, i.e. Bent and Fescue and the ephemeral opportunist which is Annual Meadow-grass.

You may find high levels of moss, with a moist surface and low light levels being a contributing factor. Lateral compaction means that the water is unable to percolate away from the hole, so aerating when ground conditions are unsuitable will lead to smearing the sides of the hole.

Black layer and toadrush are also a problem as anaerobic conditions continue to prevail.

Aearate as much as the conditions allow, and critically not before!

Provide some much needed TLC and fertiliser to help the turf recover as conditions improve. Be vigilant for Microdochium Patch and treat at the very first symptoms. Using biostimulants such as SeaAction Liquid Seaweed and BioMass sugar helps the soil food web recover.

Particle Size Distribution (PSD). Now is a great time to take soil samples, giving you plenty of time to get them sent off for analysis and get them back in time to start the new years maintenance. If you have not had one before, you should look at having a full Particle Size Distribution soil analysis, which gives insight into the actual make up of your soil.

The PSD analysis will identify the ratio of Clay, Slit and Sand in your soil, giving you a better understanding of what you’re dealing with.

Soil pH. You can also establish the amount of organic matter content, soil nutrient status and soil pH, which is how you identify your soil. These tests also allow you to check aerobic state of soil, levels of compaction and root depth.

A wetting agent is a substance that reduces the surface tension of liquid, allowing liquid to spread or penetrate with greater ease. These can be applied on a monthly basis.

N:P:K: Having a balance of N P K nutrients within the soil profile is essential for healthy plant growth.

Weeds, Pests & Diseases

You can aid the playing surface in staying clean and removing dew/surface water by brushing or switching, this will aid in resistance to disease.

The typical types of diseases you may come across are:

  • Anthracnose
  • Fusarium Patch
  • Red Thread
  • Fairy Rings

With the grass soon beginning to grow any scars from outbreaks and fungicides will grow out.

Machinery & Materials

Maintaining machinery with regular servicing and repairs is hugely important.

Remember to check the condition of your machinery, and plan to get it repaired/serviced during the winter months.

  • It is well worth investing a winter service for servicing and sharpen mowers ready for the new season.
  • Keep machines overhauled and clean.
  • Organise an inspection, re-commissioning and calibration of the system in late February. Inspect and repair any watering or irrigation systems; many bowling clubs now have pop-up irrigation systems, so ensure they have been drained down for winter... 
 
 
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