London, England: A surge in summer temperatures, and several months of below average rainfall for many areas, has put the focus on water management for sports turf surfaces. Whenever there is a dry spell, media attention spotlights water use on golf courses and sports turf.
Asian Golf Industry Federation Executive Member Syngenta believes improving turf plant rooting and using an effective wetting agent and water conservation programme could still help make best use of the available resources and maintain improved playing surface quality this season.
Daniel Lightfoot, the company’s Business Manager, highlighted that the United Kingdom’s cool season grasses suffer when temperatures exceed 28°C, which was experienced repeatedly on greens surfaces in June and July.
“Root mass can seriously decline in hot weather, since plants cannot generate sufficient energy to maintain vegetative growth and draw upon root carbohydrate reserves,” he said.
“Furthermore, if there is insufficient soil moisture in the root zone, the root hairs desiccate and die back.”
Lightfoot advocates a two-pronged approach of Primo Maxx to regulate turf growth and Qualibra to manage soil moisture, as part of an integrated approach to improve water resource utilisation and enhance turf health.
“Research has shown that Primo Maxx reduces growth by up to 40% and enhances photo-synthetic activity of the plant with a greater concentration of chlorophyll in the leaf. That reduces the draw on the root mass, and keeps the turf looking green and healthy for longer over the summer,” he said.
“Furthermore, retaining a greater root mass makes the plants better able to take up and utilise available water and nutrients. And that’s where Qualibra can prove so beneficial in periods of dry weather.”
The use of Qualibra could also facilitate a move to more efficient irrigation scheduling – to water less frequently but deliver more water with each application. The rapid movement of water avoids issues of surface softness, whilst the alleviation of Dry Patch symptoms can improve the consistency of playing surfaces.
Lightfoot highlighted that Primo Maxx and Qualibra should be used as part of a smart integrated approach to managing water resources and maintaining turf health. “Moisture meters and soil water deficit calculators, for example, will help to ensure irrigation scheduling can be targeted more precisely to specific conditions,” he advised. “Furthermore, practical measures such as raising the height of cut where practical, or hand watering certain areas, can help to counter the changing climatic conditions.”
Turf-specific five-day weather forecasts, including soil temperatures, could also better help greenkeepers and sports turf managers adapt strategies and make best use of available water.