Heat management strategies for turf

It feels too soon to be talking about managing heat stress but here we are after a crazy cold Spring and we're now seeing consecutive days of high temperatures.

To get a feel for how unusual this is I've pulled some data together from Yorkshire (the home of Henry from ICL) and the south coast where I am to assess the agronomic odds of seeing prolonged periods of heat in June.

Data from 2008 to 2020 in the above graph shows how many consecutive days we both saw above 22C. A couple of interesting points:

  • South Coast is showing consistently more sustained periods of high temperatures in June
  • A worrying trend for this to be increasing for both of us.

Looking at this kind of data we can begin to establish the chances of these periods of potential heat stress on the turf.

Using this kind of information we can begin to see why these strategies are becoming so important in some areas of the country.

I've pulled together all of the blogs I've written about heat and temperature stress and dropped them at the bottom as a quick and easy reference guide but to summarise - here's my thoughts on:

Strategies to get through the stressful hot days

  1. Go in healthy – Stressed turf will always struggle more during these periods
  2. Ensure moisture is within your optimum range (not too wet or too dry)
  3. If you can skip cuts to reduce stress do so
  4. Avoid stressful operations like verti-cutting, topdressing and dragging
  5. Be aware of Anthracnose (have a plan – now is a critical period)
  6. Ensure you’re in the correct nutrition zone (noting these hot humid spells can quickly end in thunderstorms and a flush of N)
  7. Allocate as much labour to hand watering as possible – remember though little and regular is the key – the aim isn’t to overly wet turf but to simply to cool them down and keep them in the right moisture range
  8. Try to undertake any work on surfaces before the light levels reach stressful levels (mid morning)
  9. Use Ryder to help manage the light stress imparted on your turf
  10. Utilise Amino Acids (HiCure) to help the plant in these periods when it can't produce enough of it's own Aminos to cope with the stresses

Whilst your short term objective must be coming through these periods, having an eye on what’s coming down the line is equally important.


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