Warm Summer Weather Calls For Effective Plant Maintenance
Posted in General by Curtis Williams
BY DALE MILLER, AMERITURF CORPORATE AGRONOMIST:
Well, looks like early summer is finally in full swing, with lower rain fall, higher temps, some with high humidity, some with low, but overall, the weather should be a bit more consistent for a few months.
What a winter and spring we had – a few very cold snaps, generally warm stuff in between and some decent moisture for some and not much at all for the guys in the east.
There are some key and consistent things that work well and are very important to understand about grasses going into June, July and August.
The summer solstice will be the breaking point in total day length. After June 20, the days get shorter and shorter into fall.
The plant in the spring is and will always be a leaf making machine. Leaf is required for higher photosynthesis as that is what captures sunlight.
Higher photosynthesis is required for more growth and building up to the maintenance phase of the plant in the summer.
Once the solstice passes the plant moves slowly into a storage phase as nothing happens quickly in general with the plant, it will start the phase of preparing itself for winter.
With a little more time until then, we have the opportunity to help the plant establish, improve density and improve surfaces before going into the keep it there, maintenance phase.
Cultural programs should be wrapping up, as you start going into the maintenance phase of summer, as you are only promoting new growth with aggressive programs once in that phase. New growth means robbing the plant of reserves. Common sense agronomy will tell you that in maintenance phase, increasing or pushing growth is an undesirable practice.
Let’s get those cultural programs wrapped up and the plant fully recovered by full summer, which is generally around early July.
For recovery from cultural programs, there is no better product in the industry that Rx OxyCal. At 5-10lb/ac rates along with a solid weekly fertility program, there will be no need to add additional fertility just for recovery and far beyond what the plant really needs.
AmeriTurf has great fertility programs from Green Industries, Redox and Performance Nutrition. Don’t hesitate to give me a call or discuss with your salesman and we will fix you up with the best in the industry, hopefully based on soil/water samples but if not, we will figure it out.
For the granular guys, use of Protene 6-5-6 at 250lb/ac just prior to aerification events will be excellent. The Myco added version will give even better results in low CEC, sand-based greens. Another option being NutriSmart (granular carbon) from Performance or Granular Humic Acid from Protene. These are all excellent options at getting a higher load of carbon down during cultural periods.
As always, this is a great time to use Protene 0-0-7 as it includes an excellent Potassium base, plus Turf Gyp+ and a nice micronutrient package – all carbon based. Use of Turf Gyp+ on its own will also be excellent for getting in beneficial Calcium with a bit of Sulfate where required in the most available and beneficial Gypsum format in the business.
Remember as always, even in periods of time when you want to grow more grass, excessively high rates of Nitrogen are not going to be beneficial. Nitrogen should be managed consistently, even during push periods. Excess Nitrogen is never good as it creates imbalanced nutrition relative to other important nutrients and increases disease incidence as well as weakens the plant, fattens leaves, reduces root mass and decreases wear resistance. Need I say more……
When using a good carbon based nutrient program, you not only increase the efficiency of Nitrogen, you improve highly beneficial microbial activity and solubility, availability as well as retention of nutrition in usable forms.
I can’t stress the benefits of Carbon nutrition during the growing season enough. The consistent benefits include but are not limited to, disease suppression, salt management, nutrition/moisture support, soil structural support as well as microbial food source and nutrition release benefits.
Let’s get the plant fully established and ready for the storage, hardening off stages to come.
Where proper plant nutrition is emphasized and employed, all other aspects take a second seat as the plant is quite capable of taking care of itself when we feed it properly and manage the system around it.