Ensure Plant Recovery Before, During and After Cultural Programs

19 Jul 2017

Posted in General by Curtis Williams

By DALE MILLER, AmeriTurf Agronomist

It’s that time of year when a lot of courses are a bit slower play wise and much needed cultural programs are being scheduled and done.

That being said, timing is only optimal in that the play is down and this is a time when cultural programs are more acceptable than the spring or fall, when it is agronomically appropriate.

As is always the case, cultural programs like aerification, verticutting, topdressing can cause short term stress for the plant. There is no question of the benefits to follow but there is also no question that the event itself is quite stressful to the plant.

Throw in 90 degree plus temperatures and low rainfall and you have a recipe for trouble if not careful in your planning and managing the grass during the cultural event itself.

Clearly, proper moisture is critical. With devices like the POGO, there is a tool that will accurately monitor moisture and help manage that aspect during the recovery period following cultural events. Moisture should be maintained slightly higher following the event until full recovery. All plants function best in optimal moisture, especially following a stressful event and in recovery mode. The POGO is unsurpassed and lab quality in its ability to read EC, temperature and report Salinity Index. During this period, moisture, temperature, EC and Salinity Index are critical areas to monitor to have the greatest chance for success.

Even less invasive practices like grooming, verticutting, topdressing, spiking, etc. are all stressful to the plant initially and during the high heat, high sun impact period of the year, and it is critical to manage that stress.

During this period of the year and following the cultural events to take place, AmeriTurf suggests a very capable array of products to complement the management required to fully recover the plant and take advantage of the event performed.

Use of Turf Screen during the high heat, high sun impact period is excellent for reducing damaging sun rays. It is not well known, but like sun screen for human protection from bad rays, the plant benefits significantly and performs at a much higher level when negative rays are prevented. There is significant university studies on this, as well as field trials. All show tremendous benefits.

Proper wetting agents for penetration purposes, and as needed, moisture holding are also very beneficial during hot months and during cultural program recovery periods. Wetting agents like MultiPath, NutriPath include carboxylic and Fulvic acids for further benefits of carbon, complexing/chelation, salt management and microbial stimulation. Cycle also provides these benefits and that of moisture holding where needed.

PeneCal is excellent at penetration and adding in critical available calcium for pore space management and improving root mass. Primer, Dispatch and Revolution also provide benefits beyond simple wetting, with 16/90 giving longer response performance.

Salt management with products like NutriPath, SaltEx and Exalt will be very beneficial for flushing events and keeping salts under control.

For pre-event preparation, products like NutriSmart B, Protene granular Humic Acid, Protene 6-5-6, Turf Gyp+, and Protene 0-0-7 will be excellent at firing up the microbes and preparing the plant for the event without excess soluble nitrogen and fertility. Making the plant puffy and weak is not a good practice going into cultural events nor is the following puffiness and scalping from excess inputs, as both slow recovery and are not beneficial.

For post event support and improvement, speeding recovery, products like OxyCal and Agra-Rouse are unsurpassed in bringing the plant out of stress and speeding recovery.

These products and programs teamed with a solid, specific, well designed nutritional program will assure the best recovery possible and the best conditions consistently before, during and after cultural events, even when done at a less than optimal time of year.

Call your agronomist or AmeriTurf sales rep to discuss and give these a try. You will be pleasantly surprised as will your Pro, GM and players.