In the Northern Hemisphere, the astronomical spring equinox (between 19 and 21 March) can be taken to mark the first day of spring. Meteorologically, it is usually expected at the beginning of March.
In March, the zenith of the sun moves from south to north, causing temperatures to rise and days to get longer in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, temperatures rise again in September.
During a recent poll on social media, we could see that a slow spring start is one of the most common problems turf managers face in spring.
On LinkedIn, 56% indicated slow spring start to be the biggest problem, followed by Fusarium damage with 28%. On Facebook, even 85% of those participating in the poll saw slow spring start to be the biggest turf problem.
Those two problems are interconnected, since the need for a speedy regeneration is more urgent after a lot of Fusarium damage during winter. The goal is to have an even putting surface as early as possible in the season, and many of your golfer customers also appreciate a healthy turf colour.
Patience is in place in spring to avoid any mechanical damage to the sward before desirable grass species begin to grow actively. The mostly unwanted Poa annua starts to grow at low soil temperatures down to 5 °C and invades blank soil surfaces. Disruptive mechanical work like aerification, verticutting and overseeding must wait until soil temperatures have risen to around 16 °C and desired species like Agrostis and Festuca can compete for space, fill in the gaps and make a dense sward.
How can we quickly repair winter damage and utilise the rising soil temperatures to stimulate soil life in turf rootzones?
Very early in spring, everything that gives a darker colour can help to warm up the surfaces and thaw any remaining snow.
TourTurf® HCG – Humic Acid Carbon Granules is very dark and absorbs sunlight effectively.
TourTurf® GTP Green Turf Paint can be added to any liquid fertiliser, it darkens the leaves and helps in warming up turf.
In Nordic countries with the danger of ice formation and snow, growth covers can speed up spring recovery significantly.
The ICE BREAKER project in Scandinavia has documented very positive results.
At low soil temperatures, the mineralisation of organically bound nutrients is still limited.
To stimulate speedy growth, for example when winter damage needs to be regenerated quickly, it is worth applying foliar fertilisers with a combination of TourTurf® IDC Infill Defence Concept for rapid regeneration, TourTurf® TFC Turf Food Concentrate + LPT and TourTurf® BAP Bacteria Activo Plus to supply all the necessary amino acids for rapid regeneration.
TourTurf® OXT Oxygen Turf contains nitrogen for immediate use. It should be added to a tank mix as the last product. It can be used as a stand-alone product if you need to kick-start growth extremely early in the season. Under wet conditions, the plants will benefit from the chemically bound oxygen as well.
A proven liquid mix that you can adjust to your specific needs and spray every two weeks during spring is:
TourTurf® Early Spring, a mineral granular starter fertiliser, enriched with an organic humic acid product, supplies nitrogen and potassium quickly for early regeneration.
It contains three different forms of nitrogen, two of them are immediately available for the plant.
As soon as the soil temperature rises, the microorganisms in the soil become increasingly active. TourTurf® MPT Mycorrhizae Plant & Turf Activator was developed to optimally support and promote microbial activity. High-quality mycorrhizal strains and bacterial cultures inoculate the soil with beneficial soil life to convert nutrients, optimise the water balance and strengthen the turf plants against harmful fungi.
We wish all a successful start to the season!