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Pitch Tips: February 2017

For most European countries, February is traditionally a cold month with the risk of a lot of wind and precipitation. However in the pacific, you're entering the hottest part of the year and without a doubt a very stressful time for the pitch, whether it be bermudagrass or oversown with Ryegrass. In this month's Pitch Tips, we'd like to give some pointers for both situations.

Southern Hemisphere

Temperatures can exceed 40 °C (104 °F) regularly, often with little respite through the night. With correct maintenance leading into summer your roots should now be strong and deep which will assist with the turf surviving extreme heat. The Grass Cooling System can help you cool down the playing surface and reduce summer stress. This will also help reducing the risk of diseases such as Gray Leaf Spot.

Disease management
Since a hot and humid environment are ideal circumstances for turfgrass diseases, moisture management will also be the key during this period. Deep and infrequent irrigation should take place in the early hours of the morning to avoid long periods of “leaf wet” hours. If you have an SGL Analyser, check the leaf wet values of your playing surface on the SGL Portal. Keeping the surface dry will assist with disease management. 

Reduce machine use
Reducing all unnecessary wear on the pitch should be a focus. Mowing and other machine use should be completed in the cooler hours, ideally in the morning before the heat of the day.

While the SGL rigs are most probably not in use, summer time is the ideal time to prepare for the upcoming season with rig maintenance.

Northern Hemisphere

Low temperatures, wind and rain can be challenging in February. When a lot of rain is forecast, make sure the pitch is aerated to counteract any heavy rainfall. If strong wind is forecast, make sure all lights are secure on the pitch by using the wheel blocks. SGL ASSIST Advanced (Plus) customers have the possibility to receive warnings by text and/or email in case extreme weather is forecast in your area. Contact sglassist@sglconcept.com for more info.

Fertilizer & germination
Keep spoon feeding the pitch but be careful with the Nitrogen input. A light overseeding of the pitch could increase density and reduce the risk of Poa annua invasion. Follow up by covering the pitch with a germination cover and the usage of your lighting units in order to aid new seed to quickly germinate.

Try to do a stock check on all of your products ahead of spring, such as fertilizer and seed. This is also a good moment to take a soil sample ahead of your spring nutrition program.

Biological disease control
This time of year winter fungi can be active. Consider the usage of UVC radiation instead of chemicals to prevent your pitch from getting diseases.

SGL Masterclass

Networking with your colleagues from all over the world, presentations by leading groundsmen, workshops with our agronomists and updates about the latest developments in the industry. A full two day programme for all of our customers focused on pitch management. Did you already sign up for the SGL Masterclass? If not, take a look at the programme of the Masterclass UK and the Masterclass USA.