Dry weather and the application of water is one of the major concerns for July. Care needs to be taken to neither over or under water.
To assist in irrigation management, consider a soil moisture deficit chart, combined with visual observations of the sward and dryness of the soil profile. This will act as a useful guide and can help reduce the costs of water used.
Currently a cubic metre of water (220 gallons) costs about 90p.This might not seem a lot, but when you consider that a typical recommendation is to apply 25 mm of water per m2 per week during the summer months (depending upon rainfall), this can add up especially where additional hand watering occurs on areas susceptible to drying out.
The calculation for the weekly cost of this is:
Area of green, 38.4 m x 38.4 m = 1475 m2
25 mm of water per m2 = 5.5 gallons/m2
1475 x 5.5 = 8113 gallons
(or 8113 ÷ 220 = ~ 37 m3) per week
37 m3 x 90p = £ 33.30 per week
This calculation doesn’t allow for wastage or overlap, which invariably occurs.
Ensure that rink usage is spread sideways on a regular basis and that rinks are also turned 90° daily. Failure to do so will result in ‘runs’ developing, with bowls following the line of the run.
Some less accomplished bowlers will prefer this situation. However, it is really cheating, especially when playing visitors who are not used to the green. This situation also doesn’t allow for the improvement of one’s skill in bowls and for a challenging game.
Continue to mow regularly and be prepared to raise the height of cut to 6 mm, especially in dry weather with strong winds on coastal areas. A good, dry sward of fescue/bent grasses will produce a faster surface when mown at this height, than an annual meadow grass, thatchy sward when mown at 4.5 mm.
- Be careful when verticutting, as you do not want to stress the plant, reducing its ability to withstand wear.
Besides the continuing preparation of wickets to meet user demands, the square is typically mown on two occasions per week and the outfield once a week.
Wickets that had been used and renovated earlier in the season might be able to be re-used again if they have recovered adequately.
Correct watering to a suitable depth, combined with planned rolling will produce a really consolidated playing wicket with excellent bounce. Be careful not to wet just the surface of the wicket and then roll, otherwise the shallow layer that was watered can crack and crumble when rolled.
If not carried out at the end of June, then July is a good time for an application of fertiliser containing all the major nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.[follow manufacturers’ guidelines for the correct application rate]. The percentage of nitrogen should be higher than that of phosphorus and potassium to encourage plant health and colour. Make sure to irrigate if no rainfall has occurred within two days, to wash the fertiliser off the grass plant leaf. Do not apply to pitches currently in use; only the areas of the square not yet used or renovated pitches to help maintain sward strength without encouraging unwanted excessive growth.
Towards the end of the month, some wickets will be coming out of use for the few remaining weeks of the season. A head start on some end of season renovation tasks may be considered.
As with June, continue to mow at a consistent height of cut (12 mm). This should take place on average once per week but will depend on the amount of games played and climatic and ground conditions. To maintain a high presentational standard, mow in stripes or circles.
If an application of a selective herbicide took place, the outfield should now be clear of most weeds. Continue to monitor small areas of damage and repair as soon as possible.
- The football pitch is mostly establishing itself following the end of season renovation. However, there are a number of tasks that will need attending to.
- Any thin areas or those that have developed a slight unevenness will probably require a light top-dressing, of about 1-2 kg/m2.
- Irrigation will be a problem on some sites. Wherever possible try and ensure some form of irrigation is given to goalmouth and centre circle areas.
- Continue mowing on a regular basis. This will promote tillering and reduce the potential for perennial ryegrass flower stalks developing.
- A light nitrogen, usually liquid, fertiliser application may be considered to encourage growth. Something in the order of 1-2 g/N/m2 (10-20 kg/N/ha) would be suitable, especially as a regular application is normally given in August to September time.
- This fertiliser application would only be given if soil moisture was adequate and there was a suitable means of artificial irrigation being applied to maintain growth.
- If you haven’t already done so, ensure the goal posts etc. are painted and goal nets are repaired or replaced.
- This can be a busy month, especially when there are usually plenty of golfers enjoying the summer season.
- A very light, fine top-dressing to the greens may be considered to maintain quality, even putting surfaces. This operation does not cause any inconvenience to golfers as it can be carried out quickly and, with a minimum of material being applied, is hardly noticeable.
- Disease might be a problem, especially red thread. Consider a light application of a nitrogenous fertiliser or a fungicide application.
- Irrigation is usually ongoing throughout July. Hand watering of dry areas, especially on green slopes and embankments, will supplement that from automatic pop-up sprinklers.
- Bunker raking will most likely be on a daily basis, especially if the golf course is open to public access and dog walkers whose dogs invariably enjoy the sand.
- The mowing of fairways may be reduced in frequency during the dry summer months as growth slows.
- Golf tees will still need to be divoted on a regular basis to ensure the tees are maintained in as even a playing surface as possible.
- If time permits, clear out perimeter ditches which may be used for winter rainfall drainage.
- Routine maintenance work over the summer months will include the following:
- Artificial irrigation will be more frequent to produce a suitable firmness of ground for the day of a race meeting.
- Continue to divot and repair after each meeting.
- Weed control may be required, especially if none was carried out in May.
- Continue to mow regularly, with this operation forming a significant part of total work input.
- Do not neglect mowing on courses that are rested over the summer.
The pitch establishment should be coming along nicely, ideally with all areas having signs of good to no worse than a medium thinness of ground cover.
Besides artificial irrigation, if required, and additional light topping of the sward, some additional works may be required, for example:
- If any areas did not germinate and establish as well as expected then a further overseeding may be required.
- A balanced fertiliser application, possibly as a liquid feed, may also be considered. This may be especially prevalent if the weather has been wet for much of the time since the spring fertiliser application. This may have resulted in nitrogen having been fully utilised by the sward, or even leached away through a sandy profile.
- Artificial irrigation will probably be the norm for now, so ensure application is carried out evenly over the whole court. Check for any blocked or damaged sprinkler heads / nozzles.
- Rolling will probably cease, or if rainfall has been fairly regular throughout the month, then it will continue to aid in firming the surface.
- At the beginning of the month it is a good idea to emphasise the need to ensure use is spread evenly around all available courts, because there is still half of the season to go.
- Continue to use a spiked roller. Consider the use of a water injected aeration machine during the summer period.