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					Feed turf for a winter boost


                                                                                               29 October 2009

                                                                        Ref: 8059                  Page 1 of 4

Winter can be a tough time for turf. Low temperatures and heavy use – particularly for winter sports pitches – can
place considerable stress on the sward. Then unpredictable weather and a busy workload often mean that
groundsmen are unable to get nutrients on quickly enough when conditions favour new growth in the spring.

Yet few groundsmen consider feeding their turf over the winter, believing there is little point when the grass is
not actively growing.

However, British Seed Houses’ Simon Taylor says this is a misconception: “Even though there may be little top
growth, there is plenty going on below the surface. Root extension continues throughout the winter and should
be encouraged, as strong roots withstand wear better and prevent the turf cutting up during heavy use.

“We are also seeing much a milder onset to winter where growth may continue into December – even in the
garden it is not uncommon to have to get the mower out just before Christmas.”

The winter, he suggests is an ideal opportunity to get nutrients into the turf to take advantage of any periods of
warmer temperatures, as well as helping to encourage quicker recovery in the spring.

“Groundsmen have a more difficult job these days as no two winters are the same,” Simon comments, “It is not
enough to look at last year’s fertiliser programme and plan according to when the first application went on then.
We might experience a dry, cold spring in which nothing grows or equally, milder temperatures which favour
early growth. But maintaining soil nutrients throughout the winter months enables the turf to take advantage of
any good conditions without placing an extra burden on the maintenance programme.”

While winter normally slows growth due to lower temperatures, shorter days and reduced light intensity, the
increasing use of under pitch heating and artificial lighting means that turf may keep going through the season,
adding to the need for nitrogen and potassium in particular.

“These nutrients help resist extremes of temperature and promote root development, which helps the turf cope
with the heavy wear of winter play,” explains Simon.




Agency contact - Fiona Gebbett - fiona@panpublicity.co.uk
Pan Publicity Limited, The Creative Exchange, 11 Church Lane, Gorleston, Norfolk NR31 7BE UK
Tel: +44 (0)1493 440047 - Fax: +44 (0)1493 440048 - www.panpublicity.co.uk
Client contact - Simon Taylor - simon.taylor@bshlincoln.co.uk
British Seed Houses, Camp Road, Witham St Hughs, Lincoln, Lincolnshire LN6 9QJ UK
Tel: +44 (0)1522 868714 - Fax: +44 (0)1522 868095 - www.britishseedhouses.com
Feed turf for a winter boost


                                                                                               29 October 2009

                                                                                   Page arrives,
Without winter feeding, turf can be exhausted and depletedRef: 8059 carbohydrates as spring2 of 4 and may
                                                          of essential
also be more susceptible to disease.

“Good nutrition really is preventative medicine,” says Simon, “Although the one proviso is to avoid products
containing high levels of soluble nitrogen in the autumn, as these can create a flush of soft growth which is
vulnerable to disease.

“Also if the plant can’t utilise soluble nitrogen it can leach out into the soil pores, which is a waste of the fertiliser
budget and can also be damaging to the environment.”

Slow release fertilisers such as Floranid Club are ideal during this period and into the winter, Simon suggests, as
they are only active when the soil temperatures and moisture levels are high enough to support turf growth, but
maintain nitrogen levels in the soil profile without the risk of leaching in wet conditions.

Floranid Club also offers the lower nitrogen concentration appropriate to winter use with an analysis of 10+5+20,
plus added magnesium, iron and trace elements. The slow release nitrogen Isodur is formulated to give consistent
growth without peaks over a period of eight to 12 weeks.

“The idea is to keeps soil carbohydrate levels up to support the turf and encourage root growth when conditions
allow,” Simon explains.

“Another useful product is Kaligazon 0+0+27, a high potassium and zero nitrogen/phosphate fertiliser which helps
to toughen the sward, increasing wear tolerance. The leaf blades are hardened for greater disease resistance and
improved greenness, and roots are strengthened,” he adds.

‘Little and often’ is the mantra for successful winter applications, using 20-25 grammes per square metre, as
opposed to the 35-50 grammes per square metre commonly used in the main growing season, and applied every
six to eight weeks.




Agency contact - Fiona Gebbett - fiona@panpublicity.co.uk
Pan Publicity Limited, The Creative Exchange, 11 Church Lane, Gorleston, Norfolk NR31 7BE UK
Tel: +44 (0)1493 440047 - Fax: +44 (0)1493 440048 - www.panpublicity.co.uk
Client contact - Simon Taylor - simon.taylor@bshlincoln.co.uk
British Seed Houses, Camp Road, Witham St Hughs, Lincoln, Lincolnshire LN6 9QJ UK
Tel: +44 (0)1522 868714 - Fax: +44 (0)1522 868095 - www.britishseedhouses.com
Feed turf for a winter boost


                                                                                               29 October 2009

                                                       Ref: 8059
“This means that groundsmen would only need to make a couple of applications over thePage 3 of 4 might be
                                                                                     winter – one
sufficient - and would be likely to miss any cold snaps, although fertilising should be avoided if a long period of
heavy rainfall is forecast,” says Simon.

Every groundsman’s goal should be to come out of the winter months with a healthy sward ready for renewed
growth, and Simon insists that the opportunity should be taken to feed the turf where possible.

“If the pitch ends the winter in a poor state, with several months of play still ahead, the turf can really suffer and
be difficult to rejuvenate. It is essential to maintain ground cover - conditions are not usually suitable for
reseeding in February and March, and even if it were possible, the window needed to let the new seeds establish
is unlikely to be available,” he says.

The end of winter is a good time to raise nitrogen levels, as the sward will be able to utilise nutrients for growth in
the rising temperatures.

“An early application takes advantage of any unseasonably good weather before the workload increases, and can
get the turf off to a really good start,” Simon points out. “The temperatures may be too low for much growth in
February and March but slow release nutrients will be used as soon as growth starts and this avoids a lean period.
Nutritional deficiency can lead to stress and the risk of disease, so it is a good idea to arm turf against fungal
attack as temperatures rise.”

Floranid Turf and Floranid Permanent would be ideal for this, he suggests, the former containing 20+5+8 for a
good boost on heavily used turf and the latter 16+7+15 for more general sports grounds use.

“Groundsmen have to get used to the fact that there are no set seasons as such any more,” says Simon. “When
caring for intensively used areas such as winter sports pitches, there is a need to maintain healthy, good looking
turf throughout the season so that they continue to offer a quality playing surface. So we should take every
opportunity to feed the sward, regardless of the time of year.”




Agency contact - Fiona Gebbett - fiona@panpublicity.co.uk
Pan Publicity Limited, The Creative Exchange, 11 Church Lane, Gorleston, Norfolk NR31 7BE UK
Tel: +44 (0)1493 440047 - Fax: +44 (0)1493 440048 - www.panpublicity.co.uk
Client contact - Simon Taylor - simon.taylor@bshlincoln.co.uk
British Seed Houses, Camp Road, Witham St Hughs, Lincoln, Lincolnshire LN6 9QJ UK
Tel: +44 (0)1522 868714 - Fax: +44 (0)1522 868095 - www.britishseedhouses.com
Feed turf for a winter boost


                                                                                               29 October 2009

                                                                        Ref: 8059                  Page 4 of 4




Agency contact - Fiona Gebbett - fiona@panpublicity.co.uk
Pan Publicity Limited, The Creative Exchange, 11 Church Lane, Gorleston, Norfolk NR31 7BE UK
Tel: +44 (0)1493 440047 - Fax: +44 (0)1493 440048 - www.panpublicity.co.uk
Client contact - Simon Taylor - simon.taylor@bshlincoln.co.uk
British Seed Houses, Camp Road, Witham St Hughs, Lincoln, Lincolnshire LN6 9QJ UK
Tel: +44 (0)1522 868714 - Fax: +44 (0)1522 868095 - www.britishseedhouses.com

				
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