Despite the balmy conditions that were still being experienced by mid - May, winter was always going to come......it was just a matter of when it would arrive! Well, it has certainly arrived now with far colder temperatures and frosts to mark the beginning of June. This followed a period of almost monsoonal conditions in the Waikato where rain was experienced for 21 days straight!
As a result of the rapidly decreasing daylight hours and cooler temperatures all grass plants will grow less rapidly and also respond less rapidly to treatments. This is the main reason why recommendations were made in the previous months so that tasks were performed at a time when responses were easier to achieve. The key to lawn management at this time of the year should be now more focused on managing risk;
- Removing leaves is important because leaf litter left for long periods of time will kill grass plants as they suffer from lack of exposure to light in particular.
- Monitor lawns for any signs of the fungal disease "red thread" which can become prominent at times when the lawn is constantly wet. The tell tale traces of red filaments are normally easily identified. If these are observed then it is recommended to apply a standard release high nitrogen content fertiliser.
- Mowing management is important as this time of the year to mitigate the risk of disease and plant losses. It is preferable to ensure that the plants are dry prior to mowing. This may mean waiting until the afternoon or for a windy day when dew is less of a factor. Cuts to leaf blades are far easier for the plant to seal than if they are wet. These take longer to seal and this extended period just increases the risk of fungal invasion. Also it is important to remove litter so that clumps of wet clipping do not lie on the surface suffocating plants.