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Great Skiing weather at the moment....although it appears...
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Great skiing weather at the moment! .........although it appears that half of New Zealand's population have sought out the charms of warmer climates with many "Posts" coming in from either Europe or the Pacific islands at the moment ..... if only!    
However, these cold conditions also keep the soil temperatures low.  This has some important implications for the care of your lawn as low soil temperatures effect the manner in which plants uptake nutrients. As a result  these are the tips I suggest for having your lawn looking great at this time of the year;
 
- Once ground temperatures drop beneath about 8oC plants will struggle to uptake nitrogen in the form of  ammonia or urea. In this instance it is better to apply this nutrient in the form of nitrate or nitrite.  As a result apply Turf Supreme rather than Turf Gold fertiliser. This will also be more effective at controlling the fungal disease "red thread" which tends to be prominent at the moment because of the exceedingly wet conditions.
 
- 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 if they are dry rather than wet. These take longer to seal and this extended period just increases the risk of fungal invasion. 
 
- It is important to remove litter so that clumps of wet clipping do not lie on the surface suffocating plants.
 
- Also it is important to recognise that plants respond to day length.  As the middle of August approaches the days stretch out quite a lot relative to those short days associated with the middle of June.  The outcome is that plants respond by starting to grow more rapidly. Lawn managers need to respond by increasing mowing frequency otherwise long lawns will remain wet longer and will create their own shading effect.
    
At a time when increasing attention to global warming, air pollution and concerns regarding carbon emissions are making worldwide news it is important to take a closer look at turfgrasses and the many environmental, health, economic and community benefits they have to offer;
 
"The strategic use of turfgrasses is the most sensible and economically feasible approach in countering the greenhouse effect in urban areas"  - Dr. Thomas L. Watschke - Pennsylvania State University
 
"Turfgrasses are relatively inexpensive, durable groundcovers that protect our valuable non-renewable soil resources from wind and water erosion"  - Dr. James B. Beard; Emeritus Professor, Texas A & M University  
 
Did you know that;
 
  • Turfgrasses trap an estimated 12 million tonnes of dust and dirt released annually into the atmosphere!
 
  • An area of 5m2 of lawn will provide enough oxygen for one person for a day.
 
  • Lawn areas in the USA alone store 16.8 Billion kilograms of carbon.
 
  • 2,500m2 of lawn has the same cooling effect as 70 tonnes of air conditioning.
 
  • Grass plants absorb solar radiation to fuel photosynthesis. Roughly 50% of the sun's heat is eliminated through this transpiration cooling effect.
 
  • Turfgrass plays an important part in controlling our climate. Grasses surfaces reduce temperature extremes by absorbing the sun's heat during the day and releasing it slowly in the evening thus moderating temperature.
 
  • Hospital patients with an outdoors or parkland vista recover more rapidly than those whose views are of other hospital wings - University of California
 
  • Turfgrass helps to minimise allergy related pollens because regularly mown lawn does not produce either seed or pollen unlike trees, shrubs or other plants.
 
  • Studies have shown that performing activities in green, outdoor settings reduces the symptoms in children of AD/HD - Faber Taylor A., Kuo F.E & Sullivan W.C; 2001.  
  
So, as you can see there are a bunch of other benefits from the use of turf grasses other the obvious attractions of practicality and aesthetics.  However, probably the biggest appeal at this time of the year when it appears to rain every day, is the soil protection afforded by the installation of an immediate layer of turf. This all encompassing "skin" of vegetation immediately prevents topsoil being washed into storm water drains where it ends up either as suspended solids or silts in our streams, rivers and oceans. When viewed in that light it is easy to see why turf is now the most preferred method for establishing lawns in urban areas.
This, as the name suggests originates from South America and is found throughout New Zealand. It is also recorded in all states of Australian other than Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Like all other weevils these are distinguishable from beetles by their long snouts and their legless grubs or larvae. Adults are small at 5mm – 10mm long and are greyish brown in colouration, whilst the larvae are creamy white. The Argentine Stem weevil mainly affects ryegrasses with larvae feeding within the stems, whilst the adults tend to feed on emerging leaves. It is thought that the adults move around mainly by walking rather than flying.  The female burrows into the leaf sheath tissue to deposit her eggs.  Egg laying will continue from July – March.  Eggs hatch in 10-30 days and the larvae feed on the leaf tissue until they pupate and re-commence the cycle by hatching as adults. Damage is mainly caused by the larvae and is particularly noticeable by the clear windows they chew on the leaves. Damage by this insect occurs throughout the warmer summer months from September through until late April.  Plant protection can occur by ensuring the endophyte status of the seed used for lawn establishment.  
 
Note that an endophyte is typically a bacterium or fungus that lives within a plant for at least part of its life cycle without causing apparent disease.  Endophytes are ubiquitous and have been found in all species of plants studied to date.  Many of the endophyte/plant relationships are not well understood although some may enhance host growth, nutrient acquisition or may improve the plant's ability to tolerate abiotic stresses, such as drought, and enhance resistance to insects, plant pathogens and herbivores.  Endophyte status in ryegrass plants in particular will act to prevent damage to the plant from the activities of a number of insects.
 
In this case, the introduction of the parasitoid wasp (Microtonus hyperdae) has been effective in controlling argentine stem weevil. However, older ryegrass lawns with low endophyte levels may still be susceptible to attack.

 
SPECTACULAR TRANSFORMATION
TURF SUPPLY
You can keep up to date on the supply of our various turf products via our website. We update any supply issues on the “price guide" page.  To check this out go to our website at www.finelawn.co.nz.

A brief supply summary is as follows - 

Tall Fescue   Despite the very large increases in the area we have planted in this species, unprecedented demand over the past winter months have created a limitation in our ability to supply.  However, we expect to have full supply available again in September.

Fine Fescue turf is now available.

Creeping Ryegrass turf is now available.
 
Warm season grasses such as Kikuyu and couchgrass will not be available again until the beginning of  December.
This month we will be shifting into our new offices which are located at 406 Tauwhare Road.  This site adjoins our new turf farm which is just beside the village of Matangi. 

We are currently in the process of upgrading this building so that it meets our purposes but we expect to have the shift completed by the 25th of August. 

Unfortunately, there will be unavoidable interruptions to our communications for the period 23rd - 25th of August over which time we will not be taking bookings for turf harvesting.  
We apologise in advance for this interruption in supply however we are a little nervous that our phones system may take some time to transfer to the new premises!
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