Alleviating Drought Stress on Athletic Fields
This time of year, drought stress is a threat to turfgrass on athletic fields. Drought-stressed turf is less tolerant to traffic, weeds, and diseases. Since you can’t control the weather, what can you do to at least alleviate drought stress for your field?
After you’ve audited your irrigation system, use it to help lessen the stress on your field. A good irrigation program not only supplies the grass with necessary water but also cools it on hot, dry days. Early morning is the best time to irrigate for maximum absorption.
A moisture meter is another useful tool to help your field through dry conditions. It provides precise soil moisture measurements, giving you a better idea of how different parts of your field are performing and how much to water.
Be selective about your chemical applications during dry conditions. Herbicides can do more harm than good in times of drought stress, and they work best when weeds are actively growing. Applying a wetting agent could help alleviate drought stress, so ask your ATS representative which wetting agent is right for your field.
Lastly, don’t mow your field too short or too often during dry conditions. Doing so will worsen the drought stress on the turf. It’s generally best to use sharp blades and mow higher in high-stress conditions. Taller turfgrass conserves water and provides more shade to the soil.
Use these management practices to help your field through drought stress, and reach out to your sales rep with any questions about surviving dry summer conditions.