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Turf Management Programme (Feb 2017)

This article outlines the turf management programme that we have put in place with Austspray and the approach that we are implementing across all common body corporate(s) areas throughout the estate.  The process consists of a one week on and one week off mowing cycle to enable us to apply applications to the turf with the aim of significantly increasing the percentage of desirable turf species (Blue and Green Couch) through a nutrition and weed management approach.


We understand that residents have shown concern to the length of the turf and apologise as the current mowing rotation should have been completed last week on Friday 20 January 2017.


We started this programme the week before Christmas with a Granular Fertiliser application and five days later a foliar fertiliser application combined with a growth regulator. 


Why two separate fertilisers?  

They both feed the plant in a different way and rapidly promote healthy growth, the aim was to encourage the turf growth to cover bare areas and thicken the couch.  During this process we have been watering where we could with the irrigation system and the rain has helped also.  Many of the bare areas have been covered and the turf is now a healthy green colour.  The expected by-product of this application was an increase in the growth rate of the weedy grass species that you have seen within the turf, these are the species that we need to get rid of that is not allowing the estate to have the great turf it deserves.


On Saturday 21 January 2017 we began tackling the weed issues within the turf with an application of pre-emergent herbicide (this stops weed seeds germinating) and an insecticide to remove the bugs that are happily chomping on the new green and growing grass.  This treatment will reduce weed growth and increase the overall turf health.  On Tuesday 24 January 2017 we shall be applying a selective herbicide combination that targets the Bahia grass (one of our main weed grasses that you commonly see at present) Narrow Leaf, Broad Leaf Carpet Grass and Broad Leaf Weeds throughout the turf.  This treatment will take 3-4 weeks to completely kill the target weeds present, we expect to kill 80-90% of the target species with this treatment.


Post this treatment greenkeepers are programmed to carry out spot treatments through the turf to target those weeds not controlled by the applications above and will continue to spot treat the turf through to the end of our contract term.  In addition to this we have another Pre-emergent application scheduled for the second week of March and further Fertiliser applications for March and June.


Why the fortnightly mowing rotations?  

To effectively target the weed species and for the herbicide applications to work we need leaf growth and the herbicide needs time on the leaf to act.  At the moment much of the long grass growth you are seeing within the turf are the weed species, not the couch, once the weed species are gone the grass will look great.


How long will it take to look great? 

We expect by the end of March the turf will be significantly improved due to the removal of the Bahia Grass/ Broadleaf weeds and some other grass weeds species.  We estimate that the current turf we have has only 60% of the desirable species, by the end of June we hope to have this up to 90% of the desirable couch species.


The programme that we are working will only see continual improvement over the coming months, we are working with nature and encouraging change in a short time frame.  Grass takes time to grow, weeds take time to die and weed seeds keep wanting to pop up.  The lawn mowers are effectively catching the clip to reduce the spread of further weed seeds to achieve a greater result.