The Challenges of an Early Spring, and How to Overcome Them
Despite what the weatherman tells you, weather is always unpredictable. Since weather is such a crucial part of this industry, it has caused many sleepless nights for lawn care professionals and golf course superintendents. The key is, to be as prepared as you possibly can, so you at least have a few options, no matter what Mother Nature throws at you.
And so, when an early spring hits, like we’ve had in parts of the US, it creates challenges that you need to be ready for. We’re in the thick of spring now, and we’ve identified some challenges that an early spring can bring, and how you can rise to the occasion.
- Early spring can cause a pre-emergent problem
Most turf professionals have their tried and true schedules for combatting disease and insects through different applications of turf products. Though an early spring will not bring insect issues , it can throw you a crabgrass curveball.
When the right temperature and moisture level hit, crabgrass can germinate quickly in an early spring, catching you off-guard. To combat this, be ready with your pre-emergent crabgrass application, like ProScape® with Dimension®. You can also look for products that combine pre-emergent and post-emergent protection, so you’ll save time by not putting down multiple applications.
- Early spring can shorten your pre-season prep time
Speaking of time, an early spring means that golfers are itching to get back out on the course. As a result, you may only have a fraction of the prep time you were expecting. You may not be staffed up fully, yet the applications can’t wait. That’s where combined applications come in handy again. If you can apply a product like ProScape® with LockUp™ plus Dimension®, it’ll save you time, labor, and budget, which you’ll need later in the long season.
- Don’t give in to irrigation temptation
It may seem like an early spring when the weather warms up for a week in the beginning of March, but don’t be so quick to turn on that irrigation system. There are two reasons why.
First, the soil doesn’t usually need a lot of irrigation help right away. Melted snow helps give it the water it needs right away, and it also isn’t fully “woken up” yet, so it isn’t growing at its normal rate. So you don’t need to add more water to the equation quite yet.
Secondly, if the weather cools back down below freezing again, you could be looking at a big problem with your irrigation system. Frozen pipes aren’t the problem; it’s the sprinkler heads. If you turn on your irrigation system and then it goes back below freezing, you could be replacing a LOT of cracked sprinkler heads.
- Partial warm-up can create full-size snow mold problems
An early spring might actually save you from snow mold scares. It’s the partial warm-up that could cause serious problems. In areas with snow cover, when a little bit of it melts, it creates a pocket of air between the turf and the snow. That air is trapped, and snow mold can start to wreak havoc.
The worst part is that you can’t do much about it in that moment, unless you want to snow blow your greens (which some people do). But in the fall, make sure to put down your snow mold application just before the first snowfall that’s going to stick. You want your turf to be fully prepared to tackle snow mold come springtime.
- Late season nutrient issues
Those applications, whether combined or not, are only formulated to last a certain length of time. If the season starts early, it’ll probably be longer than expected, and could cause late-season issues. One solution is to make sure you’re using products that have a healthy dose of the ingredients you need.
For example, ProScape® with Acelepryn® plus Dimension® has more nitrogen in it than other similar products, making for a longer fertility window. While some applications last only 8 weeks, some ProScape with Acelepryn plus Dimension products can last 12-16 weeks. We know you have the endurance to last the whole season, but your turf may need a little help.
Throughout the whole year, the key is to be flexible and be ready for anything. As the saying goes, you can’t control what cards you’re dealt, but you can control how you play them.
If you’re having issues or questions with your spring turf maintenance, feel free to contact your LebanonTurf sales representative, and they’ll help you find the right products for your situation.
For more information, visit http://www.lebanonturf.com/.