During the winter, warm season turf enters a dormant phase, experiencing a loss of growth and green colour. While the colour loss is primarily a visual concern, players need not be alarmed as long as the playing quality remains satisfactory. However, the reduction in growth poses a more significant issue, as the lack of recovery allows wear and tear to accumulate over the winter months. This accumulation becomes evident on high-use grounds and zones, resulting in unappealing bare areas with subpar playing quality. Additionally, player safety may be compromised due to variations in ground hardness and traction. High-wear zones, such as goal squares can become hazardous depressions that necessitate re-turfing after the season.
PGG Wrightson Turf Perennial Ryegrasses
When opting to oversow with perennial ryegrass, it becomes crucial to distinguish between Mediterranean and Continental ryegrass cultivars. Mediterranean varieties like Colosseum or the Sports Oval blend exhibit significantly higher winter activity compared to Continental cultivars. This heightened winter activity allows them to germinate successfully at lower temperatures, with growth rates in the May-August period being double or even triple that of Continental types, as outlined in the below reports:
Notably, Mediterranean perennial ryegrasses, such as Colosseum, have a mid-green hue, while Continental cultivars like Soprano or the Stadia blend boast a darker green colour. The choice between the two depends on the specific requirements, weighing the need for robust winter growth against the preference for a darker green turfgrass sward.
Winter Oversowing Programme
Consider the playing schedule for the field for the upcoming season and lock in all necessary dates.
The couch sward should be fully covered and in good condition before oversowing.
One week before oversowing, apply Primo Maxx II (trinexepac-ethyl) at label rates to the warm season turf. This will slow growth and ensure a faster and more complete ryegrass strike.
Sow the PGG Wrightson Turf perennial ryegrass that has been decided on. Oversow at a rate of 370kg/ha (it is possible to use a higher sowing rate, but don’t go lower).
Nutrition of Establishing Ryegrass
Apply BEST Pro Start 16-10-8 with Gal-XeONE at a rate of 300kg/ha. This granular fertiliser will supply essential plant nutrients to assist in turf development.
Apply Hydroforce Calwet at a rate of 300kg/ha. This granular product supplies calcium and a soil wetting agent to the soil profile.
Two weeks after germination, Apply GMX Hi-Start at a rate of 20L/ha. This liquid nutritional supplement helps to accelerate the establishment of root systems and improves stress tolerance.
Apply maintenance fertilisers post-establishment for growth and colour. Greenmaxx Liquids and GTS Sport Series Granular Fertilisers will deliver excellent results.
To Protect the Establishing Ryegrass
Apply Meridian (thiamethoxam) for protection from insect pests that feed on young shoots and roots.
Apply Subdue Maxx (metalaxyl-M) for protection from pythium diseases that can impact young seedlings.
The ground should be out of play for at least two weeks. Irrigation should be applied if necessary to maintain a moist seedbed.
Spring - Transition back to warm season sward
In September or October, transition the perennial ryegrass out using a suitable herbicide. Several sulfonylurea herbicides do an excellent job in controlling ryegrass. You can consider any of the following products:
Monument Liquid (trifloxysulfuron sodium)
Two or three weeks after the herbicide application, as the perennial ryegrass is dying, the height of cut should be lowered.
An application of GTS Sport Series Enhance 34-1-5 should be made at a rate of 160kg/ha to encourage warm season turf growth and recovery.
An application of Triple S can also enhance spring recovery of the warm season turf.