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The problem with lack of air movement and high temperatures on turf

Lack of air movement and high temperatures on turf

Lack of air movement and high temperatures on turf 600 600 Angelique Crosnier

The problem with lack of air movement and high temperatures on turf

There are hundreds of turf varieties out there, but no matter how strong, they are all susceptible to suffer from heat stress.

When we talk about the subject it is easy to believe that it is a problem limited only to the southern areas of the world, but truth is that cool season grasses can suffer even during mild weather, once that on sunny days canopy or leaf temperatures can be 9°C higher than the environment temperature, depending on the soil characteristics. Bentgrass for example, has a net energy loss when soil temperatures rise above 30°C, so if the sun is high and the air temperature is above 21°C, which can happen even in northern parts of England, we could see some loss of functionality of both roots and leaves of the plant.

When a green’s subsoil temperature reaches high levels, grass roots begin to shrink, root growth rates decrease, turf begins to thin and large patches of brown or white turf begin to appear until the plant dies. The cause of death is a process called “denaturation”, which is the destruction of enzymes situated inside the plants cells by the heat.

The lack of air movement will cause stress not only for the plant but also the grounds keeper. Whether in a pocketed green surrounded by trees, or in a stadium pitch enclosed by bleachers, air is a major factor limiting turf health. If grass is not transpiring correctly, it will not be able to cool itself down, reducing the plant physiological abilities to recover and increasing the susceptibility for diseases. Let’s also remember that dew and humidity allowed on the sward for prolonged periods is a strong factor for the development of algae issues.

Heat stress and Summer Bentgrass Decline (SBD) used to be great concerns on turfgrass management before the use of turf fans.

What is a turf fan?

There are different types of turf fans and they have evolved considerably since they first started being used on sports fields. Caged, oscillating, or turbo are the most common ones observed, oscillating being considered the most beneficial for turf care. They have been developed to provide good airflow on the surface. The wind blowing on the grass helps the evapotranspiration process, cooling down the canopy and reducing soil temperatures, keeping humidity controlled and drying out excess moisture.

Quiet and easy to assemble, turf fans can be portable and are usually painted dark green colors to blend in with the environment; Thus, noise and appearance factors are kept to the minimum. Very energy efficient, electrically powered or where no power is available, gas powered, to fight the stresses of heat and lack of air movement in any situation. The fans are steel and powder-coated to help them withstand the elements.

How turf fans improve turf health?

Simply by improving air circulation!

Better air exchange benefits the grass in several ways. Blowing air on the surface controls excess moisture reducing the number of consecutive hours of leaf wetness and increasing evapotranspiration, avoiding fungi diseases and algae problems. Fresh air passing over the turf canopy makes needle tinning much more effective. It also diminishes heat stress lowering both canopy and soil temperature. Not only does the surface benefit but also the rootzone, as moisture can be reduced by 10%. The physiology of the plant will be improved, maximizing fungicide performance, thus reducing the number of applications, saving money and providing a more sustainable environment.

Turf fans have helped grass to survive shaded and warm environments all over the world, making a major impact on sports fields and working as a magic pill for groundsmen headaches.


Posted on: Aug 01, 2018


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