Power Equipment Australasia

TURF CARE Attention turns to turf With spring just around the corner, many curators and facility managers are making plans for turf renovation or replacement programs. JOHN POWER talks to JOE ROGERS from Lawn Solutions Australia about practical new developments in turf research, and tips for correct turf care and selection. Turf care can be a challenge at any time of year, but it is especially problematic for grounds managers at the onset of spring – the growing season – when time-critical decisions and actions can affect the quality of turf surfaces for the following 12 months and beyond. Major decisions include: Should we replace old turf with new turf? If we opt to try out a new turf cultivar, which variety is appropriate? Is climate change likely to affect the performance (or selection criteria) of cultivars in our specific locality? What day-to-day maintenance regimes can enhance turf quality, particularly during wetter-than-normal periods associated with lingering La Niña conditions? Is oversowing an alternative to full turf replacement? These questions, often complicated by tight budgets and limited workforces, are crucial. Fortunately, research designed to bring the best possible turfgrasses to market has been proceeding at great pace over the last decade. Turf propagation expert Joe Rogers, Commercial Manager at Lawn Solutions Australia (LSA), says turfgrass research is an extremely dynamic and competitive industry, with new cultivars being tested continually in different Australian locations in an effort to propagate superior grasses to suit our conditions. (LSA, a collective representing 45 turf growers throughout Australia, maintains commercial relationships with 180 resellers and runs one of Australia’s leading turf research facilities. Visit lawnsolutionsaustralia.com.au) The goals of turf breeding and testing programs, Joe says, are self-evident: improved drought and disease tolerance, improved winter colour, and reduced fertiliser requirements. All these qualities contribute to lower ongoing maintenance costs, higher-quality performance, and more predictable seasonal behaviours and efficiencies. The entire research process, Joe concedes, is lengthy. The LSA research facility was established 12 years ago, and only now are many 10 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | JULY - AUGUST 2023