Monday, November 27, 2006

Recycling - myth and reality

As part of our work we often see material on recycling and resource recovery. Planet Ark have recently released a report that tries to show the truth about these issues.

Visit the following site and look for the report: "Recycling Myths: Sorting Fact from Fiction"

Peter H

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Is carpet grass a weed in your lawn?

Often carpet grass is used as a turf - it is well suited to shaded areas, for example. But more commonly, it appears as a weed in high quality turf areas where removal can be difficult.

Nominally, MSMA and DSMA are used for many grasses as post emergence herbicides. But with carpet grass, it seems as if there is relatively little effect, as it quickly regrows from rhizomes. It is worse in the warmer regions as carpet grass can grow quite quickly, even after spraying.

What is your experience? Is there a reasonable solution that can provide cost effective control of both narrow and broad leaved carpet grass?

Comments welcome.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Typical lawn grub damage

The damage was done quickly and very decisively - lawn grubs can do this level of damage in a few days.

The area is now recovering, albeit slowly!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Improve your turf

Using compost is a great way to help your lawn. It adds organic matter, is suitable for fixing minor imperfections in levels, greatly enhances soil microbiological activity which may reduce plant diseases, and even sequestrates carbon [ and that is being VERY environmentally friendly] and usually the organics come from locally recycled materials. Probably the most important attribute is that the organic mater added to the turf can reduce the need for bag fertiliser, and improve water holding capacity thus reducing water use.

Current evaporation in Darwin is 7 - 10mm per day [November] so storing any rain that falls to reduce that evaporation alone is a great benefit.

Important - do not add too much at once, 5-7 mm is enough, and level it out with a rake and leveller, water into the surface. Use fine screened compost, not the coarse mulch!!

And remember........keeping the lawn slightly longer and allowing it to dry out before re-irrigating will improve water use efficiency during this pre wet season. That applies to ANY lawn.

Your correspondent at work delving the mysteries of science.

Turf Damage in the Pre -wet Season!

Recently we installed a new turf area using Empire zoysia. This is a very good turf, well suited to tropical Australia.

All the normal agronomic practices were carried out and the turf laid, fertiliser added, and all went well for about 4 weeks. Then disaster..........the client freaked out, and when we saw it we did too........The culprit? Army worm and sod web worm damage, and was it massive. Over half the area - 40sq m - seriously damaged in less than a week.

However, a quick investigation found the little grubs, and there were a lot!!!!! Spraying had to be done, to institute rapid control, and yes it all did work out, with the lawn now, a week later, showing good recovery.

It is a while since the damage caused was so great on any area we manage - switching to slow release nitrogen fertiliser is a prudent move to help manage this problem. All our clients have this practice recommended as part of our management protocols supplied with a new turf area. But in this case, readily available nitrogen was used, as part of the starter fertiliser NPK mix. And it seems as if it was part of the problem.

Moral - take care of the turf NOW when lawn grubs can be present; and act quickly to spray them with a suitable insecticide - and remember too with lawn grubs, it is best to spray in the evening when they are active.

This photo was what it looked like before the lawngrubs invaded.

Who we are and what we do

Above Capricorn Technologies
Agricultural & Environmental Consultants
ABN 73 215 304 514
PO Box 736 Nightcliff NT 0814 Australia
Telephone: 61 8 8948 1894 Facsimile: 61 8 8948 3894

Products and Services

· General agricultural and environmental consulting services; crop, seed and pasture agronomy services, agricultural management software / training/ support services and agricultural investment analysis
· Land management – land surface management including stormwater, range management, pastoral land development, weed management and control systems and plans, pasture / livestock / crop management
· Irrigation, water and soil moisture management systems
· Tropical turf development, agronomy and management – sporting ovals, recreational areas, golf courses, sports turf
· Organic waste management and compost production, effluent / biosolids management/ reuse, waste and wastewater management systems and services
· Erosion management and rehabilitation, sediment planning and control
· Soil and water bioengineering, including vetiver grass services / management
· Mine site and disturbed land revegetation and rehabilitation
· Contaminated land assessment and rehabilitation, bioremediation and phytoremediation
· Seed supply [incl native spp], production and technology, seed industry development
· Agricultural development and planning in the tropics

Operating since 1994, we are a Darwin based, growing enterprise focussing on agricultural, turf and environmental related opportunities in the tropics. Recent business includes a US$5m agriculture, turf and land development project in China, a recently completed phase of revegetation and land rehabilitation at a major new mine in Indonesia [for a US company, value >US$1m]. Both of these have been in conjunction with another small Australian company. Existing consultancy activities in the mining and agricultural sectors in the Philippines and Laos, and ongoing agricultural R & D in Thailand. Other recent projects have been bioremediation of pesticides in Kakadu National Park; water and waste management on Australia's offshore islands; greenwaste and organic resource management for compost and as a biomass fuel; crop production R & D.

Activities focus on R & D and consulting in agriculture, horticulture [tropical fruits, dates, grapes], livestock production, turf [including sports turf and golf course development, agronomy and management], soil and water bioengineering, effluent and biosolids management and reuse [particularly for agriculture / horticulture], bioremediation and phytoremediation, organic waste management and composting, erosion control, revegetation and landscape rehabilitation, land management, plant materials utilisation and development incl plant variety registration, seed science and seed industry development, seed production, irrigation. We can also supply innovative technology and products for these sectors including a range of erosion and sediment control products, advanced wastewater and stormwater systems, soil moisture measurement equipment, agrochemicals and turf management products, waste handling [incl medical] and compost systems.

The company has a strong science base and focuses on a holistic approach to problem solving. Our operational focus is northern Australia in both wet and arid areas, and into tropical regions of Africa, Asia and South America. We hold professional indemnity insurance. We have strong alliances with a number of other medium sized operators within Australia.

Registered professional member, Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology
Certified Professional Agriculturist
Member International Erosion Control Association
Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control [pending]

Contact: Peter G Harrison CPAg BScAgr MAIAST MIECA