Friday, September 16, 2016

Establishing a New Turf Area - What About the Weather - Australia 2016?

For those along the east and south east coast [even as far west as Adelaide] it has been a resurgence of cooler weather in mid September.  While many might have been thinking about preparing a new area for seed or turf sod, it is a bit of a setback - more cool, wet and poor sunshine weather for September.

But looking at longer term averages it does seem to indicate that October is about the earliest safe time to get motivated to develop your new summer growing turf area in much of the east and south east of Australia.

Planting too early can be a total disaster - with low temperatures meaning slow, uneven, poor germination and emergence as seed reacts to the tough conditions with slow and irregular development and growth.  Also relevant is the amount of cloudy conditions providing inadequate sunshine for decent seedling growth.  These struggling seedlings can then be exposed to plant diseases and is a failure, as seedlings die.

Prudence dictates.........wait a little longer into October.

As an example, [ using data from Essendon]

September - mean min temp - 6.7C  and mean max temp - 16.8C
October  - mean min temp - 8.3C and mean max temp - 19.3C.

More recently, daily weather data for Melbourne for September is distinctly cooler than average-   - shows recent weather for Olympic Park in Melbourne clarifying that cool weather still is common in September 2016.

While Melbourne provides an example, checking BOM data for your location should help you to more effectively plan a successful planting.  Avoid being too early and suffering from poor weather! 

The other notable factor is the amount of sunshine with October much higher than September, with both daylength and solar energy higher in October, which normally boosts growth of seedlings.

It may also be prudent to delay fertiliser application, for a few weeks , with the high recent rainfall likely to cause leaching of nutrients.  Longer term weather forecasting seems to indicate more wet, cool,weather possible over the next few weeks.

While it is normal to expect weather to warm from September, the issue is that this year this is expected to be slower due to ongoing cool and damp weather, with lower insolation.

Outcome - be careful and keep a more vigilant watch on the weather and plan for any turf planting or turf seed sowing to be delayed until maybe mid October.  And be prepared for change.

We would like to sell clients zoysia seed to be ready for sowing - but do strongly urge zoysia seed users to carefully check both long term data averages, and recent monthly data to aid your decision making.  We want to see a successful seed sowing, and can help with data checking if concerned.  Our current view for much of temperate areas in Australia is - wait a few more weeks before sowing summer turf seed.

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