As turf agronomists and sports turf consultants, Gilba Solutions offer independent advice on turfgrass management. These include soil and water testing, sports field audits, and turf health assessments. We also produce a turf blog on topics like:
- The importance of blue light in shade;
- Factors affecting herbicide performance;
- The role of salicylic acid in fighting turf stress;
- Indicator weeds and what they tell us about soil health;
- The differences between NZ and US turf type ryegrass
- Pythium in turf and how to manage it better and
- Ground pearl in turf
Gilba Solutions also regularly carry out product testing such as our 2022/2023 work into soil surfactants and their impact on soil organic matter. Our recent blog on DIY pest control, is aimed at home gardeners and lawn owners who don’t want to use pesticides around their houses.
For more information on Gilba Solutions please check out the Gilba Solutions Company Profile.
The appearance of a sports surface are only one of the factors to consider when discussing the turf quality. Player safety is also an increasing issue.
With the increase in women’s participation in major sports this is putting more pressure on existing playing surfaces, which in turn raises the issue of player safety. That’s where turf agronomy or the study of turfgrass science comes in.
Turf Agronomist services – Sports Field Audits and remote sensing.
As turf agronomists our sports field audits give a snapshot in time of the condition of a sports surfaces. By using the latest remote sensing technology available we can:
- Map, measure, and monitor turfgrass characteristics.
- Reduce turf chemical, fertiliser, and water use.
- Measure soil moisture, salinity, and quantify turf health.
- Identify any issues with surface hardness and sub-surface compaction.
- Identify any poor management practices that could result in a poor turf condition.
- Produce an easy-to-understand report with management recommendations.
- Provide a field improvement program, based on the data collected.
- Determine if any issues exist with use such as hours of play.
- Identify any problems with drainage, soil, and turf selection issues, and finally
- Identify any limitations relating to turf nutrition, labour, etc.
Turf agronomist services – Surface hardness:
Being able to measure this shows how well a surface can cope with wear, and its impact on root growth. A cone penetrometer identifies any issues so you can better target problem areas. This in turn leads to a healthier root system and better water movement away from the surface.
Turf Health assessments:
Using an NDVI allows early detection of any existing or future problems. You can then use the data to identify disease issues, the impact of shade on turfgrass, or even excessive wear.
Soil moisture mapping:
We use the latest GPS-enabled soil moisture sensors to map the moisture distribution, identify problems, and to conduct irrigation audits.
Clients who have used our services include:
- The NRL;
- Sydney University;
- Accor Stadium;
- CommBank Stadium;
- Knox Grammar;
- Kings School and
- The ACT Government.
Turf agronomy services – Sports field audits.
There are several factors that limit the amount of use a sports fields can take. These are:
- The type of construction;
- What age are the players? Older players cause more wear than children;
- What turf type is present? Turfgrass varies in its ability to take wear;
- When is it being used? The time of year has a big impact on wear and recovery and
- How much rain has fallen when it is used? A wet field is more prone to damage than a dry one.
Below is a brief summary of hours of ground use and what effects this.
- Try and limit use to 14-18 hours per week on a well maintained sand based field;
- Be aware that use of a ground during the winter months has the most impact on turf quality as growth and recovery are slow;
- Work at the STRI shows that for perennial ryegrass:
Soil field (with or without drainage).
Sand profile with drainage.
5.3-11 (7.8 hours per week over 35 week season).
Sand carpet construction.
Turf type has a major role in the hours of use for a ground as shown below assuming fields are irrigated sand carpets or full sand root zones.
Winter playing season
Summer playing season
General Rules to maintain surface quality:
- Avoid training in high-wear areas like goalmouths;
- Rotate training activities to spread wear;
- Carry out repairs as soon as possible; divot fill as soon as possible after a game;
- Repetitive drills are killers, so do not carry these out on the field of play and
- Carry out regular maintenance work like aeration etc.
Turf agronomist – Trials and Product Development.
Gilba Solutions constantly develop and improve products in the market. This philosophy lead to the development of the turf pigments Vertmax® and Vertmax Duo® in 2020. Vertmax Duo contains a high loading of salicylic acid for plants and offers multiple benefits over being a simple pigment.
Our current research is into green grass paint and turf pigments and soil wetting agents. We are trialling a number of wetting agents at a trial site in Sydney, NSW. We are monitoring VMC, surface hardness, turf quality and organic matter levels.
Other Turf Agronomist Services.
Agronomy is the study of soil and as turf agronomists this is a major strength of Gilba Solutions. Soil testing provides information on a soil’s physical and chemical properties. The value of a soil test depends on several quality factors:
- How is it sampled? How long after fertilising?
- What analysis is carried out using what extractant and
- The actual interpretation of the results.
In the worst-case scenario, ignoring any of these factors can make soil testing pointless. In Australia, we are one of the few companies that employ a qualified soil scientist, and we tailor our reports to meet our client’s exact needs rather than being driven by a “one shoe fits all” philosophy. Soil testing tips:
- You can carry out soil testing at any time of the year;
- Don’t soil sample within two weeks of any application of a fertilizer containing phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, or calcium;
- This is a contentious one as many companies advocate testing every year. However, unless you have a particular problem or you are testing a sand based construction, testing every three years is fine.
The issue of water quality is often overlooked by turf managers. However, when you consider it not only impacts turf but also on the results you get from turf chemicals it is something that should be at the forefront of mind. The chemicals present in water:
- Impact soil chemical/physical properties and subsequent turf performance;
- Effect the rate of alkaline hydrolysis and
- Can impact on tank foam.