With varying levels of business restrictions in place globally, one thing has been a constant message – self isolate but make time to get outside and exercise. The importance of lone or household visits to green spaces will provide benefits to mental and physical health within the community for the foreseeable future.
We’ve received a number of inquiries regarding advice on developing low input maintenance practices for turf surfaces as staff availability continues to be unknown.
What is known, however, is that turf maintenance professionals are a resourceful and proactive bunch and no more has this been called upon and tested in the current climate. The Covid-19 crisis and subsequent government responses to reduce its impact have forced many facilities and clubs in our industry to assess their business holistically, including turf management operations.
It has been extremely encouraging to see, over the past week, facilities working together to develop plans to remain operational and provide their local community with the significant resource we know they provide. We have seen split shift arrangements with maintenance crews, implementing social distancing practices, increasing hygiene standards with equipment and taking innovative measures to reduce the possibility of community transition of the virus.
Here are some mowing tips which may help:
• Reduce the frequency in which surfaces are cut.
• Develop a plan to assess which surfaces are to be maintained in their current format and those that can be adjusted.
• Raise mowing heights on all surfaces 20-40% to assist in reducing turf stress. Slow-growing turf may only require mowing once a week or even once a fortnight. Increasing the height of cut on sportsfields or fairways by 25% will reduce the stress on the turf dramatically and ensure grass requires less maintenance long term.
• In regions where cool season grasses are coming into the new season consider raising cut heights higher than usual, i.e. 3.5 inches as opposed to 2.5 inches.
• In regions where warm-season grasses are soon to be entering dormancy, there will be ample opportunity in spring and the next growing season to bring surfaces back to a suitable level through regular renovation practices.
• Use large efficient mowers which will allow you to effectively manage large turf areas with the added benefit of reducing fuel costs.
• Where practicable, maintain surfaces with similar machines. This may mean temporarily changing the shape of surfaces or potentially maintaining multiple areas at one height.
• Reliability of machinery comes hand in hand with preventative maintenance. Ensure a regular maintenance regime remains in place as per your machinery operator manual.
• Minimize downtime by notifying your maintenance department early of faults or damage before it worsens.
• Plan measures to reduce the possibility of touching contaminated surfaces. Set up a transfer system – drive into a depot and enter the tractor cab without the need to be in contact with other personnel. On return to the depot, park up the tractor and enter your own vehicle to leave the depot. This eliminates the need to occupy communal vehicles which would typically carry or tow smaller mowers from site-to-site.
Trimax Mowing Systems staff are available for further support via phone, email, video call and web chat on any of our social platforms. Click here for a full contact list.