The magazine of sports turf professionals.

Soccer leagues and seasons have come to an end in most European countries. This break for some at the club will mean a well-deserved break, but for others it will be the beginning of a new and intense race against time.

Even before the final whistle blows, the minds of the sports turf managers have already begun to work on the renovation process. The windows to do the jobs every day are getting shorter and the level of demands on both the work teams and the plant are only increasing.

With an increasingly changing climate, with limited budgets, tools sometimes not available, the challenge only grows and making the best use of what is available becomes a key factor for success.

If the planned renovation is based on an establishment by seeds and against the clock, the turfgrass plant will be required to reach its maximum potential at a very early age and homogeneously.

The success of the following season will depend directly on these new seeds becoming mature and healthy plants that can withstand the pressure of both the environment and the high traffic to which they will be subjected. Understanding, therefore, the germination and establishment process becomes fundamental and with long-term consequences.


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Germination is the most critical stage and where the journey begins. The process is relatively short (depending on the grass species) and has 3 fundamental stages:

Stage 1.- Imbibition; The seed will absorb the water and 02 from the ground. Physical process (of enzymatic activation). Stage 2.- Preparatory period. Metabolic activation. Stage 3.- Emergence of the Radicle. Cell elongation and division.

We can say that the germination process ends when the plant is able to absorb water and complete the photosynthesis process 100% by itself. In practice we commonly measure it with the number of leaves, when we see the output of the second leaf on average, we can say with greater confidence that the seeds have germinated successfully.

Then technically we began to talk about the establishment process, which as well defined by Puhalla et al * in their Sports Fields book, includes all the steps taken to promote a viable grass, after the installation of grass either by sod (sod) , stolons (sprigs), dowels (plugs) or seeds. (Fig 1)

The time this establishment process takes will depend on different factors, such as seed quality and germination speed, competition with weeds or other grasses, management practices (sowing dose, spacing, depth, soil preparation, etc. ), environmental conditions, water management, nutrients and the susceptibility of the seed to pathogens.


We recently organized a series of webinars together with the ICL UK technical team, where we share experiences and solutions with the aim of improving germination and establishment during this renewal process, with limited time.

In order to better understand the different realities of the attendees, mostly UK groundsmen, we asked you some questions before the event that I would like to share and comment with you:

  • How long do they have from the time they planted the playing field to the first event?

On average 60% of the attendees responded that they had 7 weeks to renovate their fields and be ready for action. But on the other hand, surprisingly, 7% answered that they were only 3 weeks old! And 28% were between 4 and 5 weeks (Fig 2). This shows the pressure and time limitation with which you are trying to complete a rather complex process. And it makes us think about what will be the best strategy to achieve success.

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With the current temperatures rising and frequent watering, especially in the stages, the perfect conditions are generated for the development of diseases such as damping off (fusarium) and later for the appearance of leaf spot. If the temperatures are not that high and germination blankets are also used, then the perfect conditions for blight seedling are created. If to that is added excessive fertilization and high doses of simbra, the problem can be even more serious since as the seeds absorb water and begin to germinate, substances such as sugars, amino acids and proteins escape from the seed to the soil generating a signal. detected by pathogens and this is something that we cannot avoid.

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What we can best do, having such a limited time is to be prepared and try to prevent the development of any disease. Having a fungicide program becomes critical since it is not the time to run the risk. But what to use and when is it safe to apply?

In recent years I have carried out research with different active ingredients applied in different stages of germination and establishment, concluding that there are some differences between products and active ingredients and that it is good to test the products before using them. This becomes more relevant especially if you want to apply before the tillering stage.

Among the solutions that we have available at Syngenta, I have been able to evaluate and verify the safety of products such as Instrata elite ((Fig 3) applied at double the dose), Ascernity, Heritage and Medallion applied to the plant at the time of germination, and when it reaches the first and second leaves. We have carried out various tests to determine if germination and establishment have been affected and we have not been able to find any evidence of phytotoxicity or decrease in the speed of germination. Heritage's systemic mode of action works very well in early and active growth stages, as does the application of Instrata elite with its dual mode of action (systemic and contact).

  • When do you first enter the field with mower / sprayers after being sown? (fig. 3)

8% of those surveyed answered that they entered the field only 1 week after sowing! and the remaining 92% did so between 2 and 3 weeks (Fig 4).

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In most of the tests that we have carried out in germination and establishment, I have scheduled the applications between 14-21 days after sowing or when the second leaf is reached on average. The reason is quite simple, you have to give the plant time to finish its germination process and be able to withstand the traffic. The risk of entering a newly planted area with equipment is considerable, however, after seeing these results it makes me think that perhaps I have been conservative or that in fact the pressure is so great that the risk is worth it.

Among the products we have investigated are the fungicides mentioned above, Hicure biostimulant, Qualibra wetting agent, Ryder pigment and growth regulator Primo Maxx II (trinexapal -ethyl). (Fig 5) All presenting positive effects, with good integration and helping to shorten the establishment times (in at least 1 week). However, I would like to stop and talk a little more about when to start the Primo Maxx II application. This is a question that I receive very often and that differs from the rest of the products by its mode of action.

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The mode of action of primo Maxx II is through the inhibition of the biosynthesis of gibberelic acid, the hormone responsible for cell elongation. What is achieved by applying Primo Maxx II is to reduce vertical growth and divert it towards roots and growth points (Fig 6 and 7). Thus, denser plants are achieved, with a greater number of tillers, more compact cells (with more chlorophyll) and with deeper roots. However, you have to be a little careful when to start the application, in this case earlier does not mean better. Gibberellic acid that is inhibited by primo Maxx II is a promoter of the germination process and is necessary for the seedling to emerge.

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Through multiple experiments and experience in practice, we can confidently say that it is safe to start a program with Primo Maxx II when about 21 days have passed after planting or 2 consistent leaves are seen in the field. The grass should already be in active growth and the benefits of Primo Maxx II will be evident. It is important to start with a lower dose and then regulate the program depending on the type of grass and the environmental conditions that will determine the growth.

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Finally, to minimize the early traffic mentioned above, we have also been evaluating what products within our portfolio we can safely apply before planting or at planting time. The results obtained with the Qualibra wetting agent have been very significant, especially when the soil is prone to hydrophobicity or there is challenging water management. When we asked the participants how many of them were using wetting agent at planting time in their main field, they gave us a fairly solid answer, 80% have adopted this practice.

In conclusion, the renewal process is complex, but at the same time fascinating and the effort put into this initial stage will be decisive, I wish you all a lot of success in your start to the season and make every seed count.

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*Puhalla J.C, Krans J.V, Goatley J.M Jr Sports Fields Design, Construction, and Maintenance.2010

(Pic 1. Me and renovation picture maybe if it fits)

Fig 1. Renewal cycle ion in sports fields. (Note: if you have a quality image of the circle that could work, and maybe they can add the text in the middle? If complicate no worries)

Fig 2. Results found ICL-Syngenta webinar

Fig 3 Trial in pots, Instrata elite applied at 2 X doses in second leaf stage in ryegrass and tall fescue. (Recommended dose 3l / ha)

Fig 4 Results found ICL-Syngenta webinar

Fig. 5. Integrated management, application program of Ryder, Qualibra, Heritage and Hicure at the time of sowing and with the addition of Primo maxx II 21 days after sowing.

Fig 6 and 7. Primo maxx II effect vs control without application. Greater rooting and more compact plants. Fig 2. Resultados encuentra webinar ICL-Syngenta


renovacion campos futbolBy Marcela Munoz MSc

Syngenta Turf & Landscape EAME Technical Manager