December 15, 2022
The turf industry has been incredible in these unprecedented times, but we now need to pull together towards innovation and survival.
The last two years have been extremely challenging for the turf industry and for the growers especially who have experienced some of the toughest of hurdles. From extreme droughts, to soaring temperatures, the pressure to produce continuously strong, green turf all year round has taken its toll.
We are already seeing a significant change to the historical pattern of grass growth. Previously where peaks would be seen in Spring and Autumn, this year we have witnessed really dry and cold springs migrate into hot and dry Summers. We haven’t had that spring growth and, as a result, grass has had to play catch up over the Autumn.
It’s not just climate changes that have impacted this industry however, amidst the huge increases in demand during Covid as homeowners invested more time and money into their gardens, we are now witnessing huge inflation costs for diesel and fertiliser – both essential in producing and maintaining quality turf. In fact, just this month in a recent article in Farmers Weekly it was reported that fertiliser alone has seen a 135% rise.
Turf farms are doing a tremendous job
Despite this, I have been blown away by the consistent quality of turf being produced and unfaltering professionalism and level of service from the turf farms we work with up and down the country.
As the largest independent supplier of turf in the UK, we supply 1.4 million rolls of turf to 35,000 gardens a year and understand first-hand the challenges growers have and the tremendous efforts they have gone to in order to reduce the impact on the end user.
As a supplier, we have been able to continually meet customers’ ever-increasing demands over the last few years, and the fact that they have not experienced any disruption to supply or reduction in the quality of product they have received during this time is nothing short of amazing.
We should therefore be praising the incredible effort of our turf producers whilst learning from their experiences and innovations.
What does the future look like?
At a time when all industries are looking at ways to limit their carbon footprint, the turf and landscaping industry needs to review how to navigate land management to secure its future.
It’s clear we can no longer rely on the traditional patterns of grass growth that have for so long been consistent. The changing weather has led to cold and dry springs and hot and dry summers, which have in turn impacted the usual peaks in growth. We now need to evolve to work with these new patterns and share this knowledge and data.
By understanding the impact of these shifting climate conditions, we can begin to invest in alternative and sustainable solutions for turf production from seed to garden, limiting our carbon footprint and impact on the environment.
As a business right in the middle of this industry, and as an advocate for supporting others, I feel it’s my role and duty to educate and support everyone in the supply chain – from landscapers to customers – whilst supporting the farmers and growers.
My aim as a leading turf supplier is to continue to proactively source sustainable solutions to maintain turf management, and I want to be at the forefront of these innovations and offering my customers the best possible solutions.
As climate change becomes a more permanent issue, there’s no escaping the fact that times have and will be changing, and it’s crucial we come together.
I hope others will join me and the George Davies Turf team in this mission,