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Hoyte Swager
Posted 20 Jan 2012 Last edited: 1 Oct 2012
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Hello All.

As you can see from the pics at:

http://bit.ly/Aug1Cv

we have a nasty problem with crows and magpies.
I have looked for any tiny creatures they might be after in the greens but so far no luck.
I read up on old posts and will try the Peregrine or Owl on the Clubhouse ;-)

Two questions:

- If you had the same problem,
what was the most effective method of keeping the birds away?

- What is the best approach for repairs?
At the moment I fill the holes with sand from bunkers to get a level surface again but is that the way to go? it takes ages...

Any help appreciated,
Regards,
Hoyte Swager
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MAVO
Posted 20 Jan 2012
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Posts: 160

We had a similar problem on our greens a few years ago but these were Rooks after leatherjackets and chafers!
Best remedy was to shoot them with air rifles or 20 bore from our Gator as we went around the course!..even the ones we didn't clobber they certainly got the message!
Now we only have a small colony of Rooks that only seem to go in the rough areas which we don't mind about!:)
As for repair we put topdressing in holes with seed as long as temps permit,any big areas were turfed using a turf doctor.
Hope this is any help to you.
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Hoyte Swager
Posted 20 Jan 2012 Last edited: 1 Oct 2012
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Thx mavo!

I will ask one of the park rangers to help me with the shooting.
Pressure is on to keep main greens open though.
I will start looking for a turf doctor.
Do you now any in the Reading area?
I am new in this job...

Regards,
Hoyte Swager
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MAVO
Posted 20 Jan 2012
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Posts: 160

I'm sure firms like Tacit,etc do them,basically a holechanger but larger,ours is square which we use to take plugs from a temp green then place in damaged area.
I think they make them hexagonal too??very useful for this job.
If I could I would upload a photo but I'm not that technical!!
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Hoyte Swager
Posted 20 Jan 2012
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Hello Mavo.

We have an unused tee I can use to swap plugs.
I will have a go with the holechanger then.
Thx for the Tacit tip, they sell lots of usefull stuff!

Regards,
Hoyte

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MAVO
Posted 20 Jan 2012
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Posts: 160

No problem Hoyte,oh and by the way if you have grubs in the greens they may have to be sprayed with a relevant chemical to control the grubs as the birds are the secondary problem.
The grubs they are after will be feeding on your grass roots etc this in itself making your turf weak,birds and even good old badgers will exploit this!!
Obviously we don't know the full extent of your problem,you may not have that much of a grub problem,but in my case I've seen an increase in leatherjackets and chafers on the course in the last couple of years.
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Hoyte Swager
Posted 20 Jan 2012 Last edited: 1 Oct 2012
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Hello Mavo.

Thx again for all the advice.
I am keeping a lookout for these animals and actually spotted two.
But the parks biodiversity and habitat person thought the birds just dropped them when I scared them away.
Here is the link to some pics, maybe you know what they are?

http://bit.ly/yVrs6x

Any help appreciated,
Regards,
Hoyte Swager
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MAVO
Posted 20 Jan 2012
028.jpg
Posts: 160

The green one I would say a caterpillar,the other looks like a leatherjacket,the ones at our course appear in a cast,similar to a worm cast but much larger and smeary with dozens of leatherjackets in it,usually we find these on edges of tees not often on the greens though we have seen them this year.
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Hoyte Swager
Posted 20 Jan 2012
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Hello Mavo.

We do have crossfire 480 in our chemical store for leatherjackets.
There is one green that is especially attractive for these birds so I will have a go on that one first.

If I read the article on pitchcare about them:

http://www.pitchcare.com/magazine/leatherjackets.html

It might be possible the mild weather we are having here is good for leatherjackets thus attracting the birds.

Thx for pointing towards this, I will post the progress...

Regards,
Hoyte Swager
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Barry Big Shot
Posted 21 Jan 2012
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Once a muppet.....................

Had a look at the pic's and have to say that I would be calling Complete Weed Control or similar in pretty quick.
We are not far from you and there were a good number of crane flies around in Sept/Oct.
Watch out for the badger or fox as they really can do some damage.
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Ken Barber
Posted 21 Jan 2012
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The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under who’s shade you do not expect to sit.

The caterpillar will be a cutworm, which causes as much damage a leather jackets. You need to apply Chlorpyriphos (Active ingredient) of products like Crossfire. I assume you have a qualified sprayer that is certified to spray chemicals. This needs to be done yesterday, since as already mentioned, your next visitor maybe a badger...... and you'll know when he's been around! Plugging from a tee is not a good idea. If you haven't got a greens quality turf nursery to take plugs from, then exchange the plugs to the back edge of the green. Use an area away from the general traffic of golfers and then over-seed the damaged plugs. Using the edge of the green you can bring the green in a few inches to encourage speedy recovery.

Testing for amount of infestation can be achieved in a couple of days by covering a section of green with a fertiliser bag weighted down with a board of similar size, with a couple of bricks on top to stop it moving. Soak the area first with a watering can of water and leave covered for 24 hours. Check and see whether any grubs have come to the surface and count them. Recover the same area for a further 24 hours and check and count again. If there are just 1 or 2 then its not serious. If numbers are higher.... start worrying about a visit from Brock the badger! Bird activity is the first sign of high counts and most people reach for the chemical at this stage.

I can't work out how to view the pictures you speak of but small pecking damage can be repaired as you do pitch-marks, slightly larger tufts of grass can be returned if they haven't dried out and smoothed over with a little top-dressing and the larger plugs as already described earlier, plugged to the edge of the green. Although you haven't said whether the greens are natural soil push-ups or USGA spec greens but I would not be using your bunker if it doesn't conform to spec.

KB
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Hoyte Swager
Posted 21 Jan 2012 Last edited: 1 Oct 2012
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Hello All.

A BIG thanks to Vic for setting me up with a proper turf doctor.
I did the first repairs today with it and it is a great piece of kit!
Some pics at link below I will use to make a work instruction.

http://bit.ly/A0rLMP

I had to use a piece of turf from an unused tee because of the missing hole cap in the middle but for other situations I will use the tip from Ken to use the edge of the green for the other repairs.

At the moment the plan is:

- shoot as many birds as possible
- we installed improvised crow-scarers
- test for amount of infestation
(we set up an area on one of the greens as suggested by Vic and Ken and I am hoping for some results tomorrow)
- prepare for spraying with crossfire
(I am pa1/pa6 licensed so can use the knapsack sprayer on our "baby"-greens)
- prepare for badgers
(I will talk to the country park people tomorrow)

I am thinking about setting up a small piece of repair turf area of the same type and consistency as the main greens or is that too much effort?
Some of those golfers get angry at the green and do damage as well, because of course it is never their play... ;-)

On another note, we had a very dry summer and on top of that a failing irrigation system.
Should I be worried about the extent of the root-zone as can been seen in the 3rd picture from the link?
At a recent Meyerscough webinar about greens construction the opinion was I should have 50-150mm depth dependend on grass type at this time of the year given the current local weather condition and history.
What is the opinion out there?
I am getting soil samples done through Rigby-Taylor at the end of this month.

Finally a question to Ken.
How would that cutworm have gotten onto the greens?
I will get some proper sand and not use the bunker anymore.
I am working on finding out the construction and grass-type on our greens but we do seem to have a three-layered construction with surface, sand-rootzone and drainage embedded in gravel like I saw on the webinar so it does look like usga but probably is not officially given it was constructed in the early seventies.
BTW You can view the pics by cutting-and-pasting the http://bit.ly/* links into the address-bar of your web-browser.

Any help appreciated,
Regards,
Hoyte Swager
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Ken Barber
Posted 21 Jan 2012
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The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under who’s shade you do not expect to sit.

Google cutworm and it will explain its life cycles. In short a cutworm burrows into the thatch (often take residence in a spike hole), then come out at night and crop the grass down very tight around their hole. They can travel like a caterpillar across the ground but that where the similarity ends.

I had already tried cutting and pasting your links but came up blank.

I hope you realise that badgers are protected by law and that you are not allowed to harm them or their sets (burrow).

KB
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Mike
Posted 21 Jan 2012 Last edited: 21 Jan 2012
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20120112 095157
KB - pics for your perusal...
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Mike
Posted 21 Jan 2012 Last edited: 21 Jan 2012
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20120112 095218 (1)
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Mike
Posted 21 Jan 2012 Last edited: 21 Jan 2012
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20120113 130351
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Mike
Posted 21 Jan 2012 Last edited: 21 Jan 2012
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Barry Big Shot
Posted 22 Jan 2012
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Once a muppet.....................

Good luck to you Hoyte, your commitment, effort and enthusiasm are a credit to you and I hope you continue to gain so much enjoyment from your work.
Was good to meet up.
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Ken Barber
Posted 22 Jan 2012
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The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under who’s shade you do not expect to sit.

I see what you mean about green! It is however still a cutworm. I have read articles where they vary in colour from dark brown through to to cream, yellow and green. If you read the link I have attached, it details about the black cutworm. I mislead you slightly saying it wasn't a caterpillar, because it is the caterpillar of a moth. It has 3 pairs of legs on the front section and 5 pairs on the back section. I believe they are not indigenous to the UK but are visitors from the warmer climes of Europe...... Global warming rearing its ugly head again!

The other two photo's are leather jackets. although Biblio fly larva do look similar to leather jackets but are smaller and have a hard head casing, while leather jackets are soft.

www.pitchcare.com/magazine/cutworms.html

KB
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Speckledhen
Posted 22 Jan 2012
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ste

Excellent advice above, I would just say that if you resolve the leatherjacket/Cutworm problem via chemicle control you shouldn't have to worry about shooting the crows. The crows are a sympton, the leatherjackets/cutworms are the "disease"

ste
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Hoyte Swager
Posted 22 Jan 2012 Last edited: 1 Oct 2012
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20120122 143501
Hello All.

The test showed clear results.
An area of around 1 bin bag with the method described above delivered around 5 leather-jackets on the surface this afternoon.

Pics at: http://bit.ly/xTRgAX

Enough confirmation to start with the spraying of Crossfire 480.
It was to windy today in the morning and afternoon to do the job but I have calibrated the knapsack sprayer and done the calculations.
Hopefully I can do the most infested green tomorrow morning.

I will read up on this cutworm for methods to get rid of those.
The pitchcare article (thx Ken!) does describe the animal but I can not find how combat them.
The Crossfire label mentions using it in combination with Mildothane Turf Liquid against earthworm but that is not cutworm.

Again, a very big thank you to all you out there!

It is really good to know I can tap into your combined knowledge and experience and I am learning stuff my NVQ training probably would not address.


Lessons learned:

- Do not ignore early warning signals.

In November I noticed magpies taking a certain interest in the 5th green doing mild damage. It seemed to pass away but in hindsight it never went away completely and they moved around to two other greens.
I should have investigated more thoroughly and now know what to look for in the future.

- Test to confirm your suspicions.

The method above is a brilliant way to find the grubs if they are not obvious on the surface.

- Use various methods to keep the birds away.

The shooting and crow-scarerss seem to have worked and in the last 24hr we did not experience more damage although the birds are still around.
I do take the point though it is a symptom and not the solution but it does give some breathing space to act.


Regards,
Hoyte Swager
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Mike
Posted 22 Jan 2012
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Hoyte,

May I just add a brief piece of advice? I would urge caution when posting your phone number on an open forum, unless you want to receive unsolicited phone calls.

Mike
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Hoyte Swager
Posted 22 Jan 2012
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Hello Mike.

Point taken ;-)
I thought the forum was only open for those registered.
I did receive useful texts and calls though, but I will refrain from using it in the future.

Regards,
Hoyte Swager
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Mike
Posted 22 Jan 2012
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No problem, Hoyte - it is an easy trap to fall into, and disappointingly, all is not always as it seems.

Anyone can join this forum without vetting, so 'registration' offers you no protection.

You have been very lucky with the information given above, but whilst not wanting to 'dig' at anyone in particular, others intentions (registered users or not), may not be so clear - genuine offers will, in the main be posted openly on the main forum. Be careful as claims of 'help' via pm or phone are not always genuine (though some may be genuine), and I fear that you may have already have had such 'help' given that you have already received contact from unnamed sources.

Mike

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Ken Barber
Posted 23 Jan 2012
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Posts: 1747

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under who’s shade you do not expect to sit.

I wouldn't be surprised if Crossfire controls both leather jacket and cutworm. You willl soon find out when they come to the surface after you spray. Since the chemical does cause this reaction and they take a day or two to die. This doesn't usually mean you get more damage because they are so evident laying on top of the ground and hopefully you may be able to cut the greens to remove them. I would spray all the greens, since the chances are they are all infected. Each crane fly can lay up to 500 eggs.

Add a little wetting agent (25 - 50mls) to the knapsack. This helps it work better. If the weather remains dry it could be a few weeks before you see any reaction. If you get a good rainfall the reaction will be much quicker, maybe a week. One very important point your spray water needs to be slightly acidic since alkaline causes the chemical to break down quickly, often resultring in a poor kill.

KB
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Barry Big Shot
Posted 23 Jan 2012
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Once a muppet.....................

Brilliant advice from Mike, unfortunately there are some people out there who are not just interested in helping beginners to get a start and protecting the future of our industry, and those people get away with it time and again.
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Ken Barber
Posted 23 Jan 2012
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Posts: 1747

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under who’s shade you do not expect to sit.

I think it is important to make mike's comments clear as it sounds a little like some people would contact you to misguide you deliberately. However , I think he is refering that there are one or two out there who would only be interested in selling you a cure that may or may not be supported with genuine or supportive advice.

But let's not dwell too long on this subject, since I don't believe it is a common problem.

KB
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SOS
Posted 23 Jan 2012
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Hi

I do believe that there is some new legislation that came into force this month regarding types of nozzles that can be used when spraying Chlorpyrifos and new parameters in regards to buffer zones around ponds etc.

BE AWARE...........................

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mackay
Posted 23 Jan 2012
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Posts: 1930

Definately look like leatherjackets and not bibio. Never seen a cutworm that green!

While Clorpyfiros should work for cutworm, I have a feeling that it might be off label???... and might the cutworms be a bit too deep in the profile to confidently get them anyway? Just a thought.

I know it's pricey, but what about Merit?
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mackay
Posted 23 Jan 2012
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Posts: 1930

Also, while it seems likely you have a problem at the moment, for the future, be aware that the presence of leatherjackets, chafers, cutworm or whatever does not neccessarily indicate a problem and that it is only when population levels climb that treatment is well justified.

Since it's expensive to treat, not to mention potentially environmentally damaging etc, often people will set intervention thresholds.

i.e you might decide that on your greens: if the population of leatherjackets reaches or exceeds ?/m2 then the cost of repair is more than the cost of treating them. This is usually referred to as the 'economic threshold'. The 'intervention threshold' , i.e. the point at which you take action, is somewhat lower since, of course it's not all about pure cost and there is more at stake. The population levels can no-doubt be allowably higher for your fairways, and far higher for you rough etc. Also, if you moniter well, you might find that there are hotspots - so instead of treating the whole area you can just deal with the problem bits.

This is part of a pest management philosophy called 'Integrated Pest Management' and the whole has some very very beneficial results. (Google it!). ....but the whole thing relies on regular monitoring. Very diligent guys will have all sorts of info on their site which has built up over time.
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Ken Barber
Posted 23 Jan 2012
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The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under who’s shade you do not expect to sit.

Mackay,
A couple of weeks ago I saw the typical damage caused by cutworm i.e. tightly chewed down area the size of a 50 pence. The classic hole in the centre of the shaved spot. I took the knife to it and cut out a small plug abount 30mm deep and found a lively lttle cutworm, all fat and bloated...... until I squished him that is! Cut worms won't be any deeper than leather jackets and we are seeing 5 or 6 cutworms a week, first thing in the morning, grazing on the greens or looking for a new home, so there must be sufficient number to warrent spraying. I believe that Chlorpyfios will control cutworms, and I don't intend putting any warning signs out for the cutworms because it maybe considered off label!

I agree with your thoughts about IPM and use it myself to a degree. But as for looking for hot-spots? No time at my site, especially since I was cut a member of staff 3 years ago. I haven't applied Chlorpyfios for some years now, but I intend in spraying all my greens soon since I am starting to see some bird activity and we have a large badger set just over our boundary and I don't intend waiting for him to dig up my greens.

KB
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Barry Big Shot
Posted 23 Jan 2012
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Once a muppet.....................

Noticed on one particular area of our bowling green a lot of casts which are extremely small and fine. Seen no evidence of any insects, nor any bird activity.
Unfortunately not able to take any photos now for a couple of days.
This area is probably about 10m x 4m.
I appreciate it is difficult without photos but anything spring to mind?
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SOS
Posted 23 Jan 2012
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Hi Vic

My bet is Microscolex Phosphoreus.

May be worth looking at.............................Do they glow in the dark!!!

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Barry Big Shot
Posted 23 Jan 2012
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Once a muppet.....................

Thanks SOS, casts look familiar and there are hundreds of them in a small area. Not seen a worm glow in the dark since my kids were small and had those green toys which lit up, gloworms.
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Mike
Posted 23 Jan 2012
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didn't have toys like that in my day, Vic!!
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SOS
Posted 23 Jan 2012
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Vic

If you put your augur around the effected area to a depth of around an inch and have a good look inside your core you may see one.

Apparently if they are provoked they will glow !!!!!

They are small but don't do too much damage ( apart from annoying casts ) and are a new friend to visit our shores in recent years.

Don't think any chemical will effect these guys but they always populate a small area with small casts.



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mackay
Posted 24 Jan 2012
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Posts: 1930

Ken,

Of course chlorpyfiros should kill cutworms - it is toxic to all beasties made of cytin (spelling?). Something that is toxic in the lab does not neccesarily mean it will work in a turf situation though does it? Chlorpyfiros SHOULD kill bibio lavae but it generally doesn't work too well (and they are usually in the top 50mm). Chlorpyfiros SHOULD kill chafer grubs but in reality it's bugger all use. (As an organophosphate it should also take care of a great many of the beneficial organisms in the soil too unfortunately.) Hence why I voiced concern. I've never had to spray for cutworm though.

I suspect timing would be critical as they will move up or down the profile depending on the time of day and in this respect they are very different to leatherjackets.

When I say off label - I'm not suggesting that you would put signs out for the grubs, but rather that you might want to avoid putting too many pointers out for the Environment Agency who will merrily slap a few thousand quids worth of fine on you if you've been using pesticides (especially organophosphates) incorrectly......just saying.

....so crossire 480 aside, Merit does have it's merits.

That said, as you have quite rightly pointed out: the intervention threshold for a greenskeeper with badgers nearby and big fat grubs on their greens is approximately 1 grub per square mile!
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Tomas Nilsson
Posted 28 Jan 2012
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Hello there.
If you are trying to get rid of magpies or crows, just dont go haywire and start shooting:)
One thing you can do however is to shoot and hang up one of them(or more if there are more than one green sabotaged).
Looks a bit morbid and some birdwatchers can be a bit ...hmmm upset, but at least in sweden this works.
The crows and magpie get the picture and move to some place else:)
If it is geese, shoot the leader.
Then the new leader have a strong sense to go elsewhere:)
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MAVO
Posted 29 Jan 2012
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Posts: 160

Tomas,never went haywire when we went shooting on the course!!it was done in the morning before any golfers were about,and air rifles pellets don't travel far when you are shooting downwards!
We are talking about crows,magpies,rooks etc!..vermin!
You mention bird watchers,well killing the odd crow does wonders for all the little birds that have their nests raided every spring!
Hanging a dead bird on a post does work for a while but they do come back eventually.
It took a few months but we now have manageable levels of these birds.
Just wanted to clear that up if you thought we were a bloodthirsty mob rallying around the course on a Gator!!
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Hoyte Swager
Posted 29 Jan 2012
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20120125 074809
Hello All.

A short update about the progress.
Spraying was difficult this week because of either wind or frost.
I have 3 more greens to spray in the north of the course but these have not been affected by bird damage so far but just in case...
It is interesting to see the grubs seem to be in different stages in their lifecycle:

http://bit.ly/zYjsQK

That Crossfire 480 stuff does the job.

All-in-all things seem to be in control, the birds are still around but not doing any damage anymore, we have removed the crow-scarers but the ranger will walk the course with a gun now and then and I have learned a lot in the process ;-)

Many thanks again,
Regards,
Hoyte Swager
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Hoyte Swager
Posted 29 Jan 2012
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20120125 080352
2nd pic
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Hoyte Swager
Posted 29 Jan 2012
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20120125 080414
3rd pic
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Tomas Nilsson
Posted 8 Feb 2012
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Haha... no, did not think this. I am a Viking from sweden, WE are the blood thirsty ones:)
Heard some course that took chilipowder on the greens. NOT popular with the birds... But i wonder if this was and old wifes tale from them...
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