Alan Abel, a Complete Weed Control franchisee for over 30 years, gives his take on disease management going into the colder weather.
Fusarium. Take - All Patch. Dollar Spot. Anthracnose. Leaf Spot. Brown Patch.
All these fungal attacks have been designed to strike fear into any fine turf manager who has put so much time and effort into making their own personal piece of turf their pride and joy.
They are so swift and sure to appear and must be treated when the first signs rear their ugly head.
A relaxed approach is not an option. When the roll of the ball is so important to golfers or bowlers, then long term scarring caused by fungal diseases is unacceptable.
As the EU Sustainable Use Directive (SUDs) recommends, we should be looking for alternative methods of preventing fine turf diseases instead of relying on multiple chemical applications. This is possible, to some degree, by making sure that the turf is as healthy as possible at all times, but especially entering potentially well-known disease hot-spot months.
We are entering one of these time zones now as autumn, and the characteristics it naturally brings, such as heavy dews interspersed with reasonable warmth is an ideal seed-bed for disease attack and especially fusarium.
Many factors affect the encouragement of disease. These include shadiness of golf greens with high trees and lack of through winds. Thatch, so anything to alleviate this by aeration is advised. Dew dispersion is very advisable so leaves are as dry for as long as possible. Good irrigation management is also key. Linked to these factors is the ability of the grasses to pick up nutrients, the grass varieties present and also plant growth regulation. These specialist products, containing trinexapac-ethyl, make the sward stronger, the roots deeper and in general help the plants to remain healthier.
The more Turf Managers can employ these cultural methods will lead to stronger swards more resistant to fungal diseases.
One factor that is beyond our control is the weather patterns that have changed drastically over the past few decades. The change to milder spells in late autumn has led to more severe outbreaks of fusarium.
So, forewarned is fore-armed.
Many trials, carried out by STRI and other bodies, have shown marked success of the control of fusarium when using nutritional products in a programmed approach. The use of Harpin especially, in a disease management approach has been shown to be very successful.
Headland Amenity, Everris and Rigby Taylor all have information in their literature from which useful information can be gleaned.
When resorting to chemical control, there are many choices. The last application needs to be taken into account and another active used - if possible. The stage of the actual attack needs to be analysed and then the correct choice of chemical made, by a BASIS qualified field person.
There are so many factors when choosing what is going to be sprayed. The mode of action by the active ingredient must be understood.
Do you want systemic, curative or contact or a piece of everything, such as contact and systemic or contact and preventative.
One thing is certain, it is better to be prepared for an attack of fusarium, than wait until the disease has manifested itself.
For specialist spraying services, Complete Weed Control can offer a service throughout the UK and Ireland, operating at the Amenity Assured Standard, and able to supply and apply any product safely, using modern equipment. Time is of the essence if an outbreak has been spotted and an excellent response can be guaranteed so that the products get applied at the earliest time possible. The correct water volume, nozzle technology and water quality will all be taken into account to ensure the best results.
This service alleviates the Fine Turf manager all the headaches of Risk Assessments, COSSH and safe disposal of containers.