Alan Abel, a Complete Weed Control franchisee for over thirty years, gives his advice for turf managers over the winter period
As we enter the last part of the year; it has been a season of exceptional autumnal colours on our trees. The Rugby World Cup has been a great success (unless you were supporting England), with all the stadia looking and playing well - congratulations to all of the groundsmen involved.
The amenity industry is greatly missing Chlorpyrifos which was taken from our arsenal on the 31st August. There were large numbers of crane fly in late summer so it follows that there are even more leatherjackets in the soil making a meal of good viable grass roots.
Imagine the following scenario:
A fruit farmer who majors in apples decides to grub up some of the trees to diversify into the leisure industry and make a golf course. Well the farmer can still use Chlorpyrifos at two litres per hectare on his apple crop before blossom but he cannot use the same pesticide on his greens or fairways that are being attacked by leatherjackets.
The trouble is; you don't need to imagine this - it is actually happening!
There must be a case for CRD to look at this and re-instate Chlorpyrifos into the amenity market. Even if it meant closing the facility for the day, I'm sure clients and sports people alike would be prepared to endure this penalty?
During the Amenity Forum Conference last month, Integrated Pest Management was an important part of the agenda. All of us in the amenity turf industry must look at other ways of controlling pests, diseases and weeds.
The Water Framework Directive is driving this agenda, as any Pesticide showing up in our rivers or streams above a certain limit will be liable to be taken away from our use. This is why precise targeting and minimal use of pesticides is so important in retaining these vital products.
At Complete Weed Control, we recommend using nematodes for the control of leatherjackets. The problem for bowling clubs, golf clubs and sports clubs is that using Chlorpyrifos at 1.5 litres per ha used to cost around £1.50 for 500m² whereas it is going to cost maybe £60 for the same control using the nematodes.
With so many local authority and private clubs under major financial pressures this will be a major cost in the future.
Although winter is thought of as an ideal time for hibernation, it can actually be a time for timely applications of propyzamide (KERB) for the control of grass weeds throughout problem shrub beds. Care must be taken when applications are made as it is a very soluble product that will move into non-target areas if applied on banks and slopes.
There is a time restriction as well. It must be applied by the end of January, as it is activated by cold frosty weather.
While on the subject of wintry weather, Complete Ice Control can offer the solution of gritting and snow clearance on a national level. Our network of franchisees offers this service and using a Met Office forecast that gives actual road surface temperature forecasts on a localised level. The customer can be assured their roads and paths will be gritted should the temperature drop to zero degrees and below.
With colder, damper weather moss becomes a problem. MMC pro always produces good results, as long as enough water is applied and that the water is pH buffered. An addition of a wetter is also advisable.
Find out more by calling Complete Weed Control on Free Phone 0800 954 9679 or visit www.completeweedcontrol.com