Alan Abel from Complete Weed Control gives Turf Managers his view ahead of the Autumn fertiliser treatment window and how to deal with the second leatherjacket season.
Olympic mania is still at fever pitch. The legacy left from the London games can still be seen today with more people running, cycling, jumping, throwing, swimming, rowing, playing hockey etc than ever before. This has put an amazing amount of pressure on sports centres throughout the UK.
Many of the sporting facilities have been up- graded to cope with the influx of people trying to emulate their heroes from not just London, but now also the most recent games held in Rio.
This means grass tennis courts need to be in pristine condition, while hard courts probably require moss treatments to avoid slip injuries.
Sports pitches are being well used, and as we enter the winter sports season, it is time for autumn fertiliser treatments, and perhaps, weed control where necessary.
Cricket renovations have begun and in some cases are now finished, so it is flat-out to make hay while the sun is still shining, some of the time anyway!
Summer has been somewhat of a wash out for many of us. We have all had our fair share of wet weather as well as good warm and sunny days. This has led to a jungle like scenario, especially on hard surfaces, where only spot treatment of glyphosate is permitted. A weed can germinate the day after an application and become up to ten inches high in just a fortnight.
This gives the impression to councillors and public alike that no one is applying herbicide to these areas, which is far from the truth.
We are also entering our second leatherjacket season without anything no longer powerful enough on the market to control the damaging larvae. Following the recent announcement regarding Carbendazim, Turf Managers are in for a very hard time in the next few years, trying to protect their hallowed surfaces from the ravages of insects and other creatures.
With regards to beneficial nematodes, these are available and can be applied by sprayers.
However, many factors need to be kept in mind when applications are required. This is also due to the cost of these applications, which don't come cheap.
You must pay attention to the soil temperature, keep the nematodes refridgerated on delivery, use a large water volume when applying, use a wetter, and irrigate after application. Spiking would also be beneficial prior to the application.
If you are unfortunate to have both, then you need to use both products. This is an even pricier affair.
The industry will have to keep learning about these applications and how effective they are being or otherwise. It will be prohibitive to spray golf fairways, so it will be necessary to keep a close eye on suspect areas and then treat with a more localised and targeted approach.
When it comes to the CAA, and preventing 'bird strikes' at airports that put lives in danger, then someone in authority needs to be thinking outside the box on this scenario to come up with a scheme that allows a window of maybe a month in the winter to apply an insecticide. Or in other words, bring back Chlorpyrifos, but in a highly controlled and policed way.
Wherever you look in this industry, there is a struggle occurring trying to cope with all that nature throws at us with a massively reduced arsenal to choose from. So whatever happens, we must defend the pesticides we have available today, by applying them all within the law as it stands and ensuring that the application equipment is fit for purpose.
It is also worth alerting all of you that have boom sprayers that they need to be NSTS tested by 26th November. There are many new test stations around the country, but it's definitely now time to arrange for the visit. Trying to get the sprayer fit for the test as far as possible will reduce the cost. A good idea would be to try and join with your neighbouring facilities and make the tester have a full day at one place to reduce the costs further?
Complete Weed Control franchisees are able to assist and help with all the above situations referred to in this article. This includes quoting for the supply and application of the Nemasys products after a problem has been detected, be it a bowls, golf green or any sportsturf situation.
For more information, please contact Complete Weed Control's National office on 01325 324 277 or visit www.completeweedcontrol.co.uk
NEMASYS products are available from the Pitchcare shop