Preparing for winter turf management
By John Hall
John Hall of Bayer Environmental Science looks at what needs to be done over the coming months and advises on his company's own range of relevant products. The difficulty for turf managers is that winters are getting milder, with fewer frosts. This means that the turf keeps growing, insects do not go into dormancy, and Fusarium Patch thrives in the cool, damp conditions.
Disease control should be of prime concern with preventative treatment a good winter preparation strategy, particularly over periods when greens may not be inspected as often as normal. With the arrival of traditional Autumn weather and approach of winter, groundsmen and greenkeepers need to prepare to move to fungicides more suited to the wetter conditions as part of their year-round turf management.
Rotating fungicides with different modes of action will also significantly reduce the risk of developing fungicide resistance.
For use in the winter months, contact fungicides also need to be extremely rainfast. Bayer's Chipco Green, with its multi-site contact fungicidal properties and is ideal as its high level of rainfastness means there is no need for dew switching on turf for 2 weeks after application. The product is recommended for use as a partner for Mildothane Turf Liquid for all year-round disease control. By using both these fungicides, you are combining two actives, with two modes of action in a strategy to avoid possible fungicide resistance.
Chipco Green has with the added benefits of being the only contact turf fungicide with label approval for the curative control of fusarium, and the only contact fungicide with approval for application via knapsacks. Knapsack application is ideal for smaller areas and for those where the use of wheeled machinery is restricted or kept to a minimum, such as on golf greens.
Wetter weather will cause an increase in the occurrence of various fungi, much to the distress of groundsmen and greenkeepers alike. However, not all turf fungi are a nuisance.
Mycorrhizal fungi develop a mutually beneficial relationship with turf roots, for effective nutrient exchange and increased resistance to drought, insect pests and disease. As a result, turf associated with Mycorrhiza tends to be healthier. These fungi are unaffected by Chipco Green.
If the weather stays mild, the worms will keep casting. As a worm-cast suppressant MILDOTHANE TURF LIQUID¨ can be used at 7.5 L/ha. But worms are not the only pests at work under the turf. Leatherjacket larvae hatch in October / November and will be feeding and growing in preparation for devastation to turf in the spring. It is therefore a good idea to monitor your turf for leatherjackets and treat if necessary. Bayer Environmental Science recommends CROSSFIRE 480 as soon as any signs of the pest appear.
The autumn months are an optimum time for growth of both turf and weeds. Active growth means the fast uptake of herbicides (such as Bayer's Spearhead) followed by efficient kill of weeds.
Pre-winter applications of herbicides offer advantages in helping to relieve the spring workload:
Perennial weeds: During the autumn, perennial weeds such as daises are channelling their resources into the perennating organs, eg daisy bulbs. This enables them to survive the winter and be prepared for new growth the following spring. A selective herbicide applied in the autumn will be translocated directly to these plant parts, resulting in a complete kill.
Annual weeds: Annual weeds have evolved to germinate, grow, flower and set seed whenever conditions are right - for many species, peaking in September. An autumn application of a selective herbicide will see off the final flush of germination of annuals.
With the wet weather that has prevailed in the UK this year, there has been unprecedented growth of moss.
SUPER MOSSTOX¨ will kill moss, but can also be combined with cultural measures as part of an Integrated Amenity Management strategy, for example reducing shade and/or compaction ready for the spring.
Bayer Environmental Science,
Tel 01635 563000
Web site www.bayer-escience.co.uk