An influx of Perennial Ryegrass on the greens at Chestfield Golf Club in Whitstable, Kent, has been treated successfully by Rescue, Syngenta's newly-introduced selective herbicide recommended and supplied to the club by national distributor, Scotts Professional.
Used for the first time in September 2009 by course manager, Gary Mills, Rescue treatment produced noticeable die-back of the rogue ryegrass within 7-10 days. The herbicide application was followed up a week later by hollow coring, top dressing and broadcast seeding with a fescue/bentgrass mix.
"The results were impressive," says Gary. "Within a fortnight, the new seed had kicked in and was starting to fill the bare patches where the ryegrass had been. Although the greens are now a lot cleaner and smoother, the odd bit of ryegrass has re-appeared so we shall be applying Rescue again when the grass is actively growing in April or May. After that, I plan to use it annually as part of our autumn greens' renovation programme."
Described by Gary as a heavy clay parkland-style course, Chestfield is tended by a six-strong greenkeeping team including a mechanic who assists on the course at busy times. Ryegrass had been causing problems on the club's greens for several years, making them virtually unplayable when poor weather discouraged strong growth of the finer grasses.
"We'd tried various mechanical removal methods with little success and I was beginning to believe there was no cure," explained Gary. "I was then introduced to Rescue by Scotts' local technical advisor, John Noyce, who has helped us plan and implement in recent years a comprehensive fertiliser, herbicide and fungicide programme for the course."
Having studied Rescue's technical data and talked with fellow greenkeeper, Steve Smith, at a Scotts' seminar held at nearby Gillingham Golf Club, Gary decided to give Rescue a go. "Steve had been involved in the user trials and spoke highly of the product," he recalled. "Although some people might be concerned about using a selective herbicide on a golf green, I wasn't worried. Having worked on the course for more than 20 years, I feel that I know my sward well. I also trust Scotts and know they would not market a product that hadn't been thoroughly tried and tested."
Before using Rescue for the first time, Gary advised the club's committee of what he wanted to do and how the treatment would affect the greens. "The committee was very keen for us to go ahead," he said. "Prior to the spraying day, notices were put up around the club explaining what we were planning and why. The information we provided proved to be of great interest to many members who made a point of asking both myself and the other greenkeepers how the procedure was working."
Rescue was applied to all 18 greens by tractor-mounted boom sprayer on 25 September 2009 at the recommended rate of one litre per hectare, mixed in 500 litres of water. Because greens are not square, Gary used a knapsack sprayer to fill-in the unsprayed fine turf areas out to the collars.
Asked if he would do anything differently next time, Gary said that Scotts had recommended that post-Rescue reseeding was best carried out by an over-seeder, rather than by broadcasting the seed and then mixing it in with the top dressing. "We'll be using the recommended method next autumn," he said. "Other than that, it'll be more of the same treatment, which I'm confident will help promote sustained, long-term improvement of the club's greens."
Rescue is available in 1 litre bottles from the Pitchcare Shop.
For further information, visit www.scottsprofessional.co.uk, call 01423 201100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image 1: 4th green taken six weeks after application of Rescue
Image 2: 15th green and apron sprayed to highlight the difference between treated and untreated areas.