Warmer soil temperatures and some bright sunny days have seen the start of spring growth on many turf surfaces, and brought out the mowers for the start of the cutting season. But with cool nights and still the potential for a cold snap, damage to leaf tips caused by cutting will be slow to heal and may leave plants more susceptible to disease attack, warns Syngenta Technical Manager, Dr Simon Watson.
"At this time of year turf managers need to switch to systemic fungicides to avoid the problem of contact only protection being mown off as the leaf grows," he advises. "In cooler spring conditions, the fast acting Banner Maxx will be the systemic of choice to counter Fusarium Patch and foliar disease attacks at this time of year."
The active ingredient, propiconazole, is readily absorbed and moves quickly within the leaf, when other systemic fungicides may be too slow to get going. The Maxx formulation, designed specifically for turf applications, is extremely gentle on tender new spring leaf growth. The fast uptake minimises the risk of Banner Maxx being washed off by April showers.
Dr Watson also highlights the importance of sharp mower blades and correct set up to achieve a clean cut and minimise damage to the leaf tip. "Abrasive effects of worm casts and overwinter mud smears can quickly take the edge off recently sharpened blades. The process of lowering cut height with each cut puts extra stress on plants when reserves are low and also exposes a new part of the leaf to infection each time."
He advocates turf managers avoid lowering the height of cut too quickly until growing conditions improve and ensure their Integrated Turf Management plans are designed to minimise stress on the plants, including providing sufficient nutrients and trace elements to stimulate growth.
Wait to regulate turf growth Even though turf is beginning to actively grow, Dr Watson urges turf managers to hold off starting Primo Maxx growth regulation programmes too early. "You really need to be seeing a week to 10 days of consistently strong turf growth and warm soil temperatures to get the best effects," he advises.
To avoid any check to fine turf surfaces he recommends initial Primo Maxx applications on tees and greens should be made at 50% of the rate that will be used through the season; typically starting at 0.2 l/ha on fine turf surfaces and increasing to 0.4 l/ha for subsequent applications.
For further Press Information please contact:
Dr Simon Watson
Syngenta Golf & Landscape Technical Manager
Tel: 01223 883441
For turf specific information visit the web site www.greencast.co.uk