0 Stick to contact activity to preserve turf quality

Fusarium Patch mr.jpgThe winter weather conditions have proved tough for turf, and there's more to come with rough weather conditions and high disease pressure. With turf still growing slowly, an application of powerful contact Daconil WeatherStik could see surfaces safely through to the spring.

Severe winter weather has created tough conditions for turf, compounded by extra demand for extra matches now to make up for fixtures lost to snow and frost.

The knock-on effect will inevitably be severe damage to playing surfaces already hit by Fusarium Patch and Snow Mould, and it could possibly still be four to six weeks before there is sufficient grass growth to make good repairs, warns Syngenta Technical Manager, Dr Simon Watson.

Difficult wet conditions forecast for the remainder of February and on into March offer little respite, with the GreenCast disease forecasting system predicting high Fusarium Patch risk that could further damage turf quality, with cold and persistently wet conditions in many areas proving ideal for Microdochium patch. For those areas still under snow, the development of snow mould will be a risk. Any disease scarring at this time will make turf more susceptible to wear and tear during play.

Fusarium Snow Mould trial - Untreated front Daconil surround mr.jpg"This comes on top of peaks in disease pressure in mid-January, the end of January and throughout the first week of February," adds Dr Watson. "With so much disease pathogen present on most turf surfaces and existing lesions producing yet more spores, protecting clean leaves from further infection is crucial to preserve turf quality."

Since turf growth is still very slow or non-existent, he advocates an application of the powerful contact fungicide Daconil WeatherStik during periods of high risk of disease breaking out. "In the current conditions the WeatherStik formulation is a significant advantage," says Dr Watson. "It effectively bonds to the leaf surface within an hour and doesn't wash off. It means the maximum protection remains on the leaf and minimal environmental loss."

The GreenCast web site five-day spray window forecast warns that wind and the risk of spray drift is the major factor currently limiting spraying opportunities. However, the new Syngenta Foliar Turf Nozzles that give a significant reduction in drift could provide a solution to enable more spray days.

Using the lowest permitted water volume will also enable sprayers to get around faster when conditions allow. The GreenCast spray window forecast also makes operators aware of frost that could affect early morning applications, when wind conditions are typically best.

Simon Watson H&S mr.jpgSTRI trials have shown that Daconil WeatherStik can provide the most consistent winter control of Fusarium Patch and, with reduced risk of further disease outbreaks, enable faster recovery of high turf quality in the spring.

Trials results have shown an average 88% reduction in disease with Daconil WeatherStik, which held disease at an acceptable 3% or less. Turf quality was improved by over 40% with a Daconil WeatherStik programme, compared to just 5% improvement with iprodione treatments.

"One application now should provide sufficient protection to see turf through to spring growth," according to Dr Watson. "We can but hope that the old adage of 'In like a lion, out like a lamb' holds true for March this year, and enables swift turf recovery after a difficult winter."

For further Information please contact:

Dr Simon Watson
Syngenta Golf & Landscape Technical Manager
Tel: 01223 883441
Email: simon.watson@syngenta.com

For turf specific information visit the web site www.greencast.co.uk

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