Alan Abel, a Complete Weed Control franchisee for over 30 years, gives his take on winter spraying.
Although we are into the dark mornings and evenings, pests and diseases don't stop for a holiday- in fact, they get more active.
But due to weather conditions prevailing this autumn, spraying hours are at a premium. Therefore when a window appears, it is imperative the kit is up together and ready to go without fail. There is nothing worse than a 'spray day' appearing and a glitch with the sprayer rearing its ugly head.
This is where using an Amenity Assured contractor pays dividends in every way. Your Health and Safety is covered; your waste disposal is sorted; all COSHH and Risk Assessments are supplied.
You have peace of mind that the job has been done professionally and that the products are in the right place and working on whatever it was supposed to.
This season is turning very wet, very quickly after a reasonable Indian summer.
Remember back in July and August when you were travelling through grass areas and clouds of Daddy Long legs were flying up all over the place?
Well these critters have laid eggs in turf and these eggs are now leatherjackets. For the cost of chlorpyrifos (around £22 per hectare) it is worth including, as an insurance premium, suppressing worm casts with carbendazim. A 'wetter' is advisable and a water conditioner to ensure the correct pH is achieved (around 5.5 is preferable).
If conditions allow, you should be looking at a Disease Management Strategy combining cultural practices, spraying nutritional products which make the use of fungicides the last option.
By cultural practice, we are talking about thatch reduction, improved drainage, increased aeration, dew removal, encouragement of disease resistant grasses etc.
As far as spraying is concerned, the correct nozzles, calibration, pipework and mother vehicle must be in excellent working order.
It is proven that by instigating a strategy, spraying fungicide for disease control can be drastically reduced by using products like Turfite, Temag HPE, Seamac Ultra and similar products.
To increase the sward's health, then only use a fungicide product containing fludioxonil , propiconazole , chlorothalonil , iprodione, tebuconazole. You must be confident of the disease present to be able to choose the right Fungicide.
This is where a BASIS qualification is necessary to bring continual professional development into the industry. With so many new sports facilities opening up and the constant desire for super sports surfaces, there has never been a more important time for turf managers to present their grounds in the best way possible.
By keeping turf healthy, strong and as disease resistant as possible must be the way forward.
Complete Weed Control is able to provide all the above services throughout the UK and Ireland. Any of the company's Amenity Assured Standard franchisees are available to look at your specific site and quote for a programmed approach to fine turf.
For more information, please contact Complete Weed Control's National office on 01325 324 277 or visit www.completeweedcontrol.co.uk.