• Bayer Links

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Has your Green become Rough?

Damage lurking below the surface


There are a host of turf diseases that can wreak havoc with playing surfaces, whether on golf courses, football pitches or racecourses, making the surface dangerous for both players and in the case of racecourses, horses, and rendering it unplayable. This often leads to an expensive and time consuming repair with the provision of new turf that in turn may become re-infected.

Chafer grubs and the damage they can cause.

Damage caused by birds hunting for chafer grubs under the
unstable turf.
Visible manifestation of damaged areas on the surface is very often only a symbol of the much more insidious pests that hide underneath and in the worst cases random sections of grass within a pitch or course can peel away from the soil immediately below like loose carpet tiles separating from a floor. One of the most pernicious of these pests is the chafer grub. Small, but very destructive, this beetle grub likes nothing more than to consume the roots of the turf and effectively kill the grass from underneath. The adult beetles are widespread and burrows into the turf laying its eggs close to the surface. When the grubs hatch they start to feed immediately, attacking and killing the turf roots.

What you can do?
The treatment is simple and effective but key to this is an annual application of Bayer’s ‘Merit® Turf’ to control the grub and prevent re-infestation. By applying the ‘Merit® Turf’ treatment every year you’ll help keep your turf in peak condition and overcome the need to identify the individual species of this highly damaging pest.

James Hadlow, Bayer’s Commercial Technical Manager explains that Chafer grubs are a real concern.

There are four common species in the UK. The most important species which can cause damage are the Garden (Phyllopertha horticola), Welsh (Hoplia philanthus) and Summer (Amphimallon solstitialis) Chafers. The Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha), commonly known as the May bug, is the largest, but occurs more sporadically.

According to James, turf professionals often don’t realise that they have a problem. Often the first they know of the problem is when they see damage to the turf and at that point it’s too late. The visual damage has by that stage often been exacerbated by predators such as foxes, badgers and birds, scratching away at the surface and the loose turf in an attempt to eat the grubs.

Covering all the bases.
The key for turf managers is to understand the varying lifecycles of these insects. The Cockchafer can take up to four years to go through one lifecycle. The Garden Chafer in one year, the Welsh Chafer, in two and the Summer Chafer also about two.

With this in mind, James recommends that turf managers apply Bayer’s ‘Merit® Turf’ when they start to see the beetles laying their eggs, which occurs anytime between the end of April to the end of June. An annual application ensures all the species and their different lifecycles are covered .

Some grubs present in the soil now would be eggs laid in the spring of 2011. Alongside those, you might find larger grubs that were eggs laid in the spring of 2010. Merit® Turf won’t control these larger grubs. In fact, by the time the grubs have reached this size, the damage will have been done. This is why it’s important to understand the pest and their lifecycle and to treat annually.

The beetle is very mobile, flying across large areas and an ongoing annual application of ‘Merit® Turf’ also ensures your golf course or racecourse, often relatively small in comparison to the surrounding untreated area, remains pest free, despite its proximity to local contagious areas.

Merit® Turf should be applied evenly across the whole turf area and thoroughly watered to ensure the active ingredient penetrates through the thatch into the root zone. Its systemic nature means that when the grubs eat the roots, they absorb the product, stop feeding and die.

[ last update: Monday, November 18, 2013 ]