The fusarium battle continues into the winter for Cathcart Castle Golf Club
Fusarium disease (Microdochium patch) is a year round battle on some greens as David MacLaren, Head greenkeeper at Cathcart Castle Golf Club on the south side of Glasgow knows too well.
David warns that "if this winter is set to follow the same patterns as the previous two, then greenkeepers will have to make sure they allocate plenty of time in their winter maintenance schedule to fungicide application."
‘The fusarium season’ is a term commonly used to describe the wetter, cooler time of the year following the golf season when greens are being renovated and fungal turf disease is most prevalent. However in David’s case, Fusarium is something that he has to continue dealing with throughout the winter too. He explains that "the freezing temperatures and regular snow cover of the winter can often produce an outbreak of fusarium (microdochium nivale). The disease requires cool, wet weather, and commonly develops during periods of snow cover, with symptoms of the disease becoming evident as the snow melts." David notes that "Up here in Glasgow, it’s always wet. The west of Scotland’s very damp compared to the east, and it does get very cold during the winter. This means that we have to be constantly prepared for the onset of fungal turf diseases in the winter months, as well as the late summer and autumn."
David MacLaren, Head greenkeeper at Cathcart Castle Golf Club
It is for this reason that David chooses to take a largely preventative approach to control the disease. "I’d always suggest spraying the whole green" comments David; "you can spot treat it, but that’s not ideal, because as soon as you see the first signs of the disease, you can be sure that it will soon spread. Also, the scars left by microdochium nivale in particular take a very long time to heal. Spraying the whole green when conditions are ideal for fusarium development is the best way to prevent the disease from occurring - that’s what I’ve been doing for thirty years and it works."When choosing an appropriate treatment, David explains that; "we’ve tried a lot of different fungicides, but we always go back to Bayer’s Chipco® Green, because it’s tried and tested, I know what I’m getting and I can put my trust in the formulation. In our case it’s particularly useful due to its quick rainfastness. The weather here is so unpredictable, but I know that with Chipco® Green, even if within an hour or two of application, the heavens can open, the fungicide won’t get washed away. The other great thing about Chipco is that it can be applied up to four times a year. Many other fungicides can only be applied twice and when you have to deal with the threat of fusarium all year round, that’s an important factor."
Fusarium (microdochium nivale) outbreak with mycelia