Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Turf renovation demands fusarium strategy
Stressed greens are open to disease attack and turf renovation provides an ideal environment for fusarium (microdochium patch) to thrive, making a strategic fungicide approach more important than ever.
It’s a particular risk associated with turf renovation.
Dr. Ruth Mann, Head of Turfgrass Protection at STRI states; “at this time of year, most greenkeepers will be looking at renovation and this can easily impact disease levels.”
She explains that the process of opening up the turf, combined with the rapid growth of new grass increases the chances of fusarium dramatically; meaning that a strategic approach is vital.
“Prior to this time of renovation, greenkeepers should be implementing a preventative approach to fusarium. Ideally the fungicide should be applied at least three days before the renovating starts.” Pro-active fungicide applications before starting renovation will minimise the risk of extensive turf damage as it helps to prevent spore germination or the early stages of fungal growth into the grass plant.”
Dr. Mann explains that this will prepare the turf for the subsequent activity on the greens. “Hollow coring and deep aeration, for example, will enhance air exchange and increase the microbial activity. This will result in the release of nutrients which can increase grass growth and make the turf more susceptible to fusarium attack.”
She adds that in addition, if a top dressing is then applied to the turf, it acts as an ‘insulator’ creating warm conditions ideal for disease development. Furthermore, the action of aeration and cutting also damages the leaf blades and inflicts stress on the turf. This means that individual plants are exposed to infection.
However, Dr Mann says that a preventative approach is not always adopted. “Some greenkeepers will insist on waiting for the first visible signs of fusarium disease and if this is the case then an early curative approach as soon as symptoms are identified must be taken, with a fungicide treatment such as Chipco® Green – offering good curative properties - being particularly important. However, Dr Mann stresses that for optimal control and recovery to be achieved with a curative application, it should be done at the very first sign of fusarium patch.
There are a great number of turf fungicides on the market, and according to Bayer’s national account manager Dave Orchard it’s important to recognise that they do act in different ways.
“In turf situations, contact acting treatments tend to be favoured as they literally work ‘on contact’, clinging to the leaf surface without being transported around the plant. “This means that it doesn’t rely on an actively growing plant to be effective,” he explains.
“But what is really essential to consider is the particular fungicide properties, which will be ‘preventative’, ‘curative’ or ‘eradicant’ or occasionally all.
“Only a curative or eradicant fungicide will treat an existing outbreak of disease and stop the developing disease already present,” says Dave. “As preventative fungicides only inhibit new spore germination, they should be applied well in advance of symptoms becoming apparent.”
He adds that fungicides which have preventative, curative and eradicant effects are extremely versatile as they can be used either before or after the disease becomes visible to the naked eye. “It can take as little as six hours for microdochium nivale spores to germinate and infect. Therefore speed of treatment is vital in tackling the problem.”
Dave Orchard, comments; “There are currently three contact acting active ingredients available for use on turf in the UK; chlorothalonil, fludioxonil and iprodione. However, only iprodione has preventative, curative and early eradicant effects against fusarium, the most common disease in the UK and Ireland.”
Iprodione is the key active ingredient found in Bayer’s Chipco® Green. It has the broadest spectrum label of any contact acting fungicide on the market and is approved for six of the UK’s most common turf diseases. Chipco® Green offers unrivalled versatility and is the only pure contact acting fungicide with curative and early eradicant activity. It is for this reason that even after thirty years in the market, it is still the number one choice for turf managers.
According to Dave the product’s appeal is yet to be bettered; “The product has huge versatility and its’ popularity is unwavering.”