We’ve created a brilliant new wall planner poster to help you with planning a proactive fungicide programme for the coming winter, and it’s proving really popular. So much so that I’ve been bombarded with requests for the poster and technical guide, as well as reviewing people’s thoughts and ideas.
Why’s it so current? Well, after a superb few weeks for turf growth … even my own lawn is looking rather good!! Things are also looking great on all of the courses I’ve visited lately. What I enjoy more though is spending time catching up with the greenkeeping team…. and the question that keeps coming up recently is: ‘How soon should we start with fungicide applications, I don’t want to get caught out?’
The great thing about the question is that it shows people are increasingly looking at preventing disease before it hits turf quality. And that they are planning ahead, rather than reacting with fire brigade-actions when problems hit – as they often can.
However, whilst it would be easy to say “Do this; this and this and hey presto…” – in reality there’s no simple, or one-size-fits-all, answer. Every course is different; each faces different disease pressures every season and has different objectives for the greenkeeping team to deliver for its players.
So, the idea I had for the wall planner is that you can use the peel-off stickers supplied to highlight when you expect different diseases are likely to strike (based on your knowledge of the course and GreenCast historic disease risk records, for example), along with key dates in the year for tournaments – when you need to ensure the best possible conditions – and maintenance periods that may stress plants and trigger disease outbreaks etc.
Then you can overlay a disease prevention programme that can help to get protection in place at the optimum time to stop infection attacks affecting your turf quality.
That gives you the outline plan for your own course and is a great start, but if seasonal conditions change and the disease risk alters, you simply peel-off the stickers and move them to the most appropriate timing.
Over the seasons it will build up a really valuable picture of what works most effectively for your course. And because it’s on the wall, you can refer to it regularly and add notes or comments that will help future decisions.
The research work that we have done with Dr Ruth Mann at STRI has repeatedly shown that using fungicides as a proactive preventative approach, applied when the risk of disease is high but before symptoms are visible, maintains better turf quality and actually uses less fungicide applications over the course of the year, compared to routine prophylactic treatments or application at the first signs of disease.
We’ll be taking the Planning Your Proactive Fungicide Programme ideas to BTME in January, where you can talk to the Syngenta team about how it works and how you can use it for your course.
But if you want to get a copy sooner and start work for this winter, you can contact your ICL Area Manager, or talk to your Syngenta fungicide distributor or agronomist, who should be able to help. Alternatively, you can contact me direct by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org