Jim Arthur’s Practical Greenkeeping – still relevant?

I’ve seen a lot of activity on social media celebrating Jims 100 birthday the last couple of weeks.

Several people asking “Are his views still relevant now?” Certainly his disease management views were as relevant now as they were when he wrote Practical Greenkeeping.

I’ve recently put a blog together on Biostimulants check it out here … and referenced Jim’s book Practical Greenkeeping.

Whilst flicking through I stumbled across Page 161 Fusarium Patch disease (microdochium nivale) and thought it’d be fun to see how different the advice I regularly post is now from Jims.

Well apart from the name (Microdochium patch now!) nothing has changed – still the biggest problem – although I’d say Anthracnose is getting closer.

Yes – recognise the early stages and get your fungicide on early – Fungicides have always been more effective applied earlier – they will not bring back dead grass.

Yes – climatic conditions are still the same – the difference is we sit in this optimum range longer now than we did 30 years ago. Frosts are now an unusual weather event rather than something that can be relied on.

Yes – Free draining surfaces are definitely better for both golf and disease management.

Yes – Dew management is critical – I didn’t realise Jim was an advocate of using wetting agents to do this – ahead of his game.

Yes – Acidifying fertilisers and Irons are still a critical part of your armoury. In the days pre Covid I listened to Henry Bechelet of ICL talk about this at every event we went too.

Yes – Heavy sand dressings are a killer. I talk about renovation programmes and their link to disease management regularly.

Yes – the climate we work in is conducive to disease susceptible Poa Annua and it’s a real challenge to grow other species – not impossible but a battle

Yes – Fungicides play an important role in an ITM program – Jim called it IDM – that evolved to IPM and now seems to be ITM.

Yes – Use systemics during periods of growth and contacts during periods of no growth.

Yes – Rotate the chemistry

Yes – Most complaints about fungicide are because they were applied too late of poorly applied. (how much time have I spent talking about application techniques? Turns out Jim was ahead of the game there too.

I grew up in the turf Industry a little after Jim was at his peak but was led to believe he was a controversial character, with very strong views. Doesn’t look like his disease management thoughts were too controversial. They are as relevant now as when he wrote them.

Happy Birthday Jim, wish our paths had crossed – I think I would have enjoyed a walk around a course or two with you.

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