Christmas disease management choices

As we approach Christmas we hope that we are nearing the end of the difficult part of the Microdochium patch management journey and now it’s more critical than ever to stay alert to the dangers.

Different situations will require different fungicide strategies.

Leaf moisture management, appropriate nutrition, and good management practices are now critical to helping us get putting surfaces into the new year as clean as we can.

Talking to course managers it seems that most have made it this far into the season in pretty good condition but staying clean through the Christmas break is usually the final hurdle before we get into the colder month of January when the Microdochium pressure tends to reduce.

Henry and I had a chat about the challenges involved in this at length “On the horizon’s December edition” and in conclusion putting together a Christmas break plan that covers the maintenance program, staffing priorities, nutrition, leaf moisture management, and fungicide strategy is a great way to help you through.

Fungicide choice

Many people’s strategy involves a well-timed fungicide application during the run-up to Christmas to ensure they have the very best level of fungicide coverage so they can rest easy whilst enjoying their Turkey.

I often get asked what to use and now we are close enough to Christmas we can start looking at some fairly reliable weather forecasts and begin to make some decisions.

The above maps from the Met Office show how variable the temperature can be in December across the country and in different years so rather than offering some firm advice it’s better to offer some guidance to help you make a decision.

The two products I’d be considering for this period of the year are Medallion or Instrata Elite.

  • If you have active disease – I’d steer towards Instrata Elite – The systemic element of the product will help to control any disease that is active within the plant.
  • If it’s mild and you are mowing putting surfaces more than weekly then I’d steer towards Instrata Elite as the systemic activity will help give additional longevity.
  • If it’s cooler and you are clean then the extra Fludioxinil (the active ingredient in Medallion) will really help to clean the disease spores out and reduce the disease pressure helping you go into January with much lower disease pressure.

For some areas of the country:

  • Medallion is the clear-cut strategy
  • For others, it’s Instrata Elite
  • For some you’ll be sat in the middle.

Whilst Medallion will reduce active disease It’s far more effective when applied preventatively. The above slide from our presentation kit shows a trial where 2 applications applied at first signs of disease reduced disease from 25% to 10% but applied preventatively reduced disease from 25% down to 2%.

Understanding when to use different fungicide technology can seem confusing but hopefully, these simple rules will help at this critical time.

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