December FAQs 2021

What fungicide to use running up to Christmas

Lots of questions on the build up to Christmas this year. November sat relatively cool read about that here.... well actually it wa just average but that feels cold compared to recent years.

December seemed to be warming up so what fungicide should I use in order to enjoy my Christmas break?

This is increasingly challenging as December seems to deliver increasingly high temperatures just at the time when the days are at there shortest giving us all sorts of challenges to deal with.

Worth a read but in hindsight the answer is obvious.

How warm was it this Christmas?!?

The Christmas period delivered unseasonably warm weather again and records again broken.

You can read the MettOffice's take on it here with 16.5c recorded on New years Eve.

I've had a chance to have look at the Christmas period and compare it to the the last 13 years and it is far to say it's one of the most challenging we've seen yet.

If you came through this difficult time clean then well done because that takes a lot of skill and a bit of luck.

But for some the challenges were just too great.......

Fungicides don’t work!

I’ve heard this a few times this month and I’ve also had the pleasure of talking to some people who are almost completely clean proving completely the opposite.

Of course there are many factors here, site, turf species and micro climates.

High periods of disease pressure will expose all but the most robust IPM programme.

When I get the chance to have a chat with people and look at their programmes with them there is generally some common themes.

  • Running a nutrition programme that is far to lean
  • Waiting too late to start their fungicide programme
  • Unrealistic expectations of how long fungicides will last
  • Choosing the wrong technology at the wrong time (still amazed how many people use medallion in mild conditions on active disease- wait until it’s cold and growth has slowed right down)

This list isn’t exhaustive and generally we can find ways of improving people’s programmes quite simply but it does take some thought and planning.

Fungicides are incredibly effective tools but remember if applied at the right time they’ll give you between 85% and 100% control. But to understand what that means you have to imagine what your turf would look like with NO fungicides, a good program will reduce that by 85% – 100%.

Adopting untreated control plots gives you a chance to see how much control you’re actually getting.

A fungicide can’t and won’t do all the heavy lifting by itself, if you have no other management strategies in place and you’re relying on a Fungicide to get you out of trouble, you’ll get away with it during periods of medium pressure but once the pressure ramps up, it’s highly likely you’ll perceive the levels of control you’re getting as a failure.

Read my other blog on Microdochium here - Santa brings high disease pressure. Again.

I need to aerate - can I?

We spoke alot about reducing aeration after applications of acelepryn earlier in the year.

What we should be doing now is monitoring to see how successful we've been.

Using small 1m2 sheets we should be looking to see just how effective we've been. This information will help to guide our strategy from this point forward. That strategy is different for everyone and will depend on the challenges each course has so ask yourself:

  • What is the bigger challenge - drainage or Leatherjackets?
  • Can I switch to slit tines or chisel tines?
  • And how will you know how to prioritise without monitoring?

As we move into January we should see temperatures dropping which will take the pressure of a little - worth having a listen to myself and Henry talking about the challenges January can throw at us.

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