I had the pleasure of visiting a customer last week right at the peak of the disease spike that we had before we went into this colder period and took great pleasure in looking at his Chipping green trial (I LOVE these). The last fungicide had been applied around 5 weeks earlier and we were seeing some interesting stuff. Now I wouldn't recommend a 5 week interval - I'd be pulling that into 3 weeks at this time of year but this shows what can be achieved.
Really simple: He'd split his Chipping green in half. The whole putting green was receiving a fungicide program but only one half was receiving the additional support of a 2 - 3 weekly application of a Dew suppressant, Ryder and Iron. He wanted to gauge how effective this was at lifting the turf quality during the winter.
Now I had my Hula Hoop in the car and was really excited to start flinging it about. Check out my last blog to see what I'm going on about ...
The half with fungicide only
Average : 1.22%
The half with dew suppressant, Ryder and Iron
Average : 0.02%
Using this measurement method we could quickly attach a number to the additional program to assess benefit of it in reducing disease and increasing fungicide longevity. It's clear to see that it was very worthwhile.
Fungicides are incredible tools that will reduce disease significantly, however this is a great example of how they can't do all the heavy lifting by themselves. They need good strong support packages around them to ensure we meet the incredibly high standards we set ourselves. You can't rely on them to get you out of trouble, they are part of a strategy.
- Turf needs to be healthy and in a strong position to withstand disease
- Good management practices need to be in place
- Dew or leaf moisture needs managing appropriately
- Correct fungicides, timings and rotation are required
This trial did a great job of showing us what could be achieved when the fungicide is given a little extra support, what this little trial didn't do was show us how effective the fungicide had been. We looked at this simple layout and discussed laying it out this way next year to see exactly what we get out of the fungicide.
This should add very little time and give a really good indication of just how effective these programs are. Couple that with a decent measuring system and you have a setup that will show you just how effective your management strategies are.
I talk to a lot of people about this concept - generally it's met with "no - my members wouldn't accept it". Here's a great example of how it can work - I don't believe any membership would be dissatisfied if you were using this system to finetune your program to improve their surfaces.
If you want some help setting something like this up - please get in touch.