In terms of mowing schedules and weed growth, this is normally a quiet time for greenkeepers and groundsmen. The problem, as John Hall of Bayer Environmental Science points out, is that winters are getting milder with very few frosts; the turf therefore keeps growing, insects do not go into dormancy and Fusarium Patch thrives in the cool, damp conditions.
Disease control should therefore be of prime concern. A preventative treatment of a contact, rather than a systemic, fungicide is a good strategy, particularly over periods when greens may not be inspected as often as normal. But, with the increased likelihood of wetter days, make sure that the product you choose has good rainfast qualities.
If the weather stays mild, the worms keep casting and a worm control agent will still be needed. However, worms are not the only pests at work under the turf.
Leatherjacket larvae hatch in October / November and will start over-winter feeding and growing, resulting in devastation to turf in the spring. It is therefore a good idea to monitor turf for leatherjackets using a suitable insecticide. Look at products, such as Bayer Environmental Science’s Crossfire 480 (primarily a leatherjacket control) and Mildothane Turf Liquid (for worm control) that have tank mix compatibility, thereby giving efficient treatment of both pests in one application
Mild, wet weather will also mean growth of moss. Treatment with a surface biocide and moss killer will be a first line approach but, if it is a recurring problem cultural measures, such as reducing shade and/or compaction, should be considered.
Bayer Environmental Science www.bayer-escience.co.uk
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