We asked experts from several leading chemical companies: What’s the most important thing athletic field managers need to keep in mind when forming a weed control program?

Jason Fausey
Director, Technical Services/T&O/Nufarm

Identification is the first step in developing a sound weed management program. Understanding the biology of the weeds present allows you to choose the most effective products and focus on the application rate and timing required to ensure success in controlling those weeds. Determining the life cycle of the key weeds and understanding the germination pattern provides direction and strategy for using both preemergence and postemergence herbicides. Keep in mind weeds are dynamic and populations shift in time toward any uncontrolled weeds. Also, remember all herbicides have strengths and weaknesses. Ideally, herbicide rotation is a critical component to providing a strong long-term weed control program.

Matt Giese
Field Technical Manager/Syngenta Turf & Landscape

While turfgrass type, field use and levels of management intensity will certainly vary, one overarching factor will result in undesirable weeds in any managed turf area — a poor stand of desirable turfgrass. The old military adage, “The best defense is a good offense,” is appropriate not only for weed control, but for all aspects of managing turf. Encouraging a healthy, dense stand of desirable turfgrass through strong agronomic practices helps reduce weed competition, overcomes minor pest infestations and aids in recovery from both environmental and wear stresses. And when the need arises for a preemerge application (i.e. Barricade), at seeding or postemerge treatment (i.e. Tenacity), or even broad-spectrum disease control (i.e. Headway, Velista), these applications will be more effective at controlling their respective targets because of reduced pest pressure because of a healthy turf sward.

Matt Weaver
Technical Advisor/Intelligro (CIVITAS)

Sustainability continues to be top of mind for those in the turf industry — including approach and products used. The tricky part can be finding a solution that’s both resourceful and effective. Sports turf managers who look to CIVITAS WEEDfree BRAND Concentrate, a fast-acting and odorless hybrid selective herbicide, will find they can enjoy the best of both worlds. The microtechnology delivery system penetrates more efficiently, resulting in significantly less active ingredients required to kill weeds. In addition, a temporary white emulsion helps managers see exactly where they have sprayed, reducing product waste or duplication of efforts.

A.J. Hephner
Midwest Market Specialist/FMC Corp.

Good game planning is an essential trait that all successful coaches who use your facilities possess. It’s just as important for turf managers to plan ahead for a successful weed control program. Often when I visit a sports facility, I’ll see detailed fertilization schedules for the year mapped out on their calendar. If nutsedge has been a problem in July in the past, why not highlight it on your calendar and be proactive in scouting and controlling it? Planning ahead may not always prevent germination, but ensures the tools to control troublesome weeds are in place and you’re not caught off guard.

Zac Reicher
Green Solutions Team/Bayer

Weed pressure is largely impacted by turf density, so maintaining healthy, dense turf is easily the most important factor when considering a weed control program. Maximize cultural practices like fertilizing, watering, mowing height and frequency, aerification, overseeding and aggressive traffic management to improve turf density. Despite the best laid management plans, damage inevitably occurs with rain games, midseason concerts, etc. Choose herbicides season-long that won’t limit potential repair efforts. Most preemergence herbicides can negatively impact reseeding, resodding or resprigging. Weeds can also be problematic after the repair, so choose postemergence herbicides carefully because they vary widely in their seedling tolerance.