We asked experts from several leading fungicide manufacturing companies: “How important is it for sports turf managers to develop fungicide programs tailored to their specific facilities?”

LANE TREDWAY
Field Technical Manager/Syngenta

It’s very important to have a preventive fungicide program in place regardless of turf species, amount of play or management intensity of the field. Athletic fields experience a lot of wear and tear that can slow turf recovery from stress and detract from uniformity and safety, which are important for athletes. Every field differs depending on grass species, climatic conditions and intensity of use, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all program. What may be necessary for a collegiate field in Florida will be completely different for a municipal field in New York. So, it’s important for sports turf managers to identify the diseases that pose the highest risk for affecting their turf and work with their local technical manager to develop a program tailored to their needs.

ROB GOLEMBIEWSKI
Green Solutions Specialist/Bayer

Every sports facility is unique based on numerous factors: geographic location; soil type; turf species/variety; environmental conditions (including directional exposure, shade effects, rainfall, temperature and amount of traffic/wear placed on the field); and management practices such as mowing height/frequency, aeration, fertility and irrigation. All of these aspects create a unique environment predisposed to certain turfgrass diseases. In addition, the level of expectation for the field and allocated budget will often impact the ability to treat preventatively — or curatively — for given diseases. Ultimately, the development and implementation of a fungicide program must be made on a case-by-case basis for a given sports facility to be successful, both in the present as well as the future. Fungicide programs should continually be evaluated and fine-tuned based on historical disease issues, resistance management, research on disease control strategies and new fungicides entering the sports turf market.

MATTHEW WEAVER
Technical Service Advisor/Intelligro

A custom fungicide program is critical and must consider not only the way turf is managed at your facility, but also your budget. In order to develop the right program, the first step is evaluating the facility — from the turf species to environmental conditions — and the inevitable traffic and wear to which athletic fields are subjected. Whether you’ve been managing the same site for years or you’re new on the job, looking back at spray records over the last two to five years can help identify reoccurring stresses and trends. Turf managers can also look to their local university fungicide trials and research to get a better understanding of common problems in the area and effectiveness of various fungicides. This can lead to a more proactive approach to turf management, resulting in a fungicide program that’s economically viable for your facility. This approach will also produce consistently stronger and healthier turf, all season long.

KYLE MILLER
Senior Technical Specialist/BASF

Turfgrasses across the country are susceptible to diseases at some level, whether it’s a golf course, sports field or lawn. If it’s not tough enough to keep healthy turf on a sports field from normal wear and tear, we sure don’t want to lose turf to diseases that can be prevented/controlled. As a sports turf manager, staying in front of potential disease problems is key. Using historical knowledge of your turf, put together a game plan using fungicides that target the specific diseases that cause problems for you. By developing a yearly calendar with fungicide products, rates and application dates, you’ll sleep a lot better at night. And most importantly — stick to it.

TODD MASON
Account Manager & Northeast Sales/ Engage Agro USA

Weather typically drives the design basics of a spray program. Microclimates and water-holding capacity of the soil can be dramatically different at facilities only a couple of miles apart, or in some cases, right next door. Another key factor in spray program development is different varieties of turfgrass and their susceptibility to different pathogens. Modeling a spray program from a preexisting program is a great place to start, but you have control over only a few inputs that drive a plant’s ability to survive. It’s important to know your soil profile and turfgrass stand. Also, consider your irrigation capability to design a program based on your facility’s ability to manage plant health.