Industry advancements in insect and disease control give sports field managers additional options for combating attacks on their turf. Suppliers shared information on recent introductions that should be considered when developing this season’s pest management program.

Scouting, monitoring, sampling, record-keeping and predictive models are all part of the integrated pest management (IPM) techniques sports field managers use to determine if and when control applications are needed. Improved access for tracking growing degree days (GDD) and plant phenology models assist in developing the appropriate application schedule for the targeted insect or disease when control products are necessary. State, university or local cooperative extension service turfgrass specialists are a prime resource for how this location-specific information impacts optimal application timing for target pests, and for resistance management issues in insect and disease control, as well.

For the most effective results from any control product application, read the entire product label carefully, observe all precautions and follow directions. Pay close attention to pest-specific instructions for maximum control.

Talstar, a proven, long-lasting control for surface-feeding insect pests, is now available as Talstar EZ with Verge, a clay-based carrier that provides uniform application across the treatment area, is non-staining and virtually dust and odor-free.

Talstar EZ with Verge

In October 2010, FMC Professional Solutions ( introduced Talstar EZ granular insecticide on Verge, a clay-based granule from Oil-Dri Corp., experts in microparticle technology and longtime provider of Pro’s Choice products for sports fields.

FMC Product Manager Adam Manwarren says, “Verge is a very uniform clay-based granule, basically the same in both size and shape, so it provides a very uniform spread pattern. Granules uneven in size and shape have differing surface areas, thus differing amounts of active ingredient, and the larger size granules fly farther from the impeller, resulting in uneven distribution of not only the granules, but the active ingredient. We tested the Verge ballistics extensively, and regardless of the distance from the rotary spreader’s impeller, the granules were uniformly applied across the treatment area. The granules have a hard outer shell that resists attrition and minimizes dust, yet the granules also disintegrate rapidly into thousands of microparticles when watered in. The product is non-staining and virtually dust and odor-free.”

Talstar EZ with Verge is labeled for use on landscapes and turf, including parks, recreational areas and athletic fields, and can be used for perimeter, broadcast or mound treatment. Manwarren says, “While the carrier changed, the Talstar active ingredient remains the same, bifenthrin, a pyrethroid [Group 3], that delivers proven, long-lasting control for surface-feeding pests including tough pests like chinch bugs and billbugs.”

Zylam 20SG Systemic Turf Insecticide from PBI/Gordon Corp. controls both leaf and root-feeding insects.

Zylam 20SG Systemic Turf Insecticide

PBI/Gordon Corp. ( announced the EPA registration of their new Zylam 20SG Systemic Turf Insecticide in October of 2010. Jim Goodrich, turf and ornamental product sales specialist, says, “Zylam 20SG contains dinotefuran [Group 4A], a next-generation neonictinoid, which controls both root and leaf-feeding insects and is highly effective on some of the harder-to-control pests. For those in the southern region, the main target pest might be mole crickets; for the northeast it could be annual bluegrass weevil; or for the west it could be the crane fly. A key attribute of Zylam 20SG is the high solubility of the granular formulation, which leads to rapid systemic activity. In basic terms, it gets inside the plant quicker and, thus, provides more rapid control.”

Goodrich notes that for optimum control the application schedule should coincide with the most vulnerable stage of the pest. He says, “For example, for control of grubs, billbugs and the annual bluegrass weevil, applications should be made prior to or during egg hatch of the target pest. Along with standard IPM procedures, consult with your state university or local cooperative extension service turfgrass specialists for the specific timing for your target pest as related to the GDD and plant phenology models for your area.”

Goodrich notes that a liquid formulation of Zylam, listed for tree and shrub insect pests, which will be available in the summer of 2011, will be labeled for use around athletic fields.

Renown Fungicide from Syngenta is a broad-spectrum product containing the active ingredients of both Daconil and Heritage, thus providing both systemic and contact modes of action.

Renown Fungicide

In October 2010, Syngenta (www.syngen announced that Renown Fungicide had received U.S. EPA agency registration for use on golf courses and other professional turf sites, including professional and collegiate athletic fields. As with all products, review the label for use restrictions. Check with your state or local cooperative extension turfgrass specialist to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your location.

Renown is a broad-spectrum fungicide, the only product containing the active ingredients found in both Heritage and Daconil fungicides; proprietary azoxystrobin from Syngenta [Group 11] and finely milled chlorothalonil [Group 5], thus providing both systemic and contact modes of action. Exhibiting both preventive and curative properties, it helps control key plant diseases including dollar spot, brown patch, gray leaf spot, algae and anthracnose.

Dan Steltz, market manager for the greenhouse, nursery and professional lawn care markets, including sports fields, notes that proprietary “stick and spray” technology helps keep Renown on the leaf surface longer, even after irrigation or rain events. Renown also performs well during summer conditions of heat and stress.


Bayer Environmental Science professional products ( introduced Nortica, its first natural product, in February. Nortica contains the bacteria bacillus firmus. When temperature activated, the bacteria in Nortica colonize and grow around the root, providing a living, preventative barrier for nematode protection. Nortica serves as competition for parasitic nematodes trying to access plant roots, interrupts the signaling responses from plant exudates, and has a negative impact on nematode eggs and J2 larvae. Additionally, Nortica induces production of indole-acetic acid, a root growth-promoting hormone, which generates greater root depth, improving turf quality and density.

Nortica comes in an easy-to-spray, 5 percent wettable powder formulation that does not require field closure or put turf at risk through difficult procedures such as slit injections and soil fumigation. The best treatment timing is in the spring when roots are forming, with application made when low temperatures reach 60 degrees or higher for three consecutive days. Through its multiple modes of action, Nortica provides long-lasting nematode protection and the added benefits associated with healthier plants – reduced input costs with less water, fertilizer and labor required.

Companion Biological Fungicide from Growth Products contains the GB03 strain of bacillus subtilis that controls soilborne and foliar diseases through multiple modes of action.

Companion Biological Fungicide

In February, Growth Products ( announced the registration of its Companion Liquid Biological Fungicide for turfgrass and landscape use in California. Keith Giertych, technical soil agronomist, says, “It has a 2-3-2 fertilizer component and contains the environmentally friendly GB03 strain of bacillus subtilis, which prevents and controls plant soilborne and foliar diseases through multiple modes of action. It produces a broad-spectrum iturin antibiotic that kills pathogens by disrupting their cell-wall formation. It triggers a beneficial induced systemic resistance (ISR) by stimulating the plant’s phytohormones and natural immune system to better resist diseases. Companion’s fast-colonizing beneficial rhizobacteria stimulate root growth and promote turf vigor while also crowding out plant pathogens.”

Companion is an effective stand-along biological fungicide and a beneficial “companion” fungicide when tank-mixed with chemical fungicides, or used in rotation with other fungicides, as part of the total IPM program. Giertych says, “Its multiple modes of action help minimize the chemical resistance issue. For the most effective results, make preventative applications of Companion early in the season so it is actively working in the plant before a disease attacks.”

CedarCure from ICT Organics is a natural cedarwood oil formulation for insect control that is classified by the EPA as a “Minimum Risk Pesticide.”


New for 2011 from ICT Organics ( is CedarCure. It’s an organic insecticide exempt from federal registration under section 25(b) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Section 25(b) products are classified as “Minimum Risk Pesticides” because their ingredients, both active and inert, are demonstrably safe for the intended use. CedarCure is labeled for use on turf for a wide range of insect pests, including white grubs, mole crickets, armyworms, billbugs, chinch bugs, European crane flies and sod webworms.

Company president, William R. (Bill) Skerrett, says, “The primary target pest for CedarCure is larval stage insects in the soil, such as white grubs. Exposure to the cedarwood oil formulation immediately triggers the erosion of the exoskeleton of insect eggs and larvae, which results in their dehydration, subsequently rendering their prelife status DBH (dead before hatch). While CedarCure has no effect on beneficial insects like ladybugs or butterflies, the aroma of cedar is lethal to nonbeneficial insects.”

All insects breathe through their bodies; therefore, the CedarCure scent is absorbed directly into the body affecting the insect’s neurological or biological systems, causing paralysis, confusion, death or flight. Skerrett says, “CedarCure stifles the ability of the insects’ receptors to detect food, mates and to reproduce. When comfort levels are destroyed, insects become overwhelmed and relocate. Insect displacement interrupts the egg laying cycle eliminating a new generation of arthropod. So applying CedarCure consistently and persistently will create a barrier of re-entry and increase the desired results: no pests.”


In 2010, FMC Professional Solutions introduced its first completely natural insecticide, Topia. Manwarren says, “Topia features a patent-pending, proprietary blend of plant-derived oils that includes Geraniol, a grass extract with well-documented insecticidal properties. It delivers quick contact control of insect pests, including ants, flies, cockroaches and moths. With a 25(b) exempt registration status, considered by the EPA to be ‘Minimum Risk,’ it can be applied virtually anywhere, indoors or out, including at schools and sports complexes where use of some control products is restricted.”

Available in liquid and aerosol formulations, Topia has a low potential for staining and a mild cedar aroma that quickly dissipates.

The author is a contributing editor for SportsField Management.