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Unusual seasonal conditions lead to Fusarium explosion

FusariumGreen keepers need to be vigilant due to increased humidity, especially in the south of the UK, as Fusarium grabs a foothold. The unseasonally mild weather has led to a rise in Fusarium explosions on many courses.

This picture, taken yesterday, shows an outbreak on a golf green. The whole of the course has been severely affected; the only real solution is reactive application of fungicide.

The outbreak was not restricted to the greens however. A thick film of dew caused by humidity and mist covered all of the course, creating ideal conditions for the Fusarium to spread.

Recent heavy rain and an inability to drain has compounded the attack in the short term also leading to logistical problems for the green staff who are unable to venture onto the soft surface of the fairways with heavy spraying equipment to administer fungicide.

Unfortunately for the greenkeeper (and we have withheld the course to save embarrassment), the fairways are predominantly Annual Meadow Grass (Poa annua) which is one of the most susceptible grass species.

Fusarium will normally be present mostly when the grass is not growing enough to recover naturally from attacks. There is therefore a need for fungicides with active ingredients that are split into Contact - applied mostly when the grass is not growing to Systemic - applied when there is some growth and a combined Contact and Systemic product to get the best of both worlds.

Systemic fungicides although more expensive per hectare offer better value for money as they get inside the grass plant to attack the disease from 'inside out' rather than a Contact that merely sits on the surface of the grass blades and literally 'dries' the fungal spores out and is then removed with mowing regimes.

Spray Fusarium with a Carbendazim (Rigby Taylor - 'Mascot Systemic') based product when the grass is growing as it's mode is systemic in action a contact fungicide when the grass is not growing, based on Iprodione, (Bayer 'Chipco Green') or a fungicide active that will do both jobs of both contact and systemic like Chlorothalonil (Bayer 'Daconil') or Funarimol (Rigby Taylor - 'Rimdin').

There are some new generation fungicides based on active Tebuconazole (Bayer 'Dedicate') or active Pyraclostrobin (Vitax 'Insignia') which are both systemic and contact in action and for use all year round no matter the weather. They last longer too.

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