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A Look Into the Future of Turfgrass Fungicides

June 27, 2019

Often times when I talk about my role as a Golf Course Superintendent to someone that does not associate with golf in any form, they think that all I do is mow grass all day.  While I do love to mow some grass, my role as a Superintendent is a very complicated one.  Unfortunately, not many people are aware of the amount of science and engineering involved in the Turfgrass industry.  One of the fun and exciting aspects of being a Golf Course Superintendent is being on the forefront of advancements with technology within the turfgrass industry.  Over the last several years we have seen exciting innovations stem from research and development being performed through turf programs at Universities such as Ohio State, Purdue, Penn State, Michigan State, and NC State.

Recently I had the opportunity to take a road trip to the Ohio State University Turf Research Center in Columbus, OH to see some exciting results of a study involving a soon to be released fungicide from the chemical company BASF.  These studies are extensive and span well over 5 years evaluating use rates, efficacy, performance, and environmental impacts to ensure that any products being brought to market are not only safe for recreation, but the environment as well.

This particular product is a new formulation of an old chemistry class called Sterol Inhibitors or Demethylase Inhibitors (DMI’s).  DMI’s were developed in the 1970’s and revolutionized plant protectants throughout agriculture due to their low use rates, cheap(er) price tag, and broad-spectrum activity (i.e. control a lot of diseases).  As you can imagine, these were used quite extensively throughout all of agriculture.  Unfortunately, overuse of these chemicals resulted in fungicide resistance being developed.  Without going down the wormhole of disease resistance, I will simply say that here at Terrace Park Country Club, we are affected by DMI resistance.

You may be asking, what’s the excitement about a new fungicide being released if we can’t use that class anyway here at Terrace Park Country Club?  Well, recent research has shown that plots known to be DMI resistant have shown no signs of decreased control with this new technology.  Due to the uniqueness of TPCC, shortly after the EPA allows it to be brought to market, we will be receiving a free one-acre trial sample to use in an effort to test its effectiveness against DMI resistant turf.  If all goes well, this means that we will have yet another tool in our arsenal to better protect our turf through the grueling summer months.  With the weather we’ve been seeing lately, we can use all the help we can get!

Scott LesChander
Grounds Superintendent

Test plots for study.  Note the disease severity at the bottom of the image.

Professor Rimelspach, Plant Pathologist at OSU, describing trial procedures/observations.

Turf Research Center at Ohio State University.

After walking out to the fields we then spent an hour in class learning about the new technology.

Turf plots at the research center simulating rough, greens, and fairway height cut of turf.

The view of campus from Turf Research Facility, part of the 261 acre Waterman Research Farm on West Campus.

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Ray Normile, 7/1/2019 3:06:56 PM EST   55555

Barry Vogelmeier, 6/29/2019 10:21:41 PM EST   55555

John Landwehr, 6/29/2019 5:25:15 PM EST   44444