|Who cares about the crooked flag when the greens are disease free?|
Here's the thing, since my last traditional pesticide application on Feb 22nd, there has been almost no disease on my greens. I'm the most surprised person really because never in my entire career have I seen something even close to this. Every day I venture out to inspect my greens I am expecting chaos, total destruction, disease apocalypse, but to my disbelief the greens continue to be more or less disease free. Aside from a few minor dollar spot outbreaks (requiring no action on my part) I have seen no disease on my greens this spring and summer.
So what am I doing that is resulting in the lack of disease? Well the honest answer is that I am doing everything. I am using every trick I have in the bag to keep my greens disease free. It's all part of my IPM plan.
Culturally I am mowing less, rolling more, watering early and following growth potential almost to the T.
|Fusarium is still there, lurking just outside of where I manage for it.|
Before I go into chemical controls I want to be clear in case any pro pesticide fanatics are reading this. I'm not saying that what I am using is controlling the disease. ISR products help the plant control the disease as does fertilizer, water and mowing practices. So go ahead and "rat me out" and see what that accomplishes.
Chemically I have continued my use of phosphite. This May I tried a new produce to me that contained silica. Oh boy, here comes the snake oil sales pitch. Nope, no sales pitch, you can figure out what to buy on your own.
|Even the "stressed" poa during seed head production is disease free. WTF?|
I did some digging online and found some interesting research articles showing silica's impact on other plants. All plants are different but hmmmm, maybe there's something here?@PenderSuper not surprised, my original research project for PhD involved silica and phosphite...... pic.twitter.com/et1xkTWovM— John Dempsey (@J_J_Dempsey) July 8, 2016
Now this is despite the weather being very "fusariumy" out. In the past with only phosphite I had always seen some fusarium activity although it was highly suppressed. This year, nothing, absolutely nothing. Not a single spec on any of my greens. WTF!
Here's my fertilizer record showing exactly what and when I applied everything this year. All numbers are KG/100m2. Last traditional pesticide app was on Feb 22nd.
So now I start to wonder. Are phosphite and silica working together? Do they compliment each other in their ISR modes of action? Am I just seeing things? Will there be negative consequences of this approach? This sure as hell is better than covering your grass in gross green pigment.
As far as my pesticide use goal setting and tracking goes I am right on track for a repeat of last year's big reduction. This is promising because if something can't be reliably repeated it's probably not worth doing. So far so good. Just to be clear the following table includes all phosphite and silica products in the cost. I could not calculate the EIQ of the silica so it is not included in the calculation. This is for 0.4ha (~1acre) of greens.
|Sustainability Metric||YTD Total Cost||Goal||Percent of Goal Used||YTD||Progress||Days ahead/behind goal||Percent of YTD||Next App Max|
|Cost Dollar Spot||$0.00||$0.00||51.51%||51.51%||188||0.00%||$0.00|
|Dollar Spot EIQ||0.00||1.00||0.00%||51.51%||51.51%||188||0.00%||0.52|
I plan to continue to use silica and phosphite through the summer and into the fall/winter. The next big test will be late August/early September as I have never made it through this period without a traditional pesticide application for fusarium patch. Fingers crossed and trying not to get too confident.
I would highly suggest that you give silica a try, a least to see if it makes a difference to your disease management strategy. This year it was the only thing I changed and I noticed a big difference. Remember, I'm not just relying on silica and phosphite and they are part of my overall IPM strategy to manage for fusarium patch on my greens.
So there, I said it, but now I'm done talking about it in case Mother Nature hears and tries to teach me a lesson about dead grass.
But then what am I going to talk about if there's no disease..... I'm sure it'll be back, it always is!