Integrated management of important turfgrass diseases and insect pests on European golf courses

Summary

This project is a joint effort by researchers and greenkeepers from the Nordic countries, Germany, Portugal, the UK, Finland and Russia, suppliers (ICL, Syngenta, Suståne, AquaYield), Golf Federations in Germany and the Netherlands and the Danish Environmental Protection Agency. It aims to investigate cultural practices, alternative products and new technologies for managing important diseases (microdochium patch (MP) and dollar spot (DS)) with no or strongly reduced pesticide inputs. In May-June 2020, field trials were established in Denmark (n=1), Norway (2), the UK (2) and Germany (2).

First-year (2020) results on rolling at Copenhagen Golf Club showed that rolling two and four times per week reduced MP from 5% (no rolling) to 2% and improved overall impression from 4 (no rolling) to 6 (scale 1-9). In 2021, no MP developed by December. First-year results with UV-C radiation at Osnabrueck GC showed that high doses (3 times per week) reduced DS and MP compared to controls. Preliminary results from 2021 showed the same trend. The fertiliser trial at Osnabrueck GC in 2021 showed the same trend as in 2020. High application of Suståne 5-2-4+Fe of 130 kg N ha-1 yr-1 reduced DS, but increased MN in autumn.

The MP trials at STRI and Landvik were expanded in 2021 with ICL fertiliser treatment. At STRI, MP affected the trial area sporadically in summer 2021 and became more prevalent in October. Fungicide and iron sulphate treatments had lower levels of disease and better turf quality than other treatments. Similar results were observed at Landvik, with MP outbreak first in September 2021.

In DS trials at STRI on red fescue, routine maintenance inputs of nitrogen significantly reduced DS. The optimal nutrient treatment for reducing DS to very low levels was in the ICL programme, which supplied nitrogen and a broad range of other plant nutrients. In Denmark, experiments with alternative products against leatherjackets on golf courses were conducted by the Danish Golf Union. Results from these trials will be disseminated in January 2022. In Finland, the company Aasatek Oy conducted experiments with entomopathogenic nematodes against chafer grubs, but unfortunately obtained no data because of a long drought in summer 2021.

Immunoassay identification of MP and DS in plant tissue and validation of ELISA prototype for MP is ongoing in Finland and Russia. The data showed recognition of MP, but not DS, the by ELISA prototype. Validation of MP ELISA prototype continues.

FACTS
Category: Disease control
Status: Ongoing
Project period: February 2020 - July 2023

Fundings (kSEK)

  2020 2021 2022 2023 TOTAL
STERF 386 322 288 178 1174
The R&A 386 322 288 178 1174
Other sources 697 692 583 110 2082
TOTAL 1469 1336 1159 466 4430

Project objectives

The overall objective of the project is to investigate cultural practices and new technologies for prevention and control of the two most important turfgrass diseases on golf course putting greens and insect pests on golf courses with a minimum use of pesticides.
Thus, the objectives of the project are:

1. To investigate the effect of cultural approaches such as rolling (microdochium patch only), UV-C radiation and alternative products against microdochium patch and dollar spot (WP1 and WP2);
2. To identify the fungal species causing dollar spot in Northern and Central Europe and investigate immonoassay for identification of Clarireedia spp. and Microdochium nivale in plant tissue and Clarireedia spp. in commercial seeds (WP2);
3. To compile a review of the management and potential innovation options of monitoring, warning and control of chafer grubs and leatherjackets on golf courses (WP4);
4. To provide technology transfer to the golf course industry, to disseminate the results from the project trough popular and scientific publications, videos and fact sheets. To participate in international seminars and meetings, which will provide exchange of knowledge
and experience among scientists, superintendents, industry, turfgrass agronomists and consultants.