FTGA Highlights: Part I
The Florida Turfgrass Association's (FTGA) Annual Conference and Show was held several weeks ago in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. In the previous Florida regional update, John Foy mentioned some interesting information on the future of methyl bromide, discussed by Dr. Bryan Unruh. Several other turf management topics were discussed as well, and a few of the highlights included:
- Dr. Billy Crow presented data on several new effective products that may soon be available for managing nematodes on golf courses. For years, Dr. Crow has evaluated Nemacur (fenamiphos) alternatives, since it is no longer available for golf courses; but he has had limited success. Curfew (1,3-D) is generally effective, but can only be applied once yearly. Dr. Crow recently has been working with a biological organism called Pastueria usgae (named after the USGA, since it was discovered under a USGA research grant). Excellent results were observed in greenhouse trials, but mixed results occurred in field trials. A new company is working on improving methods for applying the organism that may improve efficacy. Other products are providing excellent results, but due to licensing agreements, they cannot be discussed at this time. Dr. Crow is hopeful that commercial products will be available within the next two to three years.
- Dr. Barry Brecke mentioned that the herbicide MSMA may have a slight reprieve in its removal from the turf market. It was due to be removed this year, but the manufacturer is challenging the EPA to save the chemical. There are alternative herbicides for many weeds that MSMA controls, but they generally are more expensive. Also, several major weeds cannot be controlled with other products, and they include dallisgrass, thin paspalum, bull paspalum and tropical signalgrass. As a result, maintaining good golf course playing conditions with fewer tools will be much more difficult with the loss of MSMA.
- Water quality and conservation was discussed by several speakers. Water is one of the most important issues facing golf course superintendents, and restrictions seem to be tightening each year. I was excited to learn of a resource offered by water management districts throughout our region. A mobile irrigation laboratory will provide a free evaluation of your irrigation system. Simply request an evaluation from your water management district to see how you can make your system as efficient as possible.
The FTGA conference is one of many educational conferences that USGA agronomists attend each year to provide golf courses with cutting edge information on improving playing conditions and the environment. These same opportunities are available for golf course superintendents as well, and it is important to support their education, as your golf course will reap major benefits.
Source: Todd Lowe, firstname.lastname@example.org or 941-828-2625