For golf courses that are applying more and more nematicides every year and applying more fungicides for root diseases, but still seeing their roots continue to decline, a different approach is to reduce chemical applications. Some of the nematicides used on turf also can have fungicidal and bactericidal effects in the soil. Some of the fungicides labeled for bermudagrass decline or take-all root rot can be phytotoxic. Watch your nematode counts, sample often, and sample with a plan and a consistent methodology. At courses where this has been performed, nematicides and fungicides are still being applied, but applications and results are coordinated with root performance and health. In many situations, the turfgrass improves and the roots improve. It may just be that applying less does more for getting the soil environment back in balance. Monitoring nematodes and developing a control plan is challenging, but a USGA agronomist can help you track populations and develop a customized plan for your course.
Southeast Region Agronomists:
Chris Hartwiger, director, USGA Course Consulting Service – firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Kammerer, Ph.D., regional director – email@example.com
Addison Barden, agronomist – firstname.lastname@example.org