Merit Turf update – alternative practices needed

By the end of April 2016, distributers can no longer sell Merit Turf, and end users have until the end of October to use it up. Chafer grub control is not going to be the same again, and we hear from Colin Mumford on alternative practices to help mitigate damage from the pest

Greenkeepers are going to have to look at alternative ways to control Chafer grubs and Leatherjackets moving forward, and find a way to live with the damage these insects cause… that’s the view of Dr. Colin Mumford, technical manager for Bayer.

“At the moment there’s no real change to the fact that distributors have until the end of April to sell the product, and end users have until the end of October to use it – after that supplies have to be disposed of safely,” he says. 

Cultural practices are going to have to be adapted to create conditions that are not conducive to either Chafer grubs or Leatherjackets.  Key to this he recommends:

 

  • Allowing the soil to dry out as much as is possible during the period that adults are laying their eggs.  With Chafer grubs this is from mid-May to late June, and with Leatherjackets from late August to late September;
  • Aerating the turf, wherever possible;
  • Maintaining good soil structure and
  • Controlling secondary damage from predators – most likely to be rooks and starlings or badgers, keen to eat the bugs when they are close to the surface.

 

“Damage from Chafer grubs and Leatherjackets is one thing, obviously they destroy the root system which is crucial in terms of maintaining turf health, but there can also be huge levels of secondary damage from predators ripping up the turf while they are trying to eat the insects.

“Bird scaring techniques such as propane canons, kites or flashing lights can all be used, but none of this is ideal, and is often easier said than done.  For example, for a golf course close to a residential area, canons are not going to be an answer, although they can be very effective.  They’re also not going to be popular in areas adjacent to fields where livestock is kept.”

Colin says that greenkeepers are going to have to learn to live with some of the damage, and change their maintenance practices going forward.

“Irrigation, little and often, into the top of the soil profile will help – it’s vital that the root systems have every chance to develop and grow – and everyone is going to have to consider how to deter predators.”

Colin believes that the removal of both Merit® Turf, and Chlorpyrifos, demonstrate that the regulatory authorities are taking a much stricter line on the use of these products, and that greenkeepers are going to have to start planning for a different future.

Colin and the rest of the Bayer Turf Solutions team are happy to offer advice on these issues, as well as information on general turf maintenance. Please contact the team on: tel: 00800 1214 9451 e-mail: turfsolutions@bayer.com

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MERIT® TURF contains 5g/kg IMIDACLOPRID. USE PLANT PROTECTION PRODUCTS SAFELY. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL AND PRODUCT INFORMATION BEFORE USE. PAY ATTENTION TO THE RISK INDICATIONS AND FOLLOW THE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS ON THE LABEL. TRIPLE RINSE CONTAINERS AT THE TIME OF USE, PUNCTURE AND INVERT TO DRY (MAPP 12415) (PCS 02896)