The number one problem for turf production is weed control. Put simply, turf cannot be sold for maximum return if it is infested with weeds.
Customers – whether they be homeowners, landscapers or professional turf managers – will not accept weeds being transported onto their property from turf farms. It’s been said that “the quickest way to turn a big turf farm into a small one is to sell weed infested turf.”
Syngenta has a number of weed control technologies to assist turf growers in providing weed free turf and more critically, assisting in providing customers with the quality they deserve.
No single product can fix everything on its own, and the following article attempts to highlight the most efficient use of these tools to create the maximum result for the greatest turf value.
After the predominately good autumn and winter that Australia’s eastern states have experienced, there is good soil moisture. Meaning weed control should be at the top of a turf grower’s list, whether that be via pre-emergent control products such as Barricade and Pennmag or post control using either Monument or Casper. Depending upon the situation and grass type, each of these herbicides will help growers get on top of weeds this spring.
A few things to consider:
- Weeds compete for available resources: water, sunlight and nutrients
- Weeds devalue and detract from the turf’s aesthetics, preventing product being sold and impacting your brand within the marketplace
- Weeds reduce sod strength and cut stability
- Weeds will slow re-establishment of desirable species down
- Weeds germinate 12-months of the year
- Using the same control methods year after year is not sustainable, this will lead to resistance, leading to more money being used for more post control applications
- Weed management really needs to be thought-out and planned one to two years ahead to make sure the above does not happen on your farm
Product selection is critical as is keeping to best practise with the application, water rates, nozzle selection, wash in and most importantly timing.
Syngenta has solutions for most situations for both post and pre-emergent weed control. This allows for the development of sustainable and responsible weed control programs that minimise applications required to keep a grower’s farm weed-free 12-months of the year.
In turf production, pre-emergent control is your best option as these products reduce seedbanks year-on-year and can be used across a broad range of grass species. Having said that, it is post-emergent solutions that will enable the sale of turf for maximum value.
Post-emergent solutions: CASPER & MONUMENT
With the combination of Casper and Monument most weeds including grasses and broadleaf weeds will be controlled.
Casper: Your difficult to control broadleaf weed specialist.
Takes the hassle out of controlling weed infestations; a unique and cost-effective control option in one application. Developed specifically for turf, Casper uniquely combines the power of Prosulfuron and Dicamba, which delivers knockdown and kill of even hard-to-control broadleaf weeds such as Khaki weed.
These two active ingredients operate at different speeds within the target. Dicamba is the faster of the two and the early results observed can be attributed to it. Prosulfuron is slower but extremely effective in delivering the complete kill. Together they are perfect partners for broadleaf weed management.
- They are perfect partners, selected specifically for complementary action.
- Dicamba makes the target try to grow at an accelerated and uncontrolled rate to kill the weed. This rapid growth response places considerable pressure on the supply of critical amino acids that support it. (NB: Dicamba is not suitable for use on Buffalo species, Stenotaphrum Secundatum).
- Prosulfuron cuts the supply of those critical amino acids starving the target of these desperately needed proteins, leading to complete control of target weeds.
Product is both leaf and root absorbed with movement through both the Xylem and Phloem.
CASPER not only controls hard to kill weeds, but innovation via pack size and formulation offers a lot of additional benefits:
- Innovative packaging: Casper comes in a 1 kilogram (kg) container. Reducing the need for the use of 15 – 20kg herbicide packs.
- Improved HSE profile: Casper is a WG (Water Dispersible Granule), greatly reducing the risk of spillage, wastage, and splash back.
- Reduced rates compared to traditional product: That can use up to 6.5 litres per hectare compared to the 1.5kg maximum rate for Casper.
MONUMENT: If you want to clean up a paddock, then MONUMENT is your go-to herbicide.
Monument is the heavy hitter when it comes to the control of grasses, sedges and broadleaf weeds in one product. (NB: Always read the label to ensure it is safe to use on your grass species.)
If you are growing any Cynodon and Zoysia turf varieties, then Monument should be kept close by.
Monument also has for many years been the standard go-to for persistent problems such as Kikuyu evasion. It has full systemic action (xylem and phloem) with root, shoot and leaf uptake and is highly effective in controlling Poa annua, Ryegrass, Kikuyu, Sedges and a wide spectrum of broadleaf weeds
Monument is tank mix compatible with PENNMAG or BARRICADE to achieve post and pre-emergent control with the one application – for increased post emergent control, tank mix with Casper.
Monument – like Casper – is used at very low rates per hectare and is available in a 1 litre pack for the farm and 100 millilitre pack size for turf growers’ customers.
Pre-emergent Solutions: PENNMAG & BARRICADE
All modern turf farms, regardless of the variety grown, should have a pre-emergent herbicide program that includes PENNMAG and to a lesser extent BARRICADE.
Pennmag will allow for turf to grow into the treated zone and is an ideal option for cutting faces.
Barricade should be used when the turfgrass has established and over-wintering.
Ronstar, a trademark of Bayer, should be used when starting a new paddock from scratch.
Pre-emergent herbicides reduce the heavy reliance and need for post control herbicides.
This has the added advantage of reducing the likelihood of phytotoxicity from repeated herbicide applications. Resistance can also be better managed, especially for hard to control weeds like Poa annua.
If weeds are controlled before they become an issue, this not only reduces chemical applications on the farm over a 12-month period but, also reduces the total inputs required to grow high quality turf such as water and nutrients.
With less weeds, there is less competition for these precious and expensive resources.
Pre-emergent herbicides save time and money and when used correctly allow for turf to be sold earlier, leading to increased cuts per year.
Two of the best tools to help achieve this are:
Pennmag is recommended for use on the cutting face of the turf farm. It can be applied straight after turf has been harvested, or on recovering turf, and will last up to eight weeks in most situations.
Being a Group K, Pennmag’s ‘Mode of Action’ is mostly via coleoptile absorption to control young weed plants. This leads to a greater safety for new developing turf roots giving more flexibility during high risk periods of growing back from harvested turf.
Importantly the Pennmag formulation is an optimised S-metolachlor formulation which results in 35 per cent more herbicidal activity, than generic formulations, and importantly is turf registered therefore you can have confidence in the assigned label rates.
Syngenta discovered that the S-isomer has substantially more herbicidal activity and developed ways to optimise this formulation.
Pennmag will combat the germination of African Love Grass, Annual Ryegrass, Barnyard Grass, Burr Medic, Carrot Weed, Crowsfoot Grass, Liverseed Grass, Pigeon Grass, Summer Grass and Winter Grass.
Uptake is via the coleoptile. A protective cover that encloses the first few leaves during the emergence process.
Is the perfect pre-emergent rotational partner for Pennmag being a Group D, a non-scheduled herbicide, and the benchmark in long term pre-emergent weed control.
Barricade should be applied to established turf or planted areas ONLY for season long weed control (offering up to 6-months weed control).
Once applied it creates a:
- Shallow immoveable barrier in the soil
- Almost zero off-target movement
- High soil and UV stability
Barricade works by:
- Mitotic inhibitors
- Prevents cell division in root tips and hypocotyls
- Results in root tip clubbing of germinating weeds
- Does not prevent germination but starves seedling very early
- Barricade offers great flexibility with application:
- Re-entry period is when dry on the leaf
- Minimal PPE required
- Up to 7 days to wash in after application, (let the weather do it for you!)
GROUP D HERBICIDES
Importantly Barricade should only be applied to established turf once fully mature in order to keep the turf weed-free until sold (offering up to six months weed control).
Growers can change application rates to vary longevity of the weed control. If turf is going to be sold in three months, all that is required is a reduced rate compared to the turf that is fully mature and will be sold in six months’ time.
Group D herbicides will reduce recovering turf’s ability to “peg down” into the treated area as the plant uptake is via the roots, not the coleoptile as with Pennmag. Group D herbicides such as Barricade, and others containing active ingredients such as Pendimethalin, Dithiopyr and Oryzalin should all be excluded from management plans for cutting faces.
Barricade is now also registered for use in garden beds, which provides excellent long-term weed control, reducing the need to make multiple applications of labour-intensive knock down spray applications.
One application per season is recommended for garden beds. Barricade can be sprayed over the top of turf and ornamentals and will not burn the turf or plant species.
The above herbicides are researched, developed, and tested for use in urban horticulture and production turf farms. Improving both production and amenity in a sustainable manner and ideally reducing the number of applications required.
For the most efficient use of the Syngenta herbicides, a programmed approach will offer increased results with less applications, saving time and money on the farm.
A programmed approach will also allow for improved efficacy as smaller weeds are more easily controlled than larger ones, leading to improved outcomes for staff, the environment and, most importantly, the profitability of a farm business.
Please always read the label before use and for more information contact Syngenta or visit syngentaturf.com.au