Scotts' early trial results show benefits of integrated turf management system

The initial findings from Scotts integrated turf management (ITM) trials have proved the "synergistic" benefits of the system in combating numerous diseases.

Working with the Sports Turf Research Institute, Scotts had been trialling a range of fertilisers, wetting agents and fungicides to analyse their separate and combined effects on diseases and conditions including red thread, take-all patch, dollar spot, anthracnose, rust, drought, flooding and, in a previous trial, Fusarium.

Describing the findings of the trials, Scotts international technical manager Stuart Staples said: "We are really pleased with the results. We have found synergistic effects that demonstrate the importance of an integrated approach."

He said ITM would become increasingly important as European legislation continues to diminish the arsenal of tools that grounds managers have available to them to combat pests and diseases.

A key finding from the trials was the benefit of using slow-release fertiliser, which requires fewer applications and could be considered to be more environmentally friendly.

Staples said it was important for the industry to take the lead in striving for better environmental standards, both to show legislators that it is taking the initiative and to help improve the image of the sports turf sector in general.

He added: "Our industry is very small compared to agriculture, so it could be an easy target for legislators. We need to promote the advantages of turf to the natural environment because the alternative is no grass or synthetics. We always promote best practice and stewardship."

In the initial 12-month Fusarium trial, an integrated approach achieved an 81 per cent reduction in disease compared with using each tool individually.

This trial has now been extended to 18 months. The findings, together with those of the other eight ITM trials, will be presented by Staples at the European Turfgrass Society conference in Angers, France, on 11-13 April.

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