Spring: The Key to a Successful Season


By: Bob Windsheimer, Vice President

As the season starts and we look forward to warmer weather, now is the time to set up and plan out applications that kickoff the season.

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite disease - Dollar Spot. Control of this disease is greatly enhanced by applying a systemic fungicide after the second true mowing, which means the second time you need to cut the grass. Research shows this practice is very successful in keeping dollar spot in check longer into the season and minimizing disease severity later in the season. Products that work well in this application include Tourney, Curalan, and Eagle. 

This is a critical time of year for weed control. Using the right preventative product can minimize weed outbreaks for the entire season. Using a product like Dimension or Barricade this time of year can not only control crabgrass, but also other weeds like Goosegrass, Henbit, Barnyardgrass, and Annual Bluegrass when applied prior to soil temperatures hitting 55-58˚F for five consecutive days. To increase efficacy, split applications can enhance the duration of control. If crabgrass control has been an issue for you when using a granular application in the past, consider using a smaller particle size product (lower SGN number). The smaller particle size offers more particles per area at a similar application rate. The switch from a standard size 230 SGN product to a 150 SGN material results in 3.2 times as many particles while applying the same amount of material. More particles means better coverage for you, and the result is better control!

As for insects, annual bluegrass weevil is a very difficult to control insect. Due to multiple generations and sometimes hard to diagnose symptoms (drought-like effects on shorter cut turf adjacent to higher cut turf), a programed application is the best method. Starting the season controlling migrating adults coming out of overwintering areas with a pyrethroid (Talstar or Scimitar) after full bloom of Forsythia and before the Bracts appear on a Flowering Dogwood. While a spray applied product works great in this application, more are using granular pyrethroids as this type of product works into the thatch / mat layer and persists longer than the spray product. Then, be sure to follow up with an application of a longer-lasting product to minimize sequential larval hatches, such as Acelepryn, Aloft, and Arena. During the early summer, another adulticide is recommended. Where many consecutive years of pyrethroids are applied, it is recommended to rotate in applications of either Chlorpyrifos or Conserve. Conserve consists of a unique chemistry that works both by ingestion or contact with the insect and does not carry a signal word due to its low toxicity.

Last, but not least – fertility. Starting the season with ammonium sulfate or a magnesium-based fertilizers aid the plant in greening up without pushing top growth and stressing the plant. Then work the soil to continue feeding the plant before seasonal stresses occur. For the golf customers, utilize a growing degree model for your seedhead suppression application. For the Lawncare applicators – calibrate your machines now before the season starts.

Work with your WSI Territory Manager today to setup your season and plan applications based upon your specific needs!