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July 2019

Stewarding Chemistries for Long-Term Success

By Lane Tredway, Ph.D.
Senior Technical Representative
Turf, Syngenta

Despite the number of products available to control pests in golf course turf, it’s rare to see new products that use a new mode of action (MOA), which is the mechanism that inhibits pest growth. In the turf market, there are approximately 40 fungicide active ingredients (AI) and 70 unique AI combinations, but there are only 16 unique MOAs.

In the past few years, there has been an influx of AIs into the market belonging to the SDHI (succinate dehydrogenase inhibitors) class of chemistry, including fungicides like Posterity and Xzemplar, and nematicides like Indemnify. These products use similar MOAs to attack pathogens and each took significant amounts of time and resources to develop. According to CropLife International, discovery and development of a new product with a new AI costs around $286 million and takes approximately 11 years. Given this cadence of new innovation, it’s essential for superintendents to properly steward these products.

If a pathogen becomes resistant to an AI after repeated exposure, it is likely to become resistant to all products employing that same MOA. To help protect against resistance, superintendents should take care to rotate and/or tank-mix products with different MOAs.

With so many products available, it can be challenging to develop a rotation schedule that effectively manages resistance long-term. So, developing a pre-season agronomic program is critical for building a solid foundation. Planning ahead also allows for increased savings during fall early order programs. Many manufacturers offer free programs based on geography and turf type that help superintendents rotate products, identify key pests, and prepare turf to perform well during high-stress periods. Visit GreenCast

Online.com/Programs to see sample programs.
For disease control, using products that attack fungal cells at multiple sites, like Daconil Action and Secure Action fungicides, are pivotal parts of a long-term strategy. Known as multi-site inhibitors, these products are significantly less likely to develop resistance than fungicides that only work at a single site. They can also be applied more frequently, which makes them foundational for agronomic programs.

Multi-site contact fungicides are particularly important for dollar spot control. Currently, six chemistries are primarily used to control this disease, including the popular SDHI chemistries, and four carry a medium to high risk for resistance. Knowing this, superintendents should not make more than two sequential applications of the same chemistry and rotate them with low- or medium-risk chemistries.

Lastly, superintendents should aim to make preventive rather than curative applications. Pests are easier to prevent and preventive strategies save valuable time and budget. Curative applications require higher rates, tighter intervals and can accelerate resistance as the pest population is exposed to the AI. 

For a golf course, properly managing resistance is an important agronomic management practice and a critical business management strategy. If products aren’t used correctly and resistance develops, there can be serious long-term consequences for a course and for the whole industry. Be sure your course is doing its part to steward chemistries for long-term success for your business and your customers.

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