Dr. Harold Walker of Auburn University recently presented the latest research on his work in finding a replacement for methylbromide fumigant in sod production. Dr. Walker made the presentation in February at the Alabama Turfgrass Association’s Sod Producers field day in Bon Secour, AL.
Dr. Walker’s research examines several pest management tools:
• Mechanical: primary and secondary tillage
• Biological: using Velvetbean to ward off nematodes
• Chemical: Selective & non-selective herbicides
• Cultural: using 2 seeding rates in seeded turfgrass production
Of all of the methods tested, Dr. Walker reported that a combination of chemical herbicides Basamid and Eptam yielded the best results.
“I think that combination could work for a number of sod producers,” Dr. Walker said. Though it did not quite achieve 100-percent suppression, Dr. Walker said the level of control of Common Bermudagrass achieved when using both herbicides together was “very promising.” His research continues in order to fine-tune the combination to use the lowest rates of Basamid possible in the mix because of cost considerations.
Dr. Walker also offered estimated timetables for safe sprigging of certain grass varieties after using Eptam as a pest control:
• St. Augustinegrass: sprig 5-6 weeks after treatment
• Zoysiagrass: sprig 6 weeks after treatment
• Bermudagrass: spring 6 weeks after treatment