As a global life science company, Bayer innovates and develops products to feed a growing population, and foster healthy environments where we all live, work, and play. With increasing challenges around climate change, pest resistance, and regulatory hurdles, game-changing innovation in the golf market is hard to come by. Luckily, the science at Bayer never stops. Below is a quick look at how Bayer innovation is helping golf course superintendents maintain the best playing surfaces possible.

Stressgard: The New Data That Proves It Protects Chlorophyll

Superintendents rely on fungicides to protect their high value playing surfaces from destructive diseases throughout the season. But what about abiotic stresses like heat, traffic, shade, and drought? For over 25 years, Bayer has developed fungicides that deliver more than just disease control. Stressgard® technology, found in several Bayer solutions Signature Stressgard, Signature XTRA Stressgard, Tartan® Stressgard, Exteris® Stressgard, Mirage® Stressgard, Interface® Stressgard, Fiata® Stressgard® has long been known to improve turf quality and performance compared to standard fungicides, but more recently the science behind Stressgard has become much better understood.

Figure 1. Though it’s been long known that Stressgard improves photosynthesis, recent research at Rutgers revealed that increased photosynthesis is due to Signature Xtra Stressgard maintaining overall chlorophyll content and stability under heat stress compared to competitive treatments and a negative control. The study further showed that Signature Xtra Stressgard increases membrane stability as well as positively affects chlorophyll content by limiting degradative enzymes (data not shown), all leading to improved turf performance under stress.

By improving the plant’s ability to photosynthesize, Stressgard fungicides help to mitigate a wide variety of both biotic and abiotic stresses. Photosynthesis produces all plant energy and drives subsequent physiological processes. Stressgard protects and maintains chlorophyll, a critical component in the process of photosynthesis. Recent research from Rutgers University shows just how effective Stressgard is in protecting chlorophyll and membrane stability, leading to dramatic improvements in turf quality under stress.

Years of dedicated effort of turf scientists across the world has solidified the science. No other fungicide technology has the breadth and depth of turf health research like Stressgard. This unique technology improves plant health and mitigates stress across an entire portfolio of active ingredients. This allows turf managers to properly rotate modes of action and build programs according to their needs while getting the additional plant health benefits proven by three decades of research.

Tetraniliprole: Poised to Tackle Your Toughest Insect Challenges

From annual bluegrass weevil (ABW) to white grubs, insects are constantly on the move posing new challenges to turf managers across the country. Bayer continues to develop innovation aimed at the growing issues with damaging turf insects on golf courses. Increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, environmental concerns, and restrictions on older chemistry are key issues facing the turf industry today. Couple that with evolving pest populations, migration into new geographies, and the development of insecticide resistance, new solutions are necessary to address the ever-changing insect world.

Figure 2. Stressgard fairway program demonstration at a golf course in southern PA. Both fairways were sprayed on a 14-day schedule. Normal program consisted of various competitor fungicides across a range of active ingredients. Stressgard program consisted of commensurate rates and classes of chemistry within the Stressgard portfolio including: Mirage Stressgard, Tartan Stressgard, Exteris Stressgard, Interface Stressgard and Fiata Stressgard. Picture taken 10 days after previous application and hue angle was adjusted on the right picture to better see differences in green color/turf health. Differences are indicative of long-term plant health effects.
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Luckily, Bayer has an ace in the hole with tetraniliprole; a new active ingredient coming soon to the turf market that offers a wide range of benefits including grub, ABW, and chinch bug control. For several years, scientists at Bayer and leading university entomologists have put tetraniliprole to the test, evaluating its efficacy on some of the most damaging pests in both cool and warm season turf. This new chemistry continues to show exciting results, with great application flexibility, low environmental impact, and excellent efficacy on key insects such as the annual bluegrass weevil.

Innovation is an iterative process, which is why leading up to the launch of tetraniliprole, Bayer continues to trial this active ingredient on dozens of golf courses and university field sites across the United States. Real-world results are critical in understanding the true performance of new products in different geographies, on various pests, and on a diverse array of turf species. As the research continues, Bayer is enthusiastic to bring this technology into the turf market offering superintendents an exciting new solution for their most troubling insect pests – stay tuned!

Figure 3. Poa resistance to glyphosate applied at 32 oz/A.
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Specticle® + Pre3: An Effective New Program to Combat Weed Resistance

We rely on herbicides to control the most problematic turfgrass weeds including possibly the worst of them all – annual bluegrass. As the most variable and widespread weed in both cool- and warm-season turf, Poa annua has documented resistance to almost every class of chemistry used to control it, including ALS inhibitors, glyphosate, microtubule inhibitors, and photosystem II inhibitor herbicides. Herbicide resistance in annual bluegrass is the major concern for those managing warm-season turf, who are running out of solutions to keep the weed at bay.

Luckily, our latest preemergence herbicide Specticle® has no documented resistance in annual bluegrass, but we must remain vigilant and stay out in front of any potential resistance. Sometimes, innovation comes in the form of using existing products in a new way or through a novel approach. With the help of several top university weed scientists, Bayer has researched and developed best practices for managing weed resistance with tank-mixing multiple modes of action. This strategy has shown to not only improve Poa control, but should significantly delay resistance over simply rotating active ingredients. The “PRE3” program from Bayer has been trialed and proven to deliver the most consistent control of Poa annua while reducing the potential of herbicide resistance. This tank mix of Specticle FLO + Tribute® Total + Simazine applied in late fall provides excellent season-long Poa annua control and has changed the way many superintendents deal with annual bluegrass in warm-season turf. ?

Figure 4. Research trial conducted at North Carolina State University highlighting excellent Poa control with PRE3. Application made November 14, 2019. Pictures taken March 1, 2020
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Bayer is Committed

Bayer will continue to take on new and emerging challenges within the turf industry, drive innovation and work collaboratively with leading experts to deliver ground breaking agronomic solutions for golf course superintendents. This is Why We Science!

Tank Mixtures: The applicable labeling for each product must be in the possession of the user at the time of application. Follow applicable use instructions, including application rates, precautions and restrictions of each product used in the tank mixture. Not all tank mix product formulations have been tested for compatibility or performance other than specifically listed by brand name. Always predetermine the compatibility of tank mixtures by mixing small proportional quantities in advance.

ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL INSTRUCTIONS. Bayer Environmental Science, a Division of Bayer CropScience LP, 5000 CentreGreen Way, Suite 400, Cary, NC 27513. For additional product information, call toll-free 1-800-331-2867. Not all products are registered in all states. Bayer, the Bayer Cross Signature, Tartan, Exteris, Mirage, Interface, Fiata, Specticle, Stressgard, and Tribute are registered trademarks of Bayer. © 2020 Bayer CropScience LP. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.