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Civitas Update....By Popular Demand

First, my apologies for the tardiness of this post. The pre-Thanksgiving travel crunch got the best of me last week, and of course I spent the entire weekend watching football and hockey, so I am just now getting caught up! Several people have asked what happened to the Civitas update, so here it is:

Civitas is a new product for disease and insect control in turfgrasses that was developed by Suncor, formerly known as PetroCanada. The active ingredient is mineral oil, otherwise known as 'horticultural oil', which has been used for management of plant pests for many years. It has just never been used in turf because of issues with phytotoxicity. However, Suncor developed a pigment product, called Harmonizer, that is mixed with Civitas to reduce the potential for phytotoxicity. The advantage of mineral oil as a fungicide is that it has very low environmental impacts due to its low toxicity and rapid breakdown in the environment.

Because it contains oil and pigment, Civitas has a very noticeable effect on the color and appearance of the turf. The Harmonizer pigment, depending on the application rate, is a very dark green, similar to that provided by an application of Triton Flo or Tartan. Some people have complained that transfer of the pigment to shoes and clothing has been a problem, but I haven't rolled around on our research plots yet to see how big of a problem that is.

The mineral oil component of Civitas also gives the turf a distinct greasy appearance, very similar to that caused by an application of a wetting agent like Cascade. This greasy appearance is most evident in the morning and persists for several days to a week after application. Because of these unique characteristics of Civitas, I suggest that people try it out on a nursery green or putting green before treating the whole course with it.

We've been evaluating Civitas for control of various turf diseases for three years now. For a summary of our previous results, please see my post from last year entitled Civitas shows promise for control of dollar spot and brown patch. Be sure to read the comments at the bottom provided by Wakar Uddin, Bruce Clarke, and others regarding their experiences with Civitas.

We continue to see similar results against dollar spot and brown patch in our trials. However, this year we ran into serious problems with phytotoxicity when Civitas and Harmonizer was tank-mixed with Daconil and Banner Maxx. The injury appeared very quickly after the first application in May and became more severe as time went on. As you can see in the graph to the left, it is also interesting to note that half rates of the mixture components did not reduce the amount of phytotoxicity observed. Based on this result, we definitely recommend that Civitas and Harmonizer should not be mixed with Daconil and Banner, or with other fungicides until we have the opportunity to evaluate more mixtures for their safety.

We haven't seen significant phytotoxicity from applications of Civitas and Harmonizer alone in our trials, but some users have reported injury during times of severe stress, with high temperatures consistently above 90F. It makes sense that it could create problems to coat the turf leaves in oil under these types of conditions.

To summarize, Civitas has good activity against several important turf diseases like dollar spot, brown patch, anthracnose, and leaf spot diseases. Although it does not provide acceptable control alone in most cases, my opinion is that it could be useful as part of a disease control program. Civitas and Harmonizer should not be mixed with other fungicides or applied to severely stressed turf, or severe injury could result. However, if you are interested in using products that pose less risk to environment, then Civitas is a good choice.

8 Responses to “Civitas Update....By Popular Demand”

Anonymous said...


I saw similar results with phyto/sealing of the surface during my travels in the Northeast this year. Dr Rossi has also mentioned (TurfNet I think) that he has measured a 20-30% increase in clippings with the material when PGR's are not used. I agree there is a lot of potential but a lot still needs to be investigated with this chemistry.

Adam Moeller
USGA Agronomist NE Region

Lane said...

Thanks for contributing your observations, Adam!

Jon Lobenstine said...

Thanks for the post on Civitas. There has been a lot of discussion about loss of green speed associated with the use of Civitas, which I have experienced as well. Petro-Canada recently came out with some literature with a study done this summer by Frank Rossi that showed by using the 8 oz rate of Civitas with .125 oz rate of Primo, over a 5 week period there was no loss of "average" green speed. Me and a few other superintendents in our company have used Civitas at various rates and consistently seen significant decreases in green speed, which makes it tough to justify using on putting greens.

However, I there is a tremendous, positive plant response from applying this product, and I intend on using it on my ryegrass tees this year to reduce the use of other fungicides.

One of our courses, Needwood Golf Course, in Derwood, MD, did some research with Civitas the last 2 years, and on a ryegrass tee box where the ONLY applications of any type of fungicide were Civitas and Elemax Super Foliar Phosphite 6-40-16, there was no active disease all year long. Pretty neat.

Another one of our courses, Northwest GC, in Wheaton, MD, has battled for years with "missle-grade" anthracnose (termed by Steve McDonald, Turfgrass Disease Solutions), which seems to be active almost all year long no matter what you spray on it. This year, he started using Civitas in his fungicide rotation, and saw no anthracnose all year, however the use was limited to his Inner 9, which is his 19th - 27th hole targeted at beginner and senior play, so the green speed issue wasn't a big deal.

It certainly is an interesting product.

Jon Lobenstine
Director of Agronomy
Montgomery County Golf (Maryland)

Jon Lobenstine said...

One other comment on the pigment coming off on golf balls, shoes, etc. We have also seen this, however as soon as the spray dries, it is not an issue. In May 2010, we applied the product at the full rate starting at about 5:30 am after mowing, and by 8:00 there was no issue. If there's an opportunity to spray it in the evening, too, we have noticed that by morning, there's not too much of an issue with the material staining people's shoes, even though the dew has started to form in the evening after the spray.

Jon Lobenstine

John Kaminski said...

LMAO...Missle Grade Anthracnose.

Andy Wilson said...

I had great success with civitas this year on rye/poa tees and fairways. Mixed it with everything but chlorothalonil due to label warnings. Insignia, iprodione, propiconazole, phosphites, primo, iron, umaxx, some converted organics products (not all in the same tank!). I used the lowest label rates of those products. I was extremely pleased with the results, especially considering the weather this summer. 8oz every 3 weeks. It does need some time to dry though. I also sprayed it on 95 degree days and saw no phytotoxicity. I dont think it works as a stand alone spray though, it wont knock out $ spot on a single spray, I used it from May through September.

Jon Lobenstine said...

Andy, what part of the country are you in?


Wakar Uddin said...


Results on efficacy of Civitas on gray leaf spot, melting-out, dollar spot, and anthracnose in 2010 are consistent with those of 2009 and some years before that. It did quite well, particularly in tank-mixes with trifloxystrobin, azoxystrobin, and chlorothalonil. It also did well as stand-alone product against melting-out in Kentucky blue, but not so good against brown patch in colonial bent. After hearing reports of phyto from tank-mixes with chlorothalonil in some locations, we tried the full rate of both Civitas and chlorothalonil on ryegrass (gray leaf spot study), just to check - didn't see even slight discoloration. However, the tank-mix with Banner MAXX showed chlorosis in creeping bent, but the grass recovered in about a week. No phyto from the tank-mix on ryegrass possibly because the temp was not quite high here in central PA, plus the ryegrass species itself is likely tougher in such cases.

Wakar uddin

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