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A New Option for Spring Dead Spot and Fairy Ring Control

Earlier this year, the Cleary Chemical Company released a new fungicide called Torque, which contains the DMI fungicide tebuconazole. More recently, Cleary obtained a 2ee label for the use of Torque for fairy ring prevention. Although it is just another DMI, tebuconazole has some unique properties that should make Torque a very useful product for golf course superintendents.

In particular, we've had a lot of questions about the use of Torque for spring dead spot and fairy ring prevention. Although we have not had the opportunity to evaluate Torque against these diseases, we have a lot of experience with a variety of tebuconazole formulations from other companies.

What we can say is this: tebuconazole is very effective for prevention of both fairy ring and spring dead spot. For spring dead spot, we've seen excellent results in bermudagrass fairways and athletic fields from two applications of tebuconazole, 30 days apart, at the high label rate prior to the onset of dormancy. Unlike Rubigan, which only requires one application in many circumstances, we've found that two applications of tebuconazole are necessary to achieve the best spring dead spot control.

Tebuconazole has also provided excellent prevention of fairy ring caused by puffball-type fungi in sand-based putting greens. Following our standard recommendations, two applications of tebuconazole at the recommended rate on a 30 day interval, beginning when soil temperatures consistently exceed 55F, has been a very effective program.

A note of caution for those with ultradwarf bermudagrasses: we've seen severe injury on the ultradwarfs from tebuconazole, and the Torque label says 'Bermudagrasses can be sensitive to Torque Fungicide under certain conditions'. Until we can get a better feel for the safety of Torque on bermudagrass greens, I would stick with older products that are known to be safe.

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