Bright Ideas: Mole Crickets Meet their Match

Mole crickets are tough. And the ones on Daufuskie Island just might be the toughest. I’ve seen them burrow through sand, turf, rocky soil, even ice. They are the worst pest we have out here… they are a constant problem. My usual defense is a wall-to-wall spring application of imidacloprid coupled with spot treatments of bifenthrin. This year, though, I tried a new liquid product, Triple Crown® Golf insecticide* from FMC, on the holes hit hardest by mole crickets. I chose Triple Crown because it offers a formulation of my usual go-to active ingredients—FMC bifenthrin and imidacloprid—plus a little something extra. That extra is FMC zeta-cypermethrin, an active ingredient developed by FMC that brings incredible speed of kill. In early May 2014, I sprayed the green slopes of a few holes with heavy cricket pressure to create a barrier around the greens. Within a week, the length of time for new mole crickets to emerge and begin their damage, the crickets were gone. But even better, Triple Crown works on contact as well as translaminar and systemic activity, providing protection against sucking pests that feed on a plant’s vascular system as well as foliar-feeding insects. This means I kill not only mole crickets but other pests like fire ants, grubs, billbugs and more. Today, six weeks after I sprayed, the mole crickets are still gone. It’s been nice to not have to worry about them. Now I can move on to my other constant headache—salinity. *Triple Crown Golf Insecticide is a Restricted Use Product (RUP).   Nick Bright is the superintendent at Melrose Golf Club in Daufuskie Island, SC....

Bright Ideas: dollarweed and nutsedge get smoked in this Blindside® herbicide review.

Nick Bright is the superintendent at Melrose Golf Club in Daufuskie Island, SC. When the Daufuskie Island resort that owned Nick Bright’s course went bankrupt, Nick and his crew kept the course open with no budget, no pro shop, some broken down equipment and often no electricity or running water. Dollarweed is a challenge for any superintendent, but on my course, right on the ocean, we had some plants as big as lily pads. When I told AJ Hephner, my local FMC Market Specialist about my dollarweed dilemma, he suggested I try Blindside® herbicide, a postemergence herbicide designed for warm-season turf, including St. Augustinegrass. In exchange, I would write a Blindside herbicide review. I was skeptical when he insisted I would see control within a week. But he was right: Blindside smoked the dollarweed fast. And even better, it took out the nutsedge as well. Blindside works on the leaves and the roots because it has both foliar and root uptake. This is important with dollarweed because 90 percent of the plant is underground. You want to get the whole thing; otherwise it will just come back next season. The other benefit of Blindside is that it works during the summer. Previously, I used a three-way on dollarweed but it only seemed to work well in the late fall and early spring, which is not when dollarweed is growing. Other products like atrazine can’t be used when the temperature is over 85 degrees. So it was great to spot spray some fairways and roughs in August and see results without damaging my Bermudagrass. It’s gone! Blindside herbicide smoked the...

Bright Ideas: Think Your Turf Has Fungus or Nematodes? Think Again.

Nick Bright is the superintendent at Melrose Golf Club in Daufuskie Island, SC. When the Daufuskie Island resort that owned Nick Bright’s course went bankrupt, Nick and his crew kept the course open with no budget, no pro shop, some broken down equipment and often no electricity or running water. Want to save thousands on fungicide costs? Test your soil pH first. Earlier this summer, three of my greens were suffering from either a fungus or nematodes. Or so I thought. I was about to blow some serious money on fungicides when something told me to wait. After calling around, a friend asked me something I hadn’t considered – had I checked my soil’s pH? He said that sandy soil like we have on the island tends to lose pH with multiple fertilizer applications. And when the pH gets too low, the metals in fertilizer can cause severe root burning. Hence, the patchy, brown turf that looks like Pythium root rot or nematodes. For some reason, it’s not our first instinct as supers to test the soil. But take it from me, if you haven’t tested it in a while, that should be your first step. You can do it yourself with a monitor (about $400 for a good one), but I used a lab in order to get a good baseline work-up. I used Logan Labs but most state universities also offer the service. My soil’s pH came back at 5.3, but the ideal pH on bermudagrass is around 6. For a quick and cheap fix, we went out with two applications of lime at 10 lbs per...

Bright Ideas: Nick Bright Tells How He Took Control of Mole Crickets

Nick Bright is the superintendent at Melrose Golf Club in Daufuskie Island, SC. When the Daufuskie Island resort that owned Nick Bright’s course went bankrupt, Nick and his crew kept the course open with no budget, no pro shop, some broken down equipment and often no electricity or running water. Mole cricket problems? Let me tell you about mole cricket problems. Out here on Daufuskie Island (three miles from Hilton Head), it was a mole cricket carnival. Mole crickets loved our mild, moist weather and fine sandy loam. Add to that years of financial hardship that left us unable to afford chemicals, and mole crickets had it made. Over the years, I tried everything to defeat mole crickets. Orthene worked but it required multiple applications. Fipronil didn’t even phase ’em. A midnight flooding of insecticide-laced molasses worked, but it’s not very practical (what a mess). So when FMC Market Specialist, AJ Hephner, read about my plight through an ESPN.com feature and offered me a sneak peek of the company’s new greens grade insecticide, I was game. AJ gave me three acres worth of Talstar® XTRA GC, which promised ultra-fast control of surface pests, including armyworms, cutworms, fire ants and mole cricket adults and nymphs. I tried both the 100- and 200-lb rates, watering it in to ensure the root zone was reached. After about three days, my greens were clean. I then used a little bit of topdressing to help cover the old damage. I must say, Talstar XTRA GC is the fastest mole cricket product I’ve ever witnessed, and I am excited to use it again. For my...