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amenity Research - Disease Tolerance

In the last few years we have seen an increasing pressure from turfgrass diseases. Some diseases, such as dollar spot have appeared in Europe, which have hardly been seen before. Due to the future restrictions of chemicals used on turf in Europe, the focus on natural disease resistance in plants has become very strong in the Barenbrug breeding programmes.

Apart from excellent disease resistance of individual cultivars, Barenbrug also emphasises the importance of combinations of cultivars in mixtures, which show improved disease resistance.

Turf is a society of many plants. There is always competition and cooperation between the plants - many plants together are stronger than just one. But there is also competition for water, fertiliser, light and, of course, room to grow.

Initially, germination of seed can be excellent, but within three months the survival of the fittest comes into play. Plants will die and make room for other, stronger plants. Diseases can create space, but to fill the space you need strong healthy plants. So the use of disease resistant cultivars is vital.

Barenbrug Research can screen under laboratorial conditions for red thread, fusarium, dollar spot, leaf spot and brownpatch. As a breeder, we need to be sure that the test is as close as possible to natural conditions so, for example, with the introduction of a fungus such as dollar spot, we have to accurately recreate what could happen on a golf green or fairway. The tests assist in breeding more resistant material to help the end-user achieve turf which is free of disease.

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