THE study of a new organic compost has revealed a surprising side-benefit for a wide range of turf facilities --it virtually kills sting nematodes.
The pest, a soil-dwelling parasite that thrives in sandy conditions, is responsible for extensive damage to thousands of hectares of turf, including parks, sporting grounds and golf courses in Western Australia each year.
"Southern Sting nematodes are currently uncontrollable and getting worse," Deb Archdeacon, an agronomist with Agronomica who is heading the trial in conjunction with C-Wise, a locally based composting company, said.
"Our latest research indicates that this particular compost kills sting nematodes within a week," Ms Archdeacon said.
"The new compost not only provides nutrition and high levels of organic carbon which promote increased turf root growth, turf resilience and improved water efficiency in sandy soils, but is now showing that it kills this destructive plant-parasitic nematode.
"We are currently conducting trials in partnership with Sports Turf Technology and local turf businesses to increase the effectiveness of the product and see what else it can do."
"It's a really exciting time, and a fantastic way to solve this problem naturally instead of chemically," Ms Archdeacon said.
Peter Ruscoe, from Sports Turf Technology, said: "The traditional method of treating sting nematodes was with chemicals, many of which have now been taken off the market due to their toxicity".
Mr Ruscoe is currently completing a Masters' degree on sting nematodes in turf.
"The new chemical products are also largely ineffective," he said.
"We started looking at other methods of control that wouldn't harm the soil's natural composition, and discovered the C-Wise compost was significantly suppressing them in turf during trials."
The new compost has the potential to help a wide range of industries and individuals, including:
The C-Wise compost is manufactured from a combination of greenwaste and liquid and solid organics.
It is currently being trialled to establish how to derive maximum nematicidal potential and effectiveness.
At the same time, C-Wise is modifying variables in the compost production process such as temperature, aeration and moisture content to maximise its effectiveness.
The results of the trials are expected to be known in late November.
The new compost is available from C-Wise.
Contact: Phone (08) 9581 9582. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.