Sales of fungicides to the U.S. professional turf and ornamental market segments increased by nearly 12 percent in 2003 and 2004, according to a market study soon to be released by Kline & Company at

This growth was fueled largely by rising consumption by golf courses, which collectively spent more than $130 million to keep the nation's links fungus-free.

“Golf course superintendents have to preventively treat for fungal diseases in order to maintain the manicured turf that golfers expect to see,” says Dennis Fugate, industry manager of the Specialty Pesticides practice for Kline's research division. “Particularly given the value of the turf they're working on, they treat frequently during the season — before, during and after there's a problem.”

Results from “Professional Turf and Ornamental Markets for Pesticides and Fertilizers USA 2005,” located at, indicate that fungicide use on golf courses alone increased by more than 11 percent last year, with nearly $50 million spent to control dollar spot, the most troublesome fungal disease for golf courses.

Fugate notes that because weather plays an important factor in the severity of fungal outbreaks, the fungicide market tends to show marked regional characteristics. In 2004, over a third of fungicide sales were made to the North Central region of the United States — Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio — an area with a large concentration of golf courses and a frequently damp climate.

According to Kline's study, tees and greens get the most attention when it comes to fungicide application. While they account for only about 7 percent of total golf course acreage in the United States, 85 percent of all golf course fungicide dollars are spent to control fungi in these areas.

While fungicides sales to golf courses showed the most notable increases, other product categories and end-use segments saw more moderate but steady growth in 2003 and 2004.

Kline's study indicates that the overall market for turf and ornamental pesticides and fertilizers grew by a healthy rate of nearly 5 percent over each of the two years. Fertilizers remain the largest product category in terms of total sales value, followed by herbicides and fungicides.

Lawn care operators represent the largest end-use segment for the professional market, followed by golf courses, a trend that Kline says will likely continue in line with the aging baby boomer population.

“As baby boomers get older, they are turning to LCOs to handle their yard work while devoting more leisure time to gardening,” says Mancer Cyr, senior associate for Kline's Specialty Pesticides consulting practice. “This is creating growth opportunities in the horticultural nurseries market as well,” he adds.

“Professional Turf and Ornamental Markets for Pesticides and Fertilizers USA 2005” includes data on the usage and sale of fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, plant growth regulators, aquatic herbicides, and nematicides to all segments of the U.S. market including golf courses; schools, parks, and cemeteries; nurseries and greenhouses; lawn care operators; landscape contractors and turf farms.

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