Grounds staff given pitch-care boost with approval of Acelepryn

With the recent approval of the innovative Syngenta insecticide, Acelepryn, grounds staff now have the opportunity to develop more effective integrated solutions for turf soil pest control. But what exactly has changed and what does it mean for the grounds care sector?

We spoke to the GMA’s Rich Eastham (Key Account Manager, Rugby Football League), who is a member of the BASIS Professional Register, and Simon Johnson (Region Pitch Advisor, Rugby Football Union), who has been supporting clubs in the southwest with chafer grub infestations, to find out more.

Acelepryn’s approval:

The full approval ensures Acelepryn will be in place in time for the key chafer white grub application timing in spring 2023, and to target leatherjackets at the most appropriate timing in the autumn.

The label now covers control of chafer grubs and leatherjackets in golf greens, tees, fairways and roughs, sports pitches, racecourses and gallops, bowling greens, airfields, and professional application to commercial and residential lawns, subject to specific restrictions on the percentage of the area being treated.

The best results with Acelepryn have consistently been achieved from application timing to have product in the soil to target early feeding larvae. Application at water volumes of 500 to 600 l/ha and using the white Syngenta 08 XC Soil Nozzle will ensure better penetration through to the surface. Users are reminded to follow the seven-step plan to optimise results, available to download on the Syngenta website, along with full compliance with the label recommendations.

An on-line turf pest ID guide, to aid the identification of adult stages of key soil pests and target application timing, is also available on the Syngenta Turf website along with a full insight into new developments and practical implications of leatherjacket ITM, control programmes in the On the Horizon podcast. The Greencast Advisory turf blog provides further in season advice and topical tips for timing and application.

A positive step forward for the sector

To find out what this change means for the sector, we asked Key Account Manager for Rugby Football League, and member of the BASIS Professional Register, Rich Eastham for his thoughts on Acelepryn’s approval:

“Acelepryn looks to be the first properly effective treatment for grounds staff looking to manage the threat of chafer grubs and leatherjackets.

The use of nematodes has been helpful at times but relied largely on effective spraying and, even then, it could be inconsistent.

Acelepryn will likely be effective far more consistently which is great news for the sector as a whole and for sport at all levels – what this means in the long-term is that grounds staff have an effective form of control that can make unsafe pitches safe again. Moreover, unplayable pitches will become playable and able to facilitate sport, helping our industry to better meet the increasing demand for natural turf playing surfaces.”

What’s next for the sector?

“I think that Acelepryn’s approval points towards restrictions being shifted to allow for the safer use of treatments. Of course, the industry needs to ensure that any use of chemicals in products is done so in an environmentally safe and conscious way, but with a more conscious and considered use of products, like Acelepryn, we can provide better, safer pitches for the country.

Good news for community grounds and professional clubs

Having supported numerous clubs in the southwest battling with pest-related problems, GMA Regional Pitch Advisor, Simon Johnson is optimistic about the benefits Acelepryn will offer sports across the country and at all levels:

“When it comes to playing surfaces, if there is a really bad infestation of grubs, the turf will become unstable and dangerous. This can become especially important at the elite level of sport because of the value of professional sportspeople and their health.

The risk that grubs pose is that they eat the grass plant’s roots which in turn makes the surface unstable and loose. At community grounds, unsafe pitches have meant that clubs have had to cancel games, but this isn’t an option at the professional level. Whether it’s elite clubs' racecourses, or local community grounds, the ability to use Acelepryn means that organisations are going to be able to take the appropriate measures to ensure their playing surfaces are safe and usable.

Important things to know

“The key thing for people considering the use of Acelepryn is that you must take a targeted approach - Acepepryn can only be used at certain times of the year, so you have to be selective in using it at the point at which it’s going to be most effective.

At the same time, it can only be used on 10% of the total area of managed turf – this could mean that if you manage a site with a number of pitches you will have to identify the worst-affected area, measure it out carefully and then spray it as effectively as possible.

If you don’t spray the area correctly, you won’t be able to do so again as you’re limited to one use a year. I would always recommend getting an expert to inspect the affected site and identify the best area to target.

Other important things to remember including making sure you follow correct health and safety spraying protocols – spraying must be done by someone with the relevant spraying certificate. Acepepryn is also toxic to aquatic life so you must ensure a buffer zone of 5 metres around the site being sprayed and any body of water. As always, if you have any doubts, it’s best to contact an expert who can help you decide on the best course of action.”

To find out more:

The use of plant protection products could be part of a safe and sustainable way to manage threats to the health of turfgrass which could include weeds, pests and diseases. Learn more about plant protection product best practice on the Amenity Forum website:

To learn more about Acelepryn’s approval, visit:

You can find out more about Acelepryn itself, its labels, and technical brochure on the Syngenta website:

Acelepryn is distributed in the UK and Ireland by ICL Ltd.