Building Foundations Around Celebrations

The idea behind BASF’s Holiday Spray program has always been simple: plan your most important apps first to build a foundation to achieve disease control, plant health and, yes, a little peace of mind.

By Pat Jones   

Pat Jones

It was just about a decade ago that we started hearing about the “Holiday Spray” program from BASF. Back then, from the outside looking in, it seemed overly simplistic. Did it really make sense to plan your critical disease management program around a handful of celebrations?

The answer has been a resounding yes. Why have so many supers come to rely on the Holiday Spray concept as a template to build their program? The short version is:

  • It’s a simple planning tool to build your fundamental disease management program
  • You can make the most of your apps of “the good stuff” like Lexicon® Intrinsic® brand fungicide and Navicon® Intrinsic® brand fungicide
  • It builds a solid foundation for proven Intrinsic brand fungicide plant health benefits
  • It helps you to manage the big issues with a few long-lasting apps
  • EOP makes it more affordable
  • Tying your key sprays to holidays allows you to have holidays!

I spoke with some veteran BASF sales reps to find out how their customers use the program today and why it continues to grow in both popularity and value.

Fundamental: Lexicon Intrinsic brand fungicide & Navicon Intrinsic brand fungicide

Dave Schell Dave Schell is one of BASF’s most experienced  turf sales reps and he has worked with the Holiday Spray concept to support customers in the northeast from day one. According to Dave, the fundamentals are the same even if the products have evolved with new actives. “We’re focused on keeping greens protected from everything with a simple program that’s usually three Lexicon apps and one Navicon app. We pick Memorial Day, the 4th of July, the first week of August and Labor Day. The Navicon Intrinsic brand fungicide app falls in August to take advantage of what that product does on anthracnose. I encourage them to alternate with Signature Xtra too.” 

How does the plant health part work? “The fungicide activity slows the respiration rate at night during the hottest time of the year and the plant is always working.” That’s where this technology helps most: “Intrinsic brand fungicides provide proven benefits to plants overall. They are protective products that help you when your plant is trying it’s hardest to stay healthy. Our customers are committed to this now. They’re seeing the results and they love it.”

For Schell, Lexicon Intrinsic brand fungicide is the core of the program. “Lexicon is probably the single best app you can make on your greens during the summer months. It’s the core of a lot of programs and the Holiday Spray idea makes it easy to remember and plan. Now, having Navicon as that critical August application makes it even more effective.”

Why does it still make sense today? “It’s still as relevant as it was 10 years ago. It’s one less thing for cool-season supers to worry about when they’re showcasing their course during their big events for the season.”

Running a turf marathon

Paul RaminaCrafty turf veteran and BASF turf sales rep Paul Ramina was a fan of Holiday Spray when he was a superintendent and is still an advocate for it in his New York metro region. “As a super, you’re looking to achieve an optimal plant health foundation. It’s not just about using fungicides to treat disease. It’s also reducing respiration and slowing it down in the plant. That increases net photosynthesis. That’s really a core benefit of the active ingredient pyraclostrobin, which is of the backbone of Intrinsic brand fungicides.”

He likens what the technology provides the plant with what sports drinks and supplements do for a marathon runner: “If that runner is hydrating and taking supplements along the way, they’re going to go farther. Using our technology on turf, you can slow that respiration down, more of the sugars are conserved in the plant to help with rooting and it helps the turf stay healthy.”

Obviously, summer is when the plant is really running its marathon. “Lexicon was invented for summertime. It covers you for more than two dozen diseases plus the resilience of healthy turf. That’s what the Holiday Spray program is all about.”

Have the fundamentals changed since he used it as a turf pro years ago? “It’s still the same. I work with customers to help them plan that first spray for May 15-May 31, the second between June 25 and July 3, the third in the beginning of August and the fourth at the end of August or early September. Maybe what’s changed a little over the years is the timing. We’ve learned to work with superintendents and distributors to find that timeframe that works best for everyone. The rest is still about putting your foundational products first.”

Is it important as a planning tool? “It is 1000% important because it provides a framework, and it emphasizes putting your best tools out at exactly the right time. As a tournament super, I always worked backwards from my event dates for key sprays. This allows supers to plan the same way.” 

Do those dates always work? “You need to plan and then make adjustments. It’s not good to fly by the seat of your pants. Using these benchmarks as a starting place is outstanding. I prefer to get things done prior to those holidays and events and then not have to worry about them. Remember it’s ‘around’ those days, not necessarily ‘on’ them. Doing that app before the holiday itself has lots of value agronomically to give the super some confidence going into what could be a little break from the course. That’s so important.”

Building a strong foundation

Gary MyersWhat does Holiday Spray mean to Gary Myers, BASF turf sales rep who covers Indiana, Kentucky and southern Ohio, as he works with customers? “It’s no different than building a house. This is building your strongest foundation first. Once you have the best foundation you can put down, it gives you the best chance of thriving during the summer. It’s simple: something that’s easy to remember and you get the peace of mind of surviving Midwest summer.”

How has he seen it evolve over time? “Navicon gave us more flexibility. Now we can look at the issues our customers face and decide if we can enhance the program with a product like this. It’s a great tool in the toolbox to enhance the Holiday Spray and make it even better. If I feel a customer has more issues with anthracnose, we look at more Navicon. I still like Lexicon as the base, but Holiday Spray 2.0 is adding Navicon into that early August app.”

How else do customers tinker with the approach? “A lot of it depends on that difference between an SDHI and a DMI and what the individual customer prefers or needs. It gives the super a choice and allows them to customize with the chemical classes they want to use.”

Fundamentally, it’s still about helping superintendents develop the right plan for them. “I think customers and DSRs like it as a planning tool. It’s very simple and it’s become something that they use from year to year because they can rely on it - the holiday schedule makes it simple to remember. Basically, you use the first of the month for June, July, August and September and you’re in good shape.

Myers’ final thoughts: “It’s all about simplicity. Not every customer can keep up with all the new products and information that’s out there. It’s a crowded and complicated market these days. This program creates a complete solution and keeps it simple.”

Powerful chemistries

Aaron WellsAaron Wells covers the humid Mid-Atlantic region. “This is one of the toughest areas to grow turf. You have heat, humidity and heavy disease pressure. That’s where our best-in-class chemistries in our Intrinsic line really shine: Insignia, Navicon, Lexicon and Honor. It’s all about getting the best disease control during that most stressful time of year.”

Has that window changed over time? “Obviously the summer is still the summer, but now we’re seeing stress and pressure continue on into September. Having the confidence that Labor Day spray gives you is so important when disease conditions continue on past the normal window.” 

Weather plays a huge part in timing for Wells. “If we need to adjust the timing a little, we can. Holiday Spray provides a backbone for a great program. You have these powerful chemistries you know are going out 30 days apart. In between, you can use other chemistries as needed but it’s nice to have those ‘anchor’ fungicides in place.”

Why is Lexicon so valuable? “It’s an insurance policy for great turf conditions. Not only do you have heat and disease pressure, but you also have a lot of golfer and maintenance traffic and lower mowing heights. Lexicon gives you a foundation that addresses those issues so well.” 

For Wells, planning just makes sense: “It makes it a lot easier for supers to plan their spray programs for the year. It gives them a little more confidence they have a great plan in place as they go into the season.”

Why do his customers love it? “One of the great things about the Holiday Spray program is actually enjoying the holidays.”

A perfect fit for supers

Cory BunchCory Bunch, who covers the northern Plains region, says the program fits just right in his territory. “First and foremost, it’s about best-in-class chemistries and disease control. And it coincides perfectly with timing for my area, so it’s been widely adopted by supers in the region.”

For him, Lexicon Intrinsic brand fungicide is still the key, but Navicon Intrinsic brand fungicide allowed more folks to afford that fourth application. “We are now able to offer them a summer-safe DMI combination product to help break up their traditional 7 and 11 apps. That’s been a huge arrow in my quiver.” Holiday Spray has been around for so long it’s second nature. “A lot of guys built their program around this. They take this as their base and then fill in the pieces.”


He likes the new option that Encartis fungicide gives his customers to bookend around the Holiday Spray foundation. “Now you just go spray one product early and late. Customers have seen the clean-up power and the staying power. Now they know how it fits. That first app is like a pre-party for Holiday Spray!”

A match for intense summers

Peter JacobsonNew England sales rep Peter Jacobson did his time as a turf pro in the region, and he loves Holiday Spray for summer stress protection. “You want to make sure you’re covered 100 percent. No super ever sleeps perfectly at night in the summertime, but Holiday Spray helps.” 

His basic Holiday Spray recommendation has evolved over the years. “Honor and Insignia used to be foundations, but our portfolio has broadened and become so much stronger with Lexicon and now Navicon with anthracnose control. It’s evolved from the original Intrinsic products to perhaps 4-5 options with Lexicon, Insignia and Navicon.”

Why does the concept make so much sense for supers in the demanding New England region? “With the agronomics of the golf course, you need to stay on top of things and have a solid, proven program. If you take your foot of the gas it will catch up with you. Holiday Spray keeps the pedal to the metal.”

Most important thing? “It’s been a successful tool for superintendents for a decade. It’s proven for both disease control and plant health. It just works.” 

The Florida version

Andy Engelbrecht The original Holiday Spray concept was largely focused on cool-season turf but has since evolved to include a warm-season version that shifts Intrinsic brand fungicide applications to the shoulder season and heavy traffic winter months. South Florida sales rep Andy Engelbrecht says “I’m all about planning and this creates another tool to do that. We recommend a program based around four sprays that are essentially a month apart: Thanksgiving, Christmas/New Years, Valentine’s Day and then St. Patrick’s Day. We’ll also recommend a Pythium product in January – perhaps Segway. It gives them a little extra peace of mind.” 


Everyone talks about “sleeping at night” but what does it really mean? “Having that Lexicon- or Insignia-based program out before that event gives supers a really good feeling that they can take a few days off and come back to good greens. That’s invaluable.”

The main idea behind the Holiday Spray concept is to give that user the confidence of 28 days of control and then plant health benefits. “For us, it means we’ve turned it into a Florida program that protects us on the shoulders of the season. Our busiest time is October – March. If turf goes backwards in November or December it can be hard to recover, particularly when it’s cold or rainy. It’s an insurance policy against that issue.”  

We have built the concept into research-based, 12-month programs. “These published programs act as planning tools for customers who might be new to our chemistries and helps introduce them to a complete disease management and plant health program. You know you need good chemistries at key times through the year. There’s high disease pressure and high risk/reward. You can ride that wave of IPM throughout the summer. And for someone who’s new to a course – it gives them a starting point and a template they use and be relatively confident in what they’re doing.”

Engelbrecht says it all starts with EOP. “To me, we are the backbone of any good spray program down here. You can build your program around key BASF chemistries and then add in whatever else you need. These chemistries are going to do the heavy lifting for you. That’s the biggest thing. And you need some balance in your life. You need time away from the golf course and these tools allow you to do that without too much worry.”

Learn more about the Holiday Spray program.

The BASF Holiday Spray Program

Cool-season Turf: Memorial Day to Labor Day

Use Area June 1 July 1 August 1 September 1
Greens Lexicon® Intrinsic® brand fungicide
spray before Memorial Day
Lexicon Intrinsic brand fungicide
spray before July 4th
Navicon® Intrinsic® brand fungicide
ideal for summer anthracnose
Lexicon Intrinsic brand fungicide  
spray before Labor Day
  July 1 - July 31   August 15 - September 10  
Fairways, tees and surrounds Navicon Intrinsic brand fungicide
Honor® Intrinsic® brand fungicide
Insignia® SC Intrinsic® brand fungicide
  Navicon Intrinsic brand fungicide 
ideal for fall dollar spot prep

Warm-season Turf: Halloween to St. Patrick's Day

Use Area October 1 November 1 February 1 March 1
Greens Navicon Intrinsic brand fungicide
ideal for take-all root rot and spring dead spot
Lexicon Intrinsic brand fungicide 
for winter protection
Navicon Intrinsic brand fungicide
ideal for take-all root rot
Lexicon Intrinsic brand fungicide 
ideal for fairy ring
  May 1 - July 31   August 15 - September 15  
Fairways, tees and surrounds Lexicon Intrinsic brand fungicide
Navicon Intrinsic brand fungicide
Honor Intrinsic brand fungicide

spray ahead of aerification
  Navicon Intrinsic brand fungicide
ideal for take-all root rot and tropical storm protection

Labels, SDS and State Availability


The BASF Holiday Spray Program

An easy-to-follow agronomic program, featuring Intrinsic® brand fungicides, designed to help your course thrive under the toughest conditions. 

Regional Turf Spray Programs

The BASF Turf Spray Programs are meticulously designed for the specific growing season, climate, and key diseases in 20 different geographical areas. 

Disease Discussion: Holiday Spray Program

Protecting cool- and warm-season turf requires a plan and options. BASF Senior Product Manager Jeff Vannoy describes a coordinated approach to handling the critical summer stretch.