Current "In The Field" Updates
July 8, 2008
The weather is finally getting around to feeling like summer and it won't be long until everyone starts wishing for fall to be here. From the disease standpoint, this has been a banner year for brown patch around the region. Normally hit or miss in Connecticut and New England, brown patch is appearing on home lawns and golf courses alike. Those managing tall fescue or who established in the spring and applied grow-in rates of nitrogen are more likely to be dealing with the disease at the present time.
Pythium cases are also on the rise throughout the region and I expect the number of samples positive for the disease to increase this week as we are going to be in the 90's with chances of evening rain showers likely.
Other than these typical hot weather diseases, dollar spot has been relatively limited this year and other diseases such as anthracnose and bacterial wilt have appeared in limited (although severe) areas. Other issues observed this month include a record number of cases of Slime Mold and the usual problems associated with environmental stress and tournament preparation on golf courses. Remember, putting on slow grass is better than putting on dead grass!
June 13 , 2008
It has been two weeks since the last update, but this was because things were relatively slow with respect to disease problems in the field...that is until this week. The recent spell of HOT weather and occasional evening thunderstorms has caused an explosion of turfgrass diseases throughout the region. Even more impressive (from a pathologist’s perspective) is the number of different diseases occurring simultaneously.
Arriving in the diagnostic center or appearing at the research facility this week included anthracnose basal rot, dollar spot, brown patch, brown ring patch, take-all patch, summer patch, Pythium blight, Pythium root dysfunction, and red thread. At the research facility, dollar spot first appeared on Monday morning. Early in the week, several samples of brown ring patch (aka Waitea patch) were sent from golf course putting greens. To find out more about brown ring patch download our fact sheet here or read the “Cutting Edge” update in the June issue of GCM.
Take-all patch has been active for some time at the research facility and samples arrived from multiple locations across New England. Brown patch was identified on at least one golf course and multiple home lawns in Connecticut. Towards the end of the week and even today, samples of summer patch arrived or suspected cases are being sent for diagnosis on Monday.
Although today is relatively hot and humid, look for conditions to improve this week as temperatures head back to normal for this time of year with nighttime temperatures between the mid 50’s to mid 60’s depending on your location. Now that disease season is upon us, look for more routine updates from the diagnostic center. If you would like to send a sample for diagnosis, please download the diagnostic form here and include with your submission.
May 30 , 2008
Things have been relatively slow in the diagnostic lab so far this year which is a good thing for all turfgrass managers. We have seen several cases of take-all patch and pythium root dysfunction. Other diseases such as anthracnose and dollar spot have been observed in small numbers, but conditions favoring these disease are likely to occur soon. It is advised that preventive management practices for these diseases in particular be initiated ASAP if you have not already done so. This is also a good time to start monitoring soil temperatures to identify the proper timing for summer patch fungicide applications. Based on previous reports, fungicides are most effective when applied after mid-day soil temperatures at the 2" depth reach approximately 65 degrees for several consecutive days. Complete control may require 3 or 4 total applications of an effective product between June and August.
Dr. Vittum at UMASS and others in the mid-Atlantic region have been reporting on the movement of annual bluegrass weevils and damage or stressed turf from the insect may likely be seen as early as next week. Click here to read Pat's updates.
April 25, 2008
The conditions in the field have remained relatively dry. Recent temperatures have been excellent for growing grass, but many are already in need of rain. In terms of disease samples in our lab, we have seen several cases of Pythium root dysfunction, anthracnose and cool temperature brown patch. Control of these disease varies and recommendations can be downloaded here.
Some changes have been instituted at the Turfgrass Disease Diagnostic Center for 2008. This year, samples will be shipped to our H&G Center. Please note the new phone number and address on the diagnostic form. Always call prior to sending the sample to ensure that the diagnostician will be available. While Dr. Kaminski will handle all of the diagnoses, reports and billing will be handled by the H&G Center staff. This added assistance will allow us to provide diagnostic reports with photos of the symptoms and signs of the pathogen in an effort to document why we made the diagnosis. Beginning in mid-May, samples will also be processed for pH and soluble salts.
April 8, 2008
Turfgrass samples are starting to arrive. Please note the change of address when sending samples to the diagnostic center. So far, we are seeing moderate levels of pink and gray snow mold in addition to a select case of cool-temperature brown patch. Many of the samples that we are receiving are not disease related, but are simply a discoloration of the plant tissues due to a build up of the pigment anthocyanin during the fluctuating temperatures (photo). This is common in the spring and although symptoms may appear to be patch-like, this is usually caused by segregation of turf clones that react differently to the temperature changes.
Now is also the time to consider two management factors that will effect the remainder of your season. For those of you ready to pull the trigger on your seedhead control applications, it is a good idea to monitor your growing degree days. Using a base 32 model beginning on March 1, Primo/Proxy applications should be made when accumulated GDD are between 300 to 400. Embark users should wait until accumulated GDD's reach 400 to 500. Check your weather history to predict when your applications should be made. Golf course superintendents in the Northeast should also consider the early-season application of a fungicide for the suppression of dollar spot. In general, it is recommended that applications be made after the second true mowing of fairways. Fungicide evaluations for early season dollar spot applications can be found in the 2006 Research Report at www.turf.uconn.edu/reports.shtml.
February 25, 2008
The first posting in 2008 comes during a period where many throughout the region have just experience a significant accumulation of snow. Although we are not out of the woods in terms of snow fall and accumulation, we are also not far from the start of the season. As the temperatures begin to increase, late season snow will not last long and spring green up will be upon us soon. Turfgrass managers should be on the look out for their first signs of disease as begin the season. Based on samples received in the UConn Disease Diagnostic Center, several diseases such as anthracnose and snow molds often begin to appear around this time.
For those of you who have had a constant blanket of snow, the potential for gray snow mold is high. While preventive applications last fall should have suppressed disease activity, it is not uncommon to see breakthrough in high pressure areas. If disease symptoms are observed, it is important to identify which snow mold you are dealing with. Remember, gray snow mold (Typhula spp) symptoms appearing in the spring will be inactive and no spread of the disease should occur. For this reason, spring fertilizer applications should be utilized to promote recovery of damaged turf. On the other hand, the Microdochium patch (aka, Pink snow mold or Fusarium patch) pathogen may continue to remain active as long as cool, wet conditions persist. Control of this disease on highly maintained turf will require proper cultural practices and chemical control measures to prevent loss of turf.
Be sure to check back with the Diagnostic Center in the upcoming months for recommendations on early season dollar spot control as well as potential ways to reduce severe cases of fairy ring which have been on the rise in recent years.
Past "In The Field" Updates