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In The Field: July 20, 2007 

A cornucopia of diseases are being found in the field right now. This includes bacterial wilt, Pythium blight, summer patch, brown patch, anthracnose, dollar spot and others. Another malady of perennial ryegrass and in some cases creeping bentgrass has been the presence of etiolated plants. The problem, commonly referred to as Etiolated Tiller Syndrome (ETS) or Mad Tiller Disease has been showing up throughout the region following all of the heavy rains. The cause of the problem is unknown, but many theories have been suggested including bacterial wilt and a Fusarium species that produces gibberellic acid. Some superintendents have associated the symptoms with applications of certain plant growth regulators, but symptoms have been found this year on golf courses not using PGRs. Check out the photo by Steve McDonald of Turfgrass Disease Solutions in the Philadelphia area to see what ETS looks like.

Bacterial wilt, the most alarming of the diseases due to the lack of control options has begun to appear on at least a couple of golf course putting greens in CT. Although a few products are labeled for the control of bacterial wilt, few if any provide real suppression of the disease. Cultural practices should be adjusted to avoid severe outbreaks. These include mowing affected greens with a dedicated walk-mower and disinfesting the mowers with a 10% bleach solution. Mowing should also be done in the afternoon when the turf is dry if possible. The bacterial pathogen can only gain access into the plant through wounds and mowing during the early morning hours when the disease may be present can increase the problem. For this reason, other cultural practices that cause injury such as topdressing and vertical mowing should be ceased until disease symptoms are no longer present. Finally, every effort should be made to keep the greens as dry as possible. For more information on bacterial wilt, visit our factsheets at http://www.turf.uconn.edu/factsheets.shtml.
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In The Field: June 1, 2007 

Disease-related problems have been few due to the lack of rain that we have received throughout the region. In some regions, dollar spot has started to appear. Early season applications of fungicides for dollar spot control, however, still appear to be holding up well.

The few disease issues that we have seen throughout the region include anthracnose basal rot, dollar spot, brown ring patch, and continued cases of fairy ring. We are several weeks away from seeing outbreaks of brown patch and other summer diseases.

Although diseases have been kept to a minimum, weeds are hitting their stride. Crabgrass has germinated throughout the region and in many cases have grown too large for early post-emergence control. Yellow nutsedge has also been seen in the Southwestern portion of Connecticut and probably is starting to germinate in regions farther north as well.
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In The Field: May 1, 2007 

Weather has finally warmed up and with the temperatures comes the disease activity, Poa seedhead development, and germination of those summer annual weeds. Most turfgrass managers across the state have treated for Poa seedheads and the application of preemergents for crabgrass control is in full swing.

Temperatures around the region have been and look too be great for growing grass. Temperatures throughout Connecticut are predicted to be in the 60's with a chance of rain on Wednesday. The 7-day outlook for several towns are as follows:

* Danbury, CT: Low 39, High 69
* Greenwich, CT: Low of 43, High of 71
* Hartford, CT: Low of 41, High of 69
* Norwich, CT: Low 38, High 69
* Old Saybrook, CT: Low 38, High 66
* Putnam, CT: Low 38, High 67
* Torrington, CT: Low 37, High 67

Based on site-visits and samples received in the diagnostic lab, several diseases are active in the field. Diseases to watch for include anthracnose basal rot, brown ring patch (BRP; aka Waitea Patch), and fairy ring. Reports from the mid-Atlantic indicate that brown ring patch is causing major problems on many golf courses in the Philadelphia area. We have only seen a few cases of BRP this year, however, warmer temperatures are likely to increase the incidence of this poorly understood disease. We appear to be moving towards warmer temperatures, but turfgrass managers should be on the watch for late outbreaks of Microdochium patch (aka, pink snow mold).
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UConn Graduate Takes Knowledge to Hawaii 

By Thomas Barry

I graduated from the University of Connecticut’s turfgrass science program with a Master of Science degree in December of 2006. Upon graduating, I took the position of Assistant Superintendent at Elleair Maui Golf Club in Kihei, Hawaii working under Head Superintendent, Bryan Taylor. Elleair is an 18 hole public golf course currently undergoing some major renovations to the design and layout with an ongoing attempt to improve its reputation. My experience working in Hawaii has been a positive one and I owe much of my success to the University of Connecticut. The turfgrass science program at the University of Connecticut is geared towards producing well-rounded students. Emphasis is placed on both classroom education and field experience. Internships are considered extremely important by the turfgrass faculty and every student is assisted with finding the right internship for their interests. Students are encouraged to aim high and follow their passion when finding a job upon graduation.

As a graduate student in the program, I was given the chance to teach the Introductory Turfgrass Science course and also serve as a Turfgrass Technician at the University’s research farm, assisting faculty members with research projects. The transition from student to Assistant Superintendent has been a smooth one on account of my educational experience at the University of Connecticut. The field experience I gained through internships and classroom education has certainly made me a more qualified and confident turf manager. I have moved from working with cool-season grasses to an all bermudagrass golf course with little difficulty. Management skills and business savvy I acquired at UConn have been vital to decision making and crew supervision which I encounter every day. The personal relationships I made during my time at the University of Connecticut have made me a better individual. I owe a debt of gratitude to the program and the great individuals who helped me along the way.
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Nor'Easter Floods Local Golf Course  

By Alex Putman

Entering into mid-April, golf was beginning to pick up in New England. "Everything was in great shape," said John Ruzsbatzky, CGCS, for opening day at the Country Club of Farmington, CT (CCF) on April 14th. The Nor'easter that arrived the following day, however, spoiled the remainder of opening weekend with 5" of rain.

The Farmington River flows adjacent to three holes on the northwest edge of the course, and may cause some low-level flooding in select areas during heavy storms. This storm on April 15th, however, caused a rise in water level enough to cover half the golf course. "Seven of our greens, including one practice green, were completely underwater," said John. "It was definitely the worst flooding that I have seen here, and the water may have reached the highest level since 1955," he remarked, referring to the Great Flood of 1955.

Those at CCF will be able to draw comparisons to future floods, as waters rose halfway up the Club's recently renovated snack shack, ruining thousands of dollars of new equipment. The 40 foot tall driving range fence was forced over by the rushing water and will need to be replaced. Several driving range mats and walking bridges were carried away by the water. In addition to property damage, sand from several bunkers washed away, and silt built up on several greens.

Persistent flooding ten days after the storm has forced a few holes to remain closed. John remarked that clean up operations have been a setback, but noted his turf has responded well. "The membership has been very understanding," he said, "and we hope to resume normal operations soon."
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