Robert A. Ruszala Elected NERTF President
The New England Regional Turfgrass Foundation announces that Robert A. Ruszala, golf course superintendent of Hickory Ridge Country Club in Amherst MA, has been elected president for the 2007-2008 fiscal year. Bob has been serving on the NERTF Board of Directors since 2000 as a delegate of the Golf Courses Superintendents Association of New England (GCSANE) which he served as president of in 2000 & 2001. He replaces Ted Maddocks of Ekwanok Country Club, Manchester VT, who will continue to serve on the board as the immediate past president. William R. Morton, CGCS of The Misquamicut Club (Watch Hill, RI) will serve as vice-president, Bob A. Matthews, CGCS, CIA, of White Cliffs Country Club (Plymouth, MA) will serve as secretary, and Michael A. Buras, of Longwood Cricket Club (Chestnut Hill, MA) will serve as Treasurer. The foundation has recently enjoyed its 10th Educational Conference and Trade Show at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, RI. More than 3000 individuals attended the 4 days of education conference and trade show activities. The 11th Annual New England Regional Turfgrass Conference and Show will take place on March 3-6th, 2008. The NERTF has funded more than $763,000 in Turfgrass Research in the New England area since being organized in 1996. More information may be obtained concerning the foundation, the conference & show and turfgrass research funded by the foundation, by visiting our website @ www.nertf.org
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
In The Field: June 30, 2007
Our first week of HOT weather departed as quickly as it arrived. Recent samples arriving into the diagnostic center varied depending on the location in New England. In Maine, brown ring patch is still active and causing minor problems for some superintendents. In the extreme southern portions of New England and parts of New York, fairy ring is beginning to appear and the hot weather diseases have made a brief appearance.
Diseases such as Pythium blight and brown patch caused by Rhizoctonia zeae
are beginning to develop. No reports of the traditional brown patch have been reported in our lab, but for those of you in the warmer parts of New England, July 4th is usually the time to look out for this disease. Very few cases of summer patch have been reported, but disease incidence is increasing. Anthracnose seems to be in limbo right now as those courses dealing with the early season type of the disease are seeing recovery, while those who traditionally see damage during the summer months are still waiting for the disease to begin.
The major concerns throughout the region are the apparent record numbers of annual bluegrass weevils. According to UMASS entomologist Pat Vittum, "We have seen the highest populations in at least 20 years on virtually every golf course in the Northeast." Click here
to read Dr. Vittum's latest insect report...it sounds like it could be a long summer for these pests.
Dollar spot continues to be severe throughout the Northeast and the mild temperatures forecasted for much of early July should make collecting those dollar spot samples for UConn's Dollar Spot Resistance research a snap. If you don't have any dollar spot, please help us by putting down a small (6" x 6") board on a portion of your putting green and fairway prior to your next spray.
In The Field: June 21, 2007
Based on samples arriving to the lab this week, Pythium blight, brown patch (caused by Rhizoctonia zeae), and anthracnose are active throughout the region. These diseases can cause severe damage in a relatively short period of time, so preventive applications of an effective fungicide are warranted. Caution should be used when treating for R. zeae as some traditional brown patch fungicides (e.g., thiophanate-methyl) may be ineffective.
Although less widespread than in recent years, anthracnose basal rot has caused significiant damage to select golf courses in the region. Fungicide trials over the last two years at courses in Greenwich, CT have revealed considerable differences in fungicide efficacy. Results of these two studies suggest that selecting an effective fungicide for your course will take some local knowledge. While the QoI's tested in 2006 provided little to no control, they provided the greatest level of suppression in the 2007 study. The two studies were conducted on golf courses only a couple of miles apart.
Finally, remember to assist us in our dollar spot research by sending in dollar spot samples from putting greens and fairways. If dollar spot is not appearing on your course, go the extra step and place a small board (6" x 6") on the back of your putting green or fairway prior to your next spray. Results of this study will assist in determing the level and type of fungicide resistance prevalent in New England.
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.