Monday, August 17, 2015

Summer disease

Summer months always present more disease pressure to our Turfgrass surfaces.  Hot humid weather is ideal for many biotic fungal pathogens to get the edge on plants that are under many abiotic stresses during these months.  Our grasses grow utilizing a C3 metabolism where 65-70 degree temperature are ideal; when the temperature and humidity levels rise the plant will weaken.  During this weakened period diseases begin to infect as the plant can not naturally fend off the attack and the fungus is very actively growing.  It is during these times that our daily scouting is very important to control excessive outbreaks.  

A very active fungus named dollar spot growing on the 17th tee on Greywalls.  Note the white mycelium on the surface.  

The same dollar spot a day later after treatment with a fungicide.  Note the lack of mycelium, the fungus was killed and the plants will begin to recover.  

Our number one disease management strategy on our fairways is the beautiful golden hue of plant dormancy.  We keep the fairways dry during these months for many reasons.
1.) reduced fungal growth 
2.) reduced water use and pumping costs
3.) eliminates fungicide applications which saves many thousands of dollars on large square footage areas like fairways.  
4.) makes the game much more enjoyable by allowing the ball to roll and bounce down the fairways.  
5.) reduced fuel/labor/maintenance costs which are associated with mowing.  
During the late summer and fall months when days get shorter and the temperatures moderate the turf will recover and green up.  

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