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Cooler Weather Means Recovery

With cooler nights and drier days, turf across New England is beginning to recover from the high heat and humidity of the end of July.  As night-time temperatures continue to decrease into the 50’s, turfgrass plant health and vigor will improve.  However, plants that have seen significant root atrophy from difficult summer conditions and high humidity will not bounce back immediately.  Root growth requires time.  If you have experienced significant summer damage, the best strategy is to cut high, vent frequently and ensure adequate fertilizer levels.  Overseeding is also usually required.  Greens speed will likely decrease but sacrificing speed now will ensure quicker recovery into September.

Categories: Weekly Update

Humidity Sucks

There is no better way to put it than to say that for bentgrass, humidity sucks.  Bentgrass declines rapidly when dew points reach 65-70°.   When air humidity is high for extended time periods, bentgrass stops moving water out of the soil.  The process of evapotranspiration stops and plants essentially stew in their own juices.  Roots suffocate and plants thin and die. Pocketed and shaded greens suffer first and suffer fast. Poa does fine.  It’s a weed and has no problem with saturation. That is its preferred condition and why most push-ups are Poa.  People often think that it is heat that kills bentgrass but this is not strictly true.  Shadow Creek in Las Vegas is a great example.  With bentgrass tees and greens, it performs flawlessly, even in 105° heat.  But as the saying goes “It’s a dry heat!”  Obviously, not all CBG varieties are suited to that level of heat but in general, wet soil and wet air kill bentgrass, not heat.  So punch some holes and pull out the fans.  And lets hope this is a short summer….

Categories: Weekly Update

Don’t forget wetting agent applications

Even though it is currently very humid in the Northeast, I am still seeing a lot of localized dry spot samples in the lab. Because of the wet spring, many courses decided to forgo traditional wetting agent programs. The result has been quickly developing LDS problems as soon as soils dry out.  It is not too late to put out your wetting agents but it may require more applications than normal for it to be effective and recovery from LDS may take longer than normal.  Some courses are seeing good wetting agent penetration down to an inch but the material stops and won’t move any further.  Additional water, wetting agent and venting are required in these cases, to push the material down.  Check your profile a day after wetting agent application to make sure it is working properly.

Categories: Weekly Update

Chilling Injury

Although the winter of 2015-2016 has been unusually warm (winter temperatures did not even arrive until mid-January and many courses were mowing into December) the Northeast has experienced about a foot of total snow and a significant amount of rain during February.  Temperatures continue to oscillate between the 20’s and 50’s on a daily basis and while winterkill and crown hydration are unlikely, this shifting weather has resulted in a few cases of chilling injury.  Chilling injury is more common on bermudagrass but I’ve seen it on both Poa annua and creeping bentgrass/KBG mixes this winter.  Injured turf generally has a VERY unusual appearance, as if aliens has landed on it, and damage follows waves and curves.  Fortunately, injury is limited to leaves and plants recover quickly when incubated.  The clincher for this type of injury is that it occurs on surfaces treated for snow mold as well as on untreated surfaces.  While it can be ugly, quick recovery can be expected once the spring arrives.

Categories: Weekly Update

June: Anthracnose and LDS

Still not much disease activity so far this spring.  The two issues I am seeing currently are basal rot anthracnose on Poa (thanks to all the rain and cool temperatures) and surprisingly, a lot of LDS.   With all the rain we have had I would not have expected to see as much LDS as I have but rainfall has not been uniform across the region and while New England totals have been high, some areas seems to keep getting missed by the rain.  LDS has especially been a problem on fairways.  Finally, the root-knot nematodes came out of the winter with a vengeance.  Galling has been significant on many courses and while this may not cause symptoms this early in the season, badly galled roots will begin to show dysfunction as we get into the warmer and drier months.

Categories: Weekly Update

Still all quiet….

We’ve had a long, cold spring this year and  disease has been correspondingly slow to respond.  Cool season root Pythium has been active in a number of spots but very little else has been observed.  Compared to last year (and the two before it), Southern Rhode Island is almost a full month behind schedule. Some locations are still seeing green-up just now and other locations in Northern Maine still have ice and snow on the ground.  The biggest issue I have seen this spring is winterkill and we have not had this much of it in many years.  In fact, some northern courses have recently stimulated winterkill/damage by removing covers too early.  Obviously, damage varies but areas with poor drainage, standing water and which had visible ice are going to be the hardest hit.  The only solution at this point is a lot of seed. Winterkill is not a regular phenomenon in Southern New England but dealing with it preemptively through site changes can reduce its occurrence even further.

Categories: Weekly Update

April 2013 Week 1 Update, The First Days of Spring

The Easter weekend seems to have signaled the beginning of spring, although I hear it was still snowing out in Pittsburgh last Friday.  We’ve seen 3 days of air temperatures in the 60’s and the grass is rapidly starting to green up with all the rain of the past month.  Samples are starting to trickle in but disease activity is still low.  Root Pythium is the biggest concern following 2 months of rain/snow and we may also start seeming some red leaf spot.

Categories: Weekly Update