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

All Quiet….

As most superintendents in Southern New England are aware, winterkill was a major problem from NYC to Boston by the time the snow melted in April.  However, once turf recovered, we were rewarded with a cool and surprisingly dry spring.  Although this year has not been as good as last year in the Northeast for growing grass, it is certainly a close second.  Since the season began I have seen very little disease in my lab.  Approximately 3 weeks ago the summer heat arrived with high humidity but even Pythium blight has only been sporadic. Dollar spot activity has picked up in the past few weeks but if fungicide coverage is in place, it has not been a problem. The only other disease of note  is the occasional bout of basal rot anthracnose, likely a result of the high humidity. Some foliar anthracnose was apparent in June on bentgrass (in response to drought). Water reserves are still holding and I have not gotten any complaints about ponds running dry. Summer patch has been completely absent this year. Unfortunately, golf courses with nematode problems are still experiencing problems. The snows of January and February probably did a good job of insulating them from temperature extremes.  With any luck, the summer heat will start to tail off in the next couple weeks and injury from traffic and high soil temperatures will start to recover.

Categories: Uncategorized

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

Use care with PGR’s in the cold!

Most people are very aware of potential damage to turf when using PGR’s at high rates in the heat of the summer. However, cold temperatures can also exacerbate PGR damage.  In particular, Proxy and cold weather do not mix. When Proxy is applied during periods of freezing or near-freezing temperatures (usually night-time temperatures), it can do significant damage to creeping bentgrass, turning it purple and slowing growth.  This can even happen with night-time temperatures in the 40’s.  Timing is critical with Proxy so superintendents will often try to get it out sooner than later but they do risk bentgrass damage if applications are too early.  Luckily, this damage recovers within a few weeks.  Little to no damage will be observed on Poa under the same conditions.  With the cold spring of 2014, these symptoms have been widely prevalent.   In addition, I know of one course seeing extreme damage to bentgrass with the application of PoaCure.  This is the first incidence I am aware of where PoaCure has cooked bentgrass at cold temperatures but it is something to be aware of.  PoaCure is a new material and a learning curve is often involved with new products.  It is unclear how cold temperatures need to be to cause damage and whether a precipitation component is involved in this particular situation but superintendents should test any new material thoroughly before applying it too widely.

Categories: Managment Practices

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

DO NOT send samples via USPS Express Mail.

Today I discovered another reason why the United States Postal Service is going bankrupt.  When mail comes to URI, it comes from the USPS Wakefield Distribution Center to URI Central Receiving.  No mail is delivered by the USPS directly to URI offices.  The bulk delivery happens once a day, sometime before 10 am.  This is the ONLY time USPS will deliver anything to URI.  What this means is that if your “Express Mail Before 3 pm” package arrives at the USPS Wakefield Distribution Center at noon, USPS WILL NOT deliver it to URI.  They only make one run a day.  Period. Even if you spent $50 for 1-day delivery you delivery will have to wait until the next morning.  And you know what is even worse?  They scan the package “Delivery Attempted, Office Closed”.  I was told by a USPS employee at another post office that they do this intentionally because if they did not, it would be considered a failed delivery and you could get your money refunded.  So in effect, USPS will not deliver the package if it arrives late but will not refund your money even though it is through their own sloth that the package will not be delivered.  Just in case you were wondering, URI is ten minutes from the Wakefield Distribution Center.   So please use FedEx or UPS.  Those packages come straight to the lab.

Categories: Uncategorized

May 2013, Week 4 Update

On about April 12th, it stopped raining.  Most places in New England went  20+ days without any rain.  After that, the humidity plummeted to zero and it stayed cool.  As a result, most of the samples I saw during that period were LDS.  But it started raining on May 9th and has continued to do so, on and off, for the past 10-14 days.  During the last two weeks, frost has continued to be  a localized problem and many of the samples received in that period had turned purpled from cold shock or frost injury. Drought stress exacerbated the frost injury.  Finally, Proxy applied in the cold will cause a lot of purpling and plenty of folks did apply Proxy, no one expecting frost on May 14th.

However, in the past week basal rot anthracnose has popped up in PA and MASS and red leaf spot has also started to move, thanks to all that cold rain.  Despite the fact that there was snow in Vermont 3 days ago, the good news is that the next 4 days will be 90 degrees and extremely humid!   I guess it’s time to keep your eyes out for Pythium blight.

Categories: Uncategorized