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

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

A Bizarre Week for Turf Disease

Last week, I received three samples loaded with bacterial wilt of Poa. Plants were incredibly etiolated and cut leaves were streaming like crazy (2 from Boston, one from Long Island). In addition, I also received two samples that were full of foliar Pythium (one from Boston, one from Long Island- different courses than the bacterial wilt). It was not taking out huge chunks of turf but had done permanent damage where it was present. I think this may be one of those spring/fall Pythium blight varieties but I’m not sure. Both samples were full of oospores and zoospores and the superinendents had good chemical coverage- except for Pythium fungicides. Finally, my last sample for Friday was of pink snow mold/Fusarium Patch. This one came from just north of Providence. I also got some bermudagrass in from Florida, bermudgrass decline appeared to be the problem but that should not affect anyone in New England!

Categories: Weekly Update

Gray Leaf Spot is still going strong.

September 27, 2012 Leave a comment

In the past two weeks, just about all I have looked at is Gray Leaf Spot. It is everywhere and at a level I have never seen before in the Northeast. It is probable that much of what we are seeing is because of the very mild winter- much like the mid-Atlantic where this disease is a perennial problem. Gray leaf spot is not very winter hardy and without any winter last year and Hurricane Irene driving much of the disease into our area in 2011, we have more if it than we can handle. A DMI + chlorothalonil application is the best medicine but keep in mind that this late in the season, it will probably hold on until we get a good frost. Slow release granular N will also help turf grow out of the disease (neutral pH, acidifying fertilizers will exacerbate the disease) once the plants get some breathing room following the fungicide application.  And in many cases, the best solution may be to start overseeding now with bent or KBG.

Categories: Weekly Update

Red Leaf Spot too..

September 13, 2012 Leave a comment

In the past week I’ve seen even more gray leaf spot.  It whacked my yard pretty hard and I was forced to go out and put down some granular Eagle before I lost the whole thing.  I just received a sample from Vermont of bengtrass loaded with red leaf spot.  I usually see this in the spring (just a little this spring) but it was raging in 2009, from spring to fall with the cool weather.  I’m not sure how widespread it is but when I first got the pictures, I could have sworn it was dollar spot, the damage was so severe.  But the spores don’t lie….

A DMI is my recommendation.  The strobilurins will also work but it’s an expensive standalone spray to make just for leaf spot.

Categories: Uncategorized

Gray Leaf Spot is on the Move!

September 6, 2012 Leave a comment

In the past week I’ve gotten six different samples that were positive for gray leaf spot from Mass, CT, RI and Long Island.  In at least half of those cases, strobilurins have been used to try and control the disease and failed.   This is not unexpected, gray leaf spot frequently develops resistance to these fungicides (Compass, Heritage, Insignia and Disarm).  The best approach is to tankmix chlorothalonil with a DMI.  High humidity, rain and warm temperatures will drive the disease. It will slow a bit when things cool down and dry out.

Categories: Uncategorized