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All Quiet on the Western Front (Sort Of)


I just returned from a Hi-Lo GCSA meeting at Desert Falls Country Club out in Palm Desert, CA. Thanks again to superintendent Tom Shephard for hosting the meeting today! The bermudagrass out there is booming but wow, it was 101 degrees out there and it's only May.

It's totally amazing how diverse California weather can be. It's in the 60s on the coast 70-80s in inland valleys, 90s in the Central Valley and 100s in the desert. Going straight east from Santa Monica - you can have about a 40 degree difference within 120 miles. Yowza!

Last week we still had some pink snow mold activity in northern California. Yes - we can get pink snow mold here without snow cover, but that disease should subside as things warm up through this Month. Well - except for northern coastal locations like Pebble Beach and San Francisco - places that always seem to be cool and wet in our spring and summer months in California, which reminds me of that saying that "the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco". Other than that - rapid blight and brown ring patch are still hanging around causing some problems here and there.

Other coastal and inland areas in the mid 60s - 80s should expect to see significant rapid blight pressure while the Central Valley guys should be looking out for "summer" diseases like southern blight, anthracnose and summer patch.

Start Anthracnose Control Now
Anthracnose is probably up there with swine flu when it comes to diseases you want to avoid. Preventive sprays should be started for anthracnose and summer patch when soil temps are regularly above 68 degrees. Start hitting Poa greens now with systemic fungicides to reduce the pathogen populations and reduce the disease pressure later in the summer. Wait unti you get wiped out with anthracnose and you may wish you had swine flu instead.

Whiting Out Weeds
I have to admit - plant pathologists often do things backwards agronomically to encorage disease in our research plots. Amazingly, gettting rid of creeping bentgrass is in Poa is something that makes sense for pathologists studying annual bluegrass diseases like anthracnose and summer patch.

Recently we've been fooling around with making mesotrione (Tenacity) applications on our research greens to get rid of creeping bentgrass. Mesotrione shuts down carotenoid (pigment) production in certain grassy and broadleaf weeds, resulting in some pretty striking effects. According to the label, Tenacity herbicide is considered safe for use on Kentucky bluegrass, centipedegrass, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, fine fescues and St. Augstinegrass.

Controlling bentgrass in Poa greens is definitely not on the label, but again, plant pathologists do some pretty bass-ackwards things to get good disease.

Signing off from the left coast and until next week!

Frank

One response to “All Quiet on the Western Front (Sort Of)”

John said...

Frank, I liked the post. Be careful with that Tenacity on the Poa annua too as it can ding up some seedlings. If you really want to get the bent out of the Poa, try fusilade. It works like a charm!

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