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It's a Mix Out There!

With all of the wacky weather we've had in California, we're seeing a mix of spring and summer diseases in the lab here and through reports from superintendents.
Rapid blight and Waitea are still active on Poa greens as is pink snow mold here and there in Northern California.

Anthracnose still hasn't shown up from Poa greens just yet - but has been seen on stressed perennial ryegrass samples from roughs and on a bentgrass green in Idaho.

In this bentgrass case - low fertility contributed to the disease popping up on mechanically or weather damaged turf.

Bermudagrass samples are starting to show up in the lab with decline or other ETRI on the roots. As we get further into the summer transition to bermudagrass, superintendents are starting to see weak areas thinned out by pathogen activity on the roots over the winter. A healthy dose of sun, heat and water will probably get thinned out areas of bermudagrass to fill in, but take note of these areas and see if you can improve compaction, fertility or drainage here; environmental factors that usually contribute to decline, spring dead spot or ETRI damage on bermudagrass.

It's all about your roots: good roots now means less summer stress later
Already, we've been getting samples in the lab showing heat and summer stress. With rapid changes in weather and conditions, greens can go from looking good to looking like crap in a very short period of time. Often the first heat spell will show where you have good roots. The more roots you can put down before the summer heat starts the better. That means additional solid tine aerification, addressing dry spots will handwatering or soil wetting agents and most importantly, adequate nitrogen fertility. Poa/bent greens need at least a quarter pound of nitrogen per 1,000 sq ft/month and even up to half a pound if you have a lot of play or traffic. Give cool season turf enough food to grow now, because when we start going into the 90s and 100s, cool season turf will start to shut down and you may be in trouble if you don't have enough roots or plant mass to make it through the summer.

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