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The Calm Before the Storm

Just a few updates from the Midwest on diseases. A few reports of brown ring patch have been trickling in. The image to the left is from Dr. Derek Settle with the Chicago District Golf Association showing stand symptoms of brown ring patch. We have also had a few samples come into the Turfgrass Diagnostic Lab at UW-Madison. Kentucky bluegrass is struggling with powdery mildew and melting out throughout the Midwest. Finally dollar spot finally reared its ugly head last week when temperatures were warm and humidity levels were high. However, we have shifted back to drier conditions making it difficult for the disease to continue developing.

The weather in the Midwest has been the real story. We are experiencing wild shifts in temperature and humidity. Last week was fairly warm during the day and night with higher relative humidities. Starting last weekend however, our nighttime temperatures were consistantly in the 40's and day time temperatures consistently climbed into the 70's. This has played havoc for golf course superintendents trying to schedule pesticide applications especially those applications targeting seed head inhibition.

Just a quick note about the recent Sclerotinia meetings. A few turfgrass pathologist had a little pow wow about dollar spot biology, epidemiology and management. It was fantastic to see everyone working together to try and understand dollar spot better. Dr. Mike Boehm is working on the biology of the pathogen, using molecular tools to describe the host-pathogen interactions of dollar spot. Dr. Lane Tredway is also using molecular tools to understand why and how fungicide resistance develops. Dr. Geunwha Jung is working on some novel cultivars of creeping bentgrass and fitness of fungicide resistant dollar spot isolates. Dr. John Kaminski, myself and Dr. Damon Smith are focusing on novel fungicide timings and epidemiology of dollar spot. Finally Dr. Joanne Crouch is actually getting close to naming this fungus correctly! Tomorrow they will be discussing a regional USDA project so we can meet yearly to discuss our research and results. This is a very exciting time and with this kind of effort we will see a lot of progress with questions that we still have about dollar spot. Please stay tuned for more information!

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