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Kaminski on West Coast?

That's right! I have spent the past week on the west coast visiting my students on their internships (See details here [WARNING...shameless plug!]). During this time I had the opportunity to see some unique management practices and current disease activity in Northern California, Arizona, Utah, and Canada.

One of the most fascinating aspects of traveling to different regions are the various management practices. Having spent a significant amount of time in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, I am familiar with high disease pressure and intense management practices associated with bentgrass and annual bluegrass.

In the areas visited on this "West Coast Swing", however, disease activity is limited and fungicides are used sparingly. Despite this, there were several diseases and other issues that I had a chance to see on the course. In the San Francisco region, The California Golf Club had just rebuilt the entire course and disease activity was limited to a few small patches of take-all on the new bentgrass greens. The most interesting part of this course is the use of "The Greenway Program", which utilizing various cultural practices to help to minimize Poa populations. (Pictured right: turfgrass intern Niels Dokkuma applies a sulfate mixture to the greens by hand as a component of program). In the northeastern portion of California, a few cases of take-all patch were observed on tees, some old snow mold damage was seen in heavily shaded areas, and a few cases of rust were observed on the Kentucky bluegrass roughs.

In the desert, where disease activity is typically low, fairy ring seemed to be the most common problem on the course. As the bermudagrass fairways were starting to kick in to high gear, some remnants of spring dead spot were also hanging around. Although I didn't get a chance to see any on the trip, the most surprising disease in the region were a few select cases of dollar spot. This is the first time that I have heard of dollar spot showing up in the desert! Just another reason why the establishment of a regional dollar spot research project is a good idea.

Just south of Salt Lake City, Red Ledges Golf Course was getting ready to officially open its doors. While I am sure there was disease SOMEWHERE on the course, I did not see ANY disease during a 5 hour tour around the course with my student. The major concerns there dealt with wrapping up construction projects and dealing with animal damage to the select areas of from the elk and voles (pictured right).

My final stop is here in Panorama, British Columbia. Disease pressure here is basically limited to winter pathogens including the snow molds. While diseases are not a concern, major issues include the potential for winter kill. Over the past winter, snow fall in the region was limited during the winter months. While the snow generally acts as a buffer and keeps the turf protected, the greens in many Canadian regions were exposed to -30 temperatures for a long period of time. In fact, much of the damage occurred during a period in April when melting snow on the greens rapidly froze as nighttime temps rapidly dropped. To add to the problems, the slow start to spring/summer in the region is making recovery efforts more difficult. Weather is finally getting to be suitable for growing grass and recovery should be apparent soon.

Thanks to Frank for allowing me to post on his day and to all of the superintendents and students for showing me around the courses!

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