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Check out the smoke ring on July's Centerfold

It just doesn't get any better than this. Just before the 4th of July weekend, brown patch made its appearance in the Northeast. In this case, however, disease activity was more a factor of a unexpected irrigation schedule then the typical hot and humid conditions. Despite moderate conditions as far south as Maryland (I was unable to hear the mycelium crawling around like Megan stated in a previous post), brown patch was active on sites with poor air movement and excessive moisture. While the temperatures are anything but typical for July, certain factors can continue to influence the appearance of these diseases. Brown patch, caused by Rhizoctonia solani, is a foliar blighter and generally does not kill turf. Additionally, the addition of the QoI (strobilurin fungicides) has made controlling this disease relatively easy. For those of you who have increased the use of Tall Fescue in the roughs or introduced colonial bentgrass on select fairways in the Norhteastern US, this may be one that has not caused much concern for you in the past. These two species, however, are highly susceptible and fungicides are often necessary to maintain adequate turf quality.

In addition to brown patch, the usual suspects keep moving along including anthracnose basal rot, dollar spot, fairy ring (generally Type II [those with the green rings]), and a few other unknown problems. In one case (picture right), samples were sent to just about every lab in the Northeast as well as other labs without a clear answer to the problem. After a visit to the course, the problem does appear to be disease related, but no signs of any turf pathogen could be found. This just goes to show you why all of the turf pathologists will be in business for many years to come. Once you get a handle on one disease, another one comes out of no where to make its mark. Examples of this include summer patch in the 80's, gray leaf spot in the 90's, rapid blight and bentgrass dead spot in the late 90's and early 00's, and probably various others too. If I find out more about the mystery disease, I will pass along this info.

OK, I am getting on the road to Saucon Valley to follow Stan Zontek and the rest of the Mid-Atlantic USGA around the course as they prep for the Women's U.S. Open. Follow the practice rounds with me on twitter @johnkaminski.

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