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The Pacific Northwest Heats Up and Magic Plastic Baggies

Portland Here We Come!
Although many of the nation's turf pathologists have been in Chile this week at the International Turfgrass Research meeting, next week many of us turf pathologists will being attending the American Phytopathology Society Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.

Call it an unexpected coincidence, but the Pacific Northwest has been hammered with very very high temperatures this last week with Portland hitting 103F and Seattle getting up into the high 90s, likely bringing death and destruction to cool season turf in the area. Usually, courses west of the Cascades see only mild summer heat, but this blast of hot weather will have likely brought a round of anthracnose and maybe even Pythium to the area.

On Saturday, some of us will be touring Portland Golf Course and Waverley Country Club with superintendents Forrest Goodling and John Alexander (respectively). I'm looking forward to seeing what problems the summer heat has brought to the area and to some pathologists geting to see how the guys in Portland grow grass. Thanks to Gordon Kiyokawa (Columbia Edgewater Country Club) for helping us coordinate this outing.

Besides having the chance to see turfgrass culture in the Pacific Northwest, Portland is one of the best coffee and baked good towns in the U.S. One such example is Voodoo Doughnuts, a local shop that dares to put crispy bacon on maple bars and offer other "non-conventional" fried and glazed goodies. I'm looking forward to taking some turf pathologists there next week. Maybe they still have the Pepto-Bismol donut there, well unless the FDA stopped them from offering donuts loaded with what technically qualifies as "pharmacueticals". (Pictured here is one of their "voodoo-doll" donuts - Check 'em out (and other great places like Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Pearl Bakery and Crema) the next time you're in Portland.

Meanwhile, Back in California....
The diagnostic lab here at UCR has been hopping crazy with samples this week. You know things are bad when superintendents are dropping samples off at 6am, have 2-3 drop-in visits from local supers and 2-3 visits from both FedEx and UPS before noon every day of the week!

We're seeing a lot of heat and dorught damage on cool season turf here coming in from around the state. Disease-wise, anthracnose and brown patch are showing up in the lab on greens and fairway/rough samples (respectively). Although we have yet to see gray leaf spot on perennial ryegrass, we've had a fair share of anthracnose coming in on perennial ryegrass samples from collars, fairways and roughs - maybe reflecting both the heat and local water restrictions that might be really puttting a beating on ryegrass in the state.

The forecast for the week is hot in the Valleys and cool on the coasts. Expect to see hot temperature diseases like anthracnose on poa greens in inland locations including Riverside eastern San Diego Co., and the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys.

Central California is hot enough at night to have conditions favorable for Pythium, so watch out for that one there. Coastal locations will continue to have dollar spot, rapid blight and brown ring patch pressure.

On the other hand, winter-y conditions will present in Monterey and San Francisco where pink snow mold may be found on cool humid days below 65 degrees.

Isn't it funny that we can have winter and summer diseases active in this state within 60 miles of each other? I continue to be amazed by this state - even as a native born left-coaster.

Amaze Yourself with the Amazing Magic Plastic Bagggie
Although the best way to identify disease problems is sending samples to disease diagnostic labs, the "magic" 1 gallon plastic baggie can be a very useful tool for helping to diagnose a few common summer diseases in a pinch.

Often, fungal mycelia can be seen in the morning in diseased areas, but more often than not - the mycelia will disappear as the canopy begins to dry out. The magic plastic bag (MPB) can help you better identify some of the potential diseases that you may have and also confirm some of the diagnoses you are getting from labs.

Wet your samples down (usually a cup cutter sized plug) and stick them in a plastic bag, seal it and pop it in a warm or room temperature location overnight. The next day, pull out your plugs out and examine them. If you see lots of mycelia growing out of the samples - you know you have active foliar fungal pathogens growing. Depending on what you see - the location and even smell of the mycelia and turf color can help you identifiy some common diseases. (Photo by Scot Dey, Shady Canyon Golf Club)

Mycelia mainly in the foliage, affected leaves look black and greasy, sample smells like fish = Pythium blight

Dense mycelia in the foliage and thatch = brown patch

Dense mycelia in the thatch and soil (or just soil), smells like button mushrooms = fairy ring

Small clusters of mycelia, looks like small cotton balls = dollar spot

Of course - the MPB isn't very good for diseases that don't produce a lot of mycelia, but it's a quick and useful trick for seeing if you have diseases like Pythium blight, brown patch, dollar spot or fairy ring.

Ok - I'll post more tips and tricks using the MPB next week.

Until then, keep and eye out for those diseases and rock on!

One response to “The Pacific Northwest Heats Up and Magic Plastic Baggies”

manu krishan said...

my golf course is in hyderabad, india. there is nothing known as cool weather. the temperature range is from 18 C to 44 C. a tough call to maintain the Penn A-4
will try to analyse the symptoms as explained by the plastic bag method.
have had my share of 'brown patch', 'hydrophbic soil'&'pythium'.
i hope it works.

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