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Is it fall already? Not quite...

Cooler temperatures across much of the southeast are going to bring a much needed break from summer this week. Most of our summer-time bentgrass diseases, like anthracnose, Pythium root rot, and brown patch, should start to shut down as the bentgrass begins to grow more vigorously.

It's nice to have a little reprieve, but be sure not to let your guard down. These summer diseases can re-activate quickly if temperatures rise again in the coming weeks. The picture to the right of a severe brown patch outbreak was taken in September 2004 after a period of warm, wet weather. Be especially wary during periods of wet weather or when major aerification and/or topdressing practices are planned.

If you've had problems with Pythium root rot this summer, additional fungicide applications are a good idea during wet weather, such as a tropical storm system. If you've had anthracnose problems this summer, a fungicide application just after aerification/topdressing is a good idea as well, as these abrasive practices can cause a flare in anthracnose activity.

Of course, dollar spot should start to become more active as the temperatures cool over the next month. If this disease has been a major problem for you in the past, be sure to start preventive applications soon before symptoms of the disease appear. Once the symptoms appear, dollar spot becomes much more aggressive and difficult to control.

For those with bermudagrass greens, this is the time of year when leaf spot diseases, such as Curvularia and Bipolaris, start to come in. Preventive fungicide applications for these diseases are recommended during wet, cloudy weather or after topdressing applications. Chlorothalonil typically does a good job of keeping these diseases suppressed, but if you are looking for something that lasts longer, iprodione is a good choice.

Most people think of Pythium blight as a hot weather disease, but on bermudagrass greens, most of our problems with this disease are during cool, wet weather in the fall and spring. The image to the right of Pythium blight symptoms was taken on Champion bermudagrass greens last October. In this case, the symptoms appeared very similar to a leaf spot disease, but typical leaf spot fungicides were not controlling it. Once a sample was diagnoses as Pythium blight at our Turf Diagnostics Lab, the problem was easily controlled with an application of mefanoxam (Subdue Maxx).

Soon it will be time to start thinking about controlling large patch and spring dead spot in the warm-season grasses. Stay tuned - this will be the topic of next week's post.

2 Responses to “Is it fall already? Not quite...”

Anonymous said...

That brown patch picture is the Money Shot of turf diseases!

Anonymous said...

Money shot ... I love it!

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