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Fall is Finally Here!!!

Whoa, what's that stuff coming out of the sky? Ash from fires? Glassy winged sharpshooter exudate? Bird poop?

It's been so long that we've had rain in California, that many of us have forgotten what it looks like! By last count, Los Angeles got over 3 inches of rain, while San Francsico had just over 2.5 inches this week. (Photo of flooding on I-5 in Sacto, Associated Press)

With the rain, we should have gotten some significant leaching salt from greens, which is a good thing since rapid blight was just about the most common disease coming into the lab for the last 3 weeks.

The rain, cooler weather and aerfication = fall is here.

Creeping Bentgrass and Bermudagrass Fall Disease Prevention Practices
For those with creeping bentgrass greens, start thinking about preventive fungicide applications for take all patch control. Also - see Lane's prior post on preventive applications for Pythium root dysfunction here. We have not yet definitely diagnosed this disease from creeping bentgrass in California, but are highly suspicious that it's here. Along with fellow blogger Jim Kerns, we did diagnose this disease last spring from a location in eastern Washington. If you have had some unexplained spring/early summer collapse of creeping bentgrass greens; it may be worth it to have your roots examined for the presence of PRD this fall and winter, and try to integrate some control options this fall that will help with both take all and PRD.

Also - now is a good time to focus on spring dead spot control on bermudagrass. Check out Lane's recent posts on the disease here and here.

Desert Overseeding

Just ask superintendents like David Major, Gil Stiles, Paul Mayes, Willie Lopez and a host of others - if I set up a disease trial on a course, 9 of 10 times, the disease will not show up (10 of 10 times, bikini clad supermodels won't show up either). Now add Tom Shephard at Desert Falls CC to that list. No Pythium in Coachella in our trials started a few weeks ago. I just might start asking superintendents for $1000 bucks a pop to set up trials on their course next year; there'll be a 90% chance they'll have absolutely no disease while I'm there.

Although there have been just a few nights over 68F during the last two weeks in Coachella, for the most part, nights have been in the low 60s and 50s, and daytime temps below 100 (as low as the 70s recently). (Photo of Silver Rock Resort, Riverside Press Enterprise)

Although no Pythium has been reported from the desert, that doesn't mean that the overseed isn't problem free. The cool weather is certainly delaying perennial ryegrass establishment - I hope that the courses there are able to get it up before the courses are set to open. Just to warnings though, please adjust irrigation scheduling on the turf in the cooler weather to prevent other issues from arising, and try to limit play on newly emerged areas if possible. Overwatering and traffic on tender plants this year would certainly do more damage on turf than Pythium this year.

The Bacterial Wilt Mystery Continues - Is There a New Kid in Town?
A few weeks ago, there was a big scare in California regarding potential outbreaks of bacterial wilt on Poa. Although the damage we saw was definitely real, we have not been able to isolate the bacterial wilt pathogen, Xanthomonas translucens, from diagnostic samples. It could be a case of getting to the party too late, but it's hard to draw any conclusions yet based on the limited data we have. We're continuing to work with Dr. Larry Stowell on this issue.

On the other hand, working with Larry & UCR's new Plant Bacteriologist, Dr. Caroline Roper, we have been able to isolate and identify a Pantoea species of bacteria from a few of the diagnostic samples. Some Pantoea species are known to cause diseases including Stewart's Wilt of Corn and a blotch of sudangrass. We'll know in the next few weeks what role these bacteria play in the damage that was observed on a few courses this last summer.

Single No Longer!
Just in case everyone was wondering why I've been running around like a chicken without a head for the last few weeks:

I've been doing new husband-y stuff and it's great.

Thanks to everyone for all of the well-wishes!

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