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Cold and wet and that damn groundhog

Well, I guess we can "officially" [I just jinxed us] say that winter is over. That damn groundhog in Punxatawney, Pennsylvania screwed us again with the extended winter and my wife even suggested that she may be willing to have someone "take him out" next year. Regardless of whether you enjoyed this snow-filled winter or not, the bottom line is that spring is quickly approaching and it is now time to start planning your disease management programs.

Based on Frank's post last week, I would expect that brown ring patch is just around the corner for turfgrass managers in the Northeast (although some in the mid-Atlantic may be a little ahead and already seeing symptoms).  The biggest thing I have been seeing is cool temperature brown patch and gray snow mold.  With the cold, wet weather throughout much of the Northeast, golf course superintendents should make sure that they are identifying the type of snow mold on their property.  While much of what I have seen in the field looks a lot like pink snow mold, we have actually diagnosed it as gray snow mold.  More specifically, we have identified it as Typhula incarnata based on the orange sclerotia and presence of clamp connections on the hyphae.  While you can't see the clamp connections without a microscope, you can easily identify the sclerotia without the aid of a lens [or if you have poor eye sight, you may need a low powered loop].  If you are dealing with gray snow mold, there is not much that needs to be done in the form of fungicides.  The damage is done and you should now be in recovery mode.

(Above) Sclerotia of Typhula incarnata within creeping bentgrass.

On the other hand, if you do not see sclerotia within these infested areas it is likely that you are dealing with pink snow mold (Microdochium patch).  This may end up being a big problem in the coming weeks as the turf is likely saturated from all of the melting snow and the large storm that has battered the Northeast over the past few days.  In situations where you haven't quite fired up the sprayer or where the greens are just too wet to get on right now, the disease may continue to spread and cause significant damage.  If this is the case, you may consider pulling out the sprayhawk to treat greens with minimal disturbance.

In addition to your planning, the authors here at Turf Diseases have also been doing a little preparation to better serve you as we enter the disease season.  This past week, we launched the Turf Diseases Fanpage on Facebook.  I have to admit, I have been pretty much out of the FB loop and more consumed with the blogs and twitter, but in our first week on FB we had over 350 new fans.  I guess that the blog and twitter still aren't mainstream enough for you so I am glad we added the function.  I hope that everyone will take advantage of the interactivity of the site and contribute.  A brief shout out should be given to Chris Tritabaugh of Northland Country Club for posting the first fan photo (gray snow mold) and to Keith Angilly, Frank Tichenor, and Peter Rappoccio for giving me some insight into what is going on in Connecticut and New Jersey.  Peter and Keith even got into a little discussion about the efficacy of Civatas, which seems to be a popular topic on these threads and it is gaining a lot of attention with only limited information available.

Click below to become a fan of Turf Diseases on Facebook!

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