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Microdochium patch kicking in

Walking around the Valentine Research Facility this morning brought some new disease activity to my attention.  Despite the unseasonably warm weather we had this past week, the slight change in temperatures and moisture finally kicked Microdochium patch into gear on our putting greens.  Although most of the damage that we had noticed prior was caused by gray snow mold, this was brand new activity.  Actually, when I first looked at the symptoms it reminded me of some type of hydraulic or fuel spill.  It was fairly scattered and not too severe at this point, but microscopic examination confirmed the condia (spores) of Microdochium nivale.  I assume that the wet, weather we are scheduled to get over the next two days (combined with more typical temperatures for the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern US) will bring some moderate cases of the disease.  There are probably a lot of fungicides that can control the disease, but it seems that most are utilizing tank-mixtures of chlorothalonil + iprodione as their drug of choice.

In addition to the Microdochium, we have seen select cases of cool temperature brown patch and brown ring patch.  As we have stated in previous posts, identification can be made by incubating a sample in a ziplock bag or tupperware container with a moist paper towel.  If mycelium is present in the morning, you are likely dealing with brown ring patch.  It seems a little early for BRP in most parts of the NE, but with the weather being so screwed up for the last week anything is possible.

Aside from the disease front, many of you may have read the facebook post about annual bluegrass weevils.  According to the USGA agronomists in the Northeast, adult annual bluegrass weevils are already on the move and have been captured in pitfall traps on a golf course in Fairfield, CT.  This is once again early for the little buggers and superintendents would be wise to keep a close eye on this if you have 1) high populations of annual bluegrass and 2) have had a history of ABW damage in the past.  For those of you not dealing with this insect, take it from many of the golf course superintendents in the Hartford region...they are a pain in the rear and resistance problems showing up in the last 4-5 years have made their management even more difficult.

Aside from the bugs and the fungi, now is also the time to start planning for your annual bluegrass seedhead control.  Depending on your choice of PGR (Embark or Primo/Proxy), you will be targeting the seedheads soon.  These control measures are often hit or miss and can vary significantly depending on the location on the course.  As you know, many superintendents base their application timing on cumulative degree days.  Although I still don't think these are great models, they can assist in determining approximate timings.  For everyone in the NE, you can check out Cornell's Forecast site for an update on cumulative degree days.

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