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Powdery mildews--some info on their biology

Hello out there on this final (!) day of April,

Large patch is still rolling out there.

But, the disease that I've been getting most questions about over the last week is powdery mildew. This is not a very common problem in golf course turf but I thought I'd post some information about the biology of powdery mildews because they are kind of interesting and unique from other types of fungi.

There are a lot of species of powdery mildew and, as you may know, they are very host specific. That is, the fungus that causes powdery mildew on turf will not cause powdery mildew on rose, and that one will not cause powdery mildew on lilac.

Another interesting trait of powdery mildews is that they require a living host. Though the plant tissue eventually dies, the powdery mildew needs the host to stay alive while it is feeding on it.

And, because it needs a living host, it is impossible for us to culture powdery mildews in the lab in petri plates.

The 3 figures below summarize some more information about powdery mildew biology. (click to enlarge)

The trip from hell and current disease issues

For those of you following my twitter or facebook account, you probably already know that I had been stuck in Europe for the past two weeks. While I often heard comments like "there are worse places to be stuck" and "I wish I were stuck in Paris", the actuality of it is that the snowball effect of being stuck in Europe was not fun (although I will admit that Paris is now one of my favorite cities in the world). More on my travel problems below. for the turf issues happening now.

While away, it was apparently back to some cooler weather around the region, but things are definitely starting to look more like spring around here each day. Annual bluegrass seedheads seem to be in full bloom and ratings taken last week confirmed that certain treatments can be effective at suppressing the seedheads when properly timed. I will mention that we did see quite a bit of damage as well from some treatments.

In addition to Poa seedheads, brown ring patch seems to be rearing its ugly head again this year. Remember to follow recommendations of found in previous posts to control the disease. Another chronic disease that is active in certain parts of the northeast is anthracnose basal rot. A sample was received today from a golf course that was showing active conidia (spores) of the anthracnose pathogen. I noticed reports of this disease a few weeks back, but believe that most have gotten it under control. This is definitely good news and cases of anthracnose starting this early definitely is not a good sign going into the season. When cases start extremely early (right after snow melt) we usually see things clear up and not persist throughout the year. When cases start showing up in May and June, then the disease seems to last all summer long and cause the most problems.

Early season dollar spot treatments should have been applied in most regions within the past 2 weeks as well. I have not kept up with what is happening in all regions, but at least from what I can see in State College, PA things have been considerably dry and we have even seen some drought damage starting to appear on putting greens. It seems a little early and many of you will push the limits early in the season in order to pre-condition the plants to the stress, but be careful not to go too far as damage has been observed this year.  Of course, rain over this weekend and early this week make the last few sentences a mute point.

As for my time in Europe...

Once the volcano in Iceland started sending ash everywhere all hell broke loose with regards to travel in Northern Europe. Flights were canceled across the board in what they called the worse air traffic problem; surpassing 9/11. In my attempt to get back to the states in reasonable time frame, I was shuttled from Paris to Amsterdam, back to Paris and then to Madrid. This involved about 10 hours in line at train stations, gouging in terms of pricing of hotels, and many hours on the trains. Finally, when we thought all was squared away we got stuck in Montpellier, France because the French train workers were on strike. We ended up renting a car and driving over 900 km through the night to arrive in Madrid at about 3AM on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. We finally made it out of Europe and back to the US at about 11PM Thursday night. For all of you hearing about the situation on the news...I can first hand say that it was worse than you could imagine!  Lesson learned though...when travel troubles like this occur in the future, you can bet that I will just find a seat in a nice street cafe in Paris and relax.  Chasing the travel only made things more stressful and didn't really get me home any sooner!

At least I got to see some cool things while in Paris:

European Turfgrass Society Conference

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the European Turfgrass Society (ETS) Conference in Angers, France. This was a great opportunity to find out what other turfgrass researchers around Europe as well as other parts of the world are currently researching. With so many turfgrass programs and scientists in the United States, it is often hard to see a diverse group of talks at any one show. For instance, scientific conferences in the United States are usually sectioned into various disciplines such as soils, pathology, physiology, entomology, etc. For this reason, I end up migrating to the pathology and more golf-related talks and often miss a lot of other things going on in turfgrass research.
At the ETS conference, all talks are given in one session spread out over several days and mixed with various opportunities to meet and discuss the latest and greatest turfgrass trends with people from across the globe. Below are some highlights of things that I found particularly interesting at this year's conference.

  1. Plant Parasitic Nematodes: Kate Entwistle of The Turf Disease Centre in the UK talked about the increase in nematode activity on cool-season turfgrasses in Europe. The potential for nematodes to cause damage to cool-season turf has been a bit controversial (in my opinion) over the last few years. Many "pathologists" often suggest that any turf that cannot stand the presence of some nematodes probably has other issues more pressing than the nematodes themselves. On the other hand, many "nematologists" often state that these pathogens are in fact the primary cause of many problems. Either way, it does appear that more and more cases of this problem are showing up. Dr. Entwistle stated that some of the main differences among species found in the USA vs. Europe is that the predominant species in the Europe are Meloidogyne and Hilcotylenchus.
  2. Induced Systemic Resistance of Civitas: Dr. Tom Hsiang of the University of Guelph gave another entertaining (Great Introduction about Guelph...I may steal that one) and informative talk about his work to prove that the relatively new horticultural oil Civitas works by inducing natural plant resistance mechanisms. Utilizing Induced Systemic Resistance-related genes, his lab found that the enhanced expression of two jasmonate related genes following treatment with Civitas and inoculation of the M. nivale pathogen. In controlled experiments, Dr. Hsiang also found that Civitas reduced three diseases (dollar spot, brown patch, and Microdochium patch) by 20 to 40% when compared to an inoculated control. Based on field trials presented on this site and by some colleagues, Civitas has been shown to reduce certain diseases, but more field work is needed to work out programs and acceptable tank-mix combination's to provide complete disease suppression.
  3. Preparation for the 2010 World Cup: Although not a scientific presentation about ongoing research, the talk by Dr. A.S. Schoeman on the preparation of the pitches for the World Cup was one of my favorite talks. Dr. Schoeman had a great fluidity to his presentation and gave some interesting facts about the upcoming events. This is the first time that Africa has hosted the World Cup and matches will be played at 10 different venues throughout South Africa. In addition to the ten stadiums, 15 training sites will be utilized and 3 sites will be used exclusively by the referees (what the heck do they need these for?). An interesting component to the preparation is that this will be the first time that matches will be played in HDTV, making the preparation that much more important. Other interesting points include:
    • Most pitches will have Kikuyugrass as the base, but will be overseeded with perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass
    • Logos (currently used for advertising during Rugby matches) will need to be removed prior to the event since these sponsors are not the same for the World Cup.  Current sponsors are asking that their logos be applied with "extra paint" which will make their complete removal more difficult!
    • A few stadiums have "cannon" style irrigation and therefore it will be difficult to pre-dampen the fields (as some teams request) prior to the game without soaking the spectators as well.
For those academics who didn't get a chance to make it to this year's conference, it is a good time to start some relevant research for the European market. The next conference will be held somewhere in England (probably London) in 2012 to coincide with the summer Olympic games. I look forward to attending ETS in 2 years and just hope that mother nature (e.g., the Iceland volcano) cooperates a little better than this year. (Full story on this on Monday).

Large Patch on Zoysiagrass

I visited a golf course at Kanagawa prefecture last week and saw large patch (caused by Rhizoctonia solani) in some areas of the noshiba (Zoysia japonica) rough. What I find especially interesting is what you see in the picture below. The background is Zoysia japonica and has large patch. The foreground is korai (Zoysia matrella) and the disease symptoms are not apparent at all. The patches just stop at the border between the two species of grass.


I usually see large patch on Zoysia japonica and don't recall seeing it (except in pictures) on Zoysia matrella. Large patch development is observed when air temperatures are around 20° C and the disease is most severe in wet soils. You can see in the photo below the severe large patch of a Zoysia japonica rough where the soil is poorly-drained.


In this case again, however, the disease is prevalent on the Zoysia japonica but the adjacent fairway planted with Zoysia matrella is completely free of damage from large patch. The greenest patches of grass in the rough are perennial ryegrass contamination, also unaffected by the large patch, and growing rapidly at an optimum temperature for cool-season grass.

Control of large patch can require fungicide application to the entire golf course. It is consequently an expensive disease to control, and to my eye, one of the most unsightly. But I see it on Zoysia japonica and not on Zoysia matrella. For the breeders, pathologists, and golf course superintendents who have experience with this disease, do you see the same thing? Why do I see large patch on Zoysia japonica while the adjacent Zoysia matrella seems immune? According to textbooks (such as Tani & Beard's Color Atlas of Turfgrass Diseases), both species of zoysia are susceptible to large patch.

1) Large patch; 2) Economic and aesthetic comparison of turf management; 3) Mystery zone of turf death


I have a few unrelated things today: large patch, a guest blog about different management systems, and then a turfgrass mystery.

First, I'll just mention quickly that as our zoysia grass is greening up, large patch is firing. We have had some heavy rains over the past 2 days so the fungus will be happily growing. Here is some large patch in our research plots:

Second, here is a guest post by my colleague Dr. Cale Bigelow at Purdue University. I must admit that Cale and I were both sorely tempted to post on Monday in order to get the honorable Dr. Kaminski all riled up, but then I opted to just post it today. Watch out, though, John...

Cale was part of a study that compared the economics and turf quality aspects of four different management systems. While this study was focused on a home lawn type of environment I think those in the golf course world will find it interesting, too.

Comparing Cool-season Lawn Fertilizer and Pesticide Programs: Aesthetic and Economic Trade-offs

Guest post by Cale Bigelow

There is increasing public interest in alternatives to traditional cool-season lawn fertilizer and pesticide application programs. Historically these programs have been based on calendar driven fertilization and the attitude toward pesticide applications has been a prophylactic approach for controlling broadleaf and annual grassy weeds as well as insects like white grubs. As consumer attitudes toward the perception of a “perfect lawn” begin to change, alternative management methods that involve more judicious pesticide applications and engaging in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and scouting approaches these practices may become more publicly accepted. Furthermore, there is a very strong interest in “organic” products and approaches to lawn care. Currently, the information regarding longer-term performance of organic products in the field is very limited.

To examine the effects of these potential lawn management alternatives, an interdisciplinary field study was conducted between the Entomology and Agronomy Departments at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. Ph.D. student, Victoria Caceres, working with Drs. Doug Richmond, Tim Gibb, Cliff Sadof and Cale Bigelow evaluated four disparate lawn management programs which were: a traditional calendar driven consumer program (CP), a natural organic program (NOP), an integrated pest management/scouting program (IPM) and all were compared to a no input program (NIP). All programs with the exception of the NIP received approximately 3 # N/1000 ft2 annually with the NOP relying on manure-based fertilizers, corn gluten and entomopathogenic nematodes for annual grassy weed and insect control, respectively. The IPM program used traditional products but pesticides were only applied when warranted or thresholds were met. The turf was in full sun, maintained at 3 inches and irrigated only to prevent severe stress and facilitate product applications. The plots were regularly assessed for appearance, greenness, and periodic growth. Individual program maintenance costs were calculated based on product cost and estimated labor costs for product applications/scouting.

Study results:
While there were seasonal differences for appearance, all programs except the NIP program provided a satisfactory appearance and green color that would be suitable to most homeowners. While the NOP was sufficiently green there were significantly more broadleaf weeds in this program, which detracted from overall appearance. This result emphasizes the need to develop effective natural organic products for broadleaf weed management. Additionally, the economic benefits of scouting were demonstrated in the IPM program (Table 1) and illustrates a potential reduction in unnecessary pesticide applications and reduced input costs.

It is important to note that these results are observations over only two growing seasons and the long-term implications of this study should be carefully considered. For example, it is possible that some weed or insect pests could become problematic, canopy greenness/turf density could decline in time and the overall appearance may be objectionable to some consumers. Nonetheless, this study provides the framework for future studies and may begin to allow lawncare professionals an opportunity to consider the possibility of providing an IPM/scouting service to clients that desire this management approach. It should, however, be noted that these consumers should also be willing to accept a less than perfect lawn at certain times through the growing season.

The photo shows a visual comparison of the 4 management systems.

For a more detailed description of this study it can be found in: HortTechnology 20:418-426. Caceres et al., 2010. Aesthetic and economic impacts associated with four different cool-season lawn fertility and pesticide programs.

Table 1. Comparative product and estimated labor costs for four disparate cool-season lawn management programs over two growing seasons.

Management program..................... Cost* ($/A)
  1. Consumer/calendar driven ............... 2,743.00
  2. IPM/scouting .................................. 1,989.00
  3. Natural organic ............................... 3,498.00
  4. No input ........................................... 0.00
*Note this value is for two growing seasons and does not include mowing costs.

And, finally, here is a turf mystery to solve:

I know it's another home lawn, not golf course, but spills can happen anywhere. This certainly looks like a spill, eh? The top part (the totally dead zone) occurred last fall, and then this spring it started moving out (downhill).

The first thing that came to my mind was a spill of herbicide, fertilizer, or de-icing salt but the client insisted that this did not happen. Of course, people do forget, and they do not always know what other members of the household (or golf course) have been up to! But, what are some other possibilities? Well, notice that the damage is right by the front door. It is easy to imagine that someone may have worked with a household cleaning chemical, a paint thinner, etc and then dumped the bucket outside. Or, they deep-fried a turkey on the front patio at Thanksgiving and then dumped the grease. Or, they spilled lawnmower gas. Or, Clifford the Big Red Dog is real.

There are plenty of scenarios you could imagine where something got spilled or dumped but at the time it did not seem like something that would cause a problem.

If YOU have a crazy idea on what caused this, leave a comment. Maybe I'll have a prize for the best story!

Final Thoughts on Snow Mold This Spring

All of our snow mold trials have been rated this year. In our most southern site in Milwaukee and in Minneapolis, MN, snow mold did not develop. However, in Stevens Point, WI, Marquette, MI and Brainerd, MN we had phenomenal pressure. Especially at our Marquette site, which is shown in the image on the right. So I don't beat a dead horse too much, the idea with snow mold control is to mix products or use pre-mixed products. Mixtures of two or three of the following active ingredients, trifloxystrobin, iprodione, triticonazole, myclobutanil, propiconazole, thiophanate-methyl, chlorothalonil or fludioxonil, performed well at all of our sites. Check our website in a couple of weeks for this year's results! And if you are in the area stop in at one of our Snow Mold Field Days- April 14th (Brainerd, MN) April 15th (Stevens Point, WI) and April 16th (Marquette, MI). Please get in touch with myself or Paul Koch ( if you would like specific information about these events.

The issue with snow mold control I do want to address is breakthrough. Many individuals experienced breakthrough with some products that traditionally do exceptionally well in our trials. So what is going on? I believe it is a timing issue. In our trials we typically apply fungicides at least two weeks prior to snow cover and many times a month prior to snow cover. Typhula sclerotia (survival structure) are thought to germinate when soil temperatures reach 32 F or soon after snow fall and then the mycelium would initiate an infection. So you are probably thinking then it is best to wait as long as possible to apply fungicides for snow mold control. Well that may not be the case. Recent research at UW-Madison regarding fall nitrogen applications shows that only 10 % of the nitrogen applied in November actually makes into the turfgrass plant. Transpiration is minimal during this time, therefore acropetal penetrants are likely not moving within the plant. Remember that acropetal penetrants like propiconazole, myclobutanil and thiophanate-methyl, enter the plant move in the xylem with the transpirational stream.

Basically when applications are applied very late in the year, the fungicide is likely only on or within the cuticle layer and not within the plant. If coverage is poor or infection occurred prior to snow fall (as is likely the case with Microdochium nivale), then a bit of breakthrough will occur. Then each year breakthrough occurs, inoculum levels will increase and eventually the chemical practice implemented is overwhelmed. All of this is just thinking out loud, but my predecessor Dr. Gail Worf always recommended applying fungicides for snow molds before deer season (Gun) opens in Wisconsin. This is normally the third weekend in November, which is typically 2 to 5 weeks before snow fall (that persists) in the Madison area.

We are doing some research to shed some light on these questions I have raised. One of my students Paul Koch, is examining the degradation rate of the fungicides chlorothalonil and iprodione in the absence and presence of snow cover. He has found that we can expect disease suppression with these two products for at least 28 days in a winter environment. We have yet to detect a difference between degradation rates of these two fungicides in the absence or presence of snow cover. Admittedly however, we are still doing some data crunching and this may change once our statistical analysis is completed. Then this fall we are going to conduct a fungicide timing study to determine when snow mold fungicides should be applied. In this study we will use a small number of fungicides representing at least one contact, systemic and a mixture of both types of fungicides. We have not worked out the exact details at this time, so any comments would be appreciated!

Besides snow mold, we have seen a few odd problems this spring. One in particular was fairly severe damage from what appeared to be fairy ring on a stand of Kentucky bluegrass grown on pure sand. The stand symptoms were necrotic rings with an orange tint and a strong mushroom aroma to the thatch layer. When we incubated the sample, a fungus with large clamp connections popped out the thatch. The odd thing about this problem, was the necrotic rings were present immediately after snow melt. There was type II fairy ring symptoms in this field prior to snow cover, so maybe the dark green areas were more susceptible to winter injury is my theory. Maybe others have seen this with fairy ring or maybe I was totally off with my diagnosis, once again any thoughts or comments on this would be appreciated. Next Wednesday is one of our Snow Mold Field Day dates, so I will likely not post anything. Hopefully I will see some of you there!

It's Gettin Hot in Here...

The weather this week basically got the season kicked into high gear in a fast way. Everyone seems to be out mowing turf and actually get substantial growth. If you are farther south (Virginia and Maryland for this blogger) then things almost seem like you are in early summer mode. The weather this season is almost as unusual as the winter last season. In State College, we had our first snow on October 15th and things didn't really look back.

Below: image from the earliest snow storm in State College, PA history (October 15, 2009).
Day 32_Confused

Now we are only in early April and temps have been in the mid 70's to low 80's and I am not sure what impact this will have on the turf this year. Based on some observations around the area, annual bluegrass weevils are moving, annual bluegrass seedhead treatments are going out, and early season dollar spot applications are just around the corner. This week I posted a poll (top right of the blog) and it seems that the verdict is still out with regards to when seedhead controls should be applied. So far there is a tie between those of you checking the boot stage and those of you using the degree day 50 model to time your applications. In State College, we are at 89.5 GDD this year, but I have yet to see the boot stage of annual bluegrass much less any actual seedheads. I am sure some of you have already started to see them, but I haven't yet. Although seedhead control doesn't seem to be very related to disease activity, the work coming out of Rutgers showed that controlling seedheads and then following up with Primo applications did not increase anthracnose activity and in some years even resulted in a slight reduction in disease severity. This is a question that I get a lot at this time of year because anthracnose is active throughout the region on some courses.

As I mentioned, early season dollar spot is an area gaining considerable interest among golf course superintendents and there is no shortage of controversy among pathologists either. My lab has been conducting studies on the early season control of dollar spot since 2005 and it does appear to be effective at suppressing the pathogen early in the season (See the old blog post for more info). Differences, however, have been observed in effective fungicides among geographic regions (Jim pointed this out in this post). So, although there is not an exact science with regards to these applications, here are my thoughts (for what its worth):
  1. Early season applications can be applied around the second true mowing.
  2. Early season fungicide applications reduce inoculum and/or delay the onset of the disease.
  3. I don't care which fungicide you use as long as you pick one that you know works for dollar spot at your course.
  4. There may not be a huge difference in the level of control you see from these applications when compared to a more traditionally timed (~late May), but "anecdotal" evidence suggests that these applications may reduce the severity of the disease later in the year (more work to come).
  5. There is no need for these applications unless you experience chronic, difficult to control dollar spot symptoms during  the year.
  6. Don't delay/reduce/stretch fungicide applications if conditions favorable for dollar spot exist in the fall.  We have seen many cases of "disease resurgence" where dollar spot within treated areas becomes more severe than in areas that had never received an application.  This is often where we see the fall pitting type of dollar spot.
So, that's about it for this week.  I would try to write more, but it is pretty difficult to type with only 9 fingers...especially when the missing finger is also my "backspace" and "enter" finger on the keyboard.  In case you missed the story this Easter weekend, I nearly lost the tip of a finger while staining my deck.  I know, this is absurd and I hear even the folks at GCSAA headquarters were getting a laugh around the water cooler with this story.  If you REALLY want to SEE what happened, feel free to check out the images here, but I warn you that they are a little gross!

Signing off from the right coast (and with only 9 fingers)... hear the inspiration for the blog title click here.

More About Seashore Paspalum

I wrote previously about the Wow Factor seen with seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum) and its susceptibility to dollar spot. Seashore paspalum seems to be especially susceptible to dollar spot in the growing environment of Southeast Asia. The photo below is the Salam variety of seashore paspalum, grown in Southeast Asia with optimized irrigation, mowing, and fertilization for seashore paspalum, but without using fungicides. Dollar spot can cause severe damage to the turf when fungicides are not used.
This disease has recently been confirmed as dollar spot in South China and in my experience with disease occurrence and control throughout Southeast Asia, dollar spot is the primary disease infecting seashore paspalum turf.

There is something else that can look a lot like dollar spot on seashore paspalum turf, but is not. I have seen this at Dubai, Hawaii (sorry for straying out of the international region!), Hong Kong, and Thailand. At Dubai in the photo below, on a seashore paspalum tee, this has the appearance of dollar spot mycelium, or perhaps even pythium.
At Hawaii, on a seashore paspalum green, you can see similar symptoms that appear very much like dollar spot: bleached leaves, thinned foliage in the spots, each spot approximately the size of a silver dollar coin.
Here is a closer look at an individual spot on the green.
But this is not dollar spot. The photo below shows a seashore paspalum lawn at Hong Kong Disneyland, and the bleached spots are much larger than what we would see from dollar spot. These are clearly patches of damaged turf, not spots.
What is causing the symptoms that look like dollar spot at Dubai and Hawaii? What is causing the patches of bleached turf at Hong Kong? I'm sure someone will quickly give the answer. Please leave your answer in the comments section of this post or at the Turf Diseases Facebook page.

Getting ready for a new turf research season


Wow, it is hard to follow Frank's April Fools Extravaganza. I need to get some of that Armageddon.

The detailed synopsis of March Madness was impressive. However, I am wondering if anyone else has worked or been a student at as many March Madness schools as I have? I was an undergrad at Wisconsin, grad student at Cornell, postdoc at Michigan State, and now I work at Kansas State. Part of my collegiate fashion collection is below. Just call me March Madness Barbie. Anybody else got four? :)

On the turf side, there is not too much exciting disease to report on, but I have been busy thinking about the upcoming field season. The other day I headed out to our turfgrass research facility to think about where to put plots, etc. I found some interesting things.

Though we often cause turf problems on purpose in order to study them, we are not without our share of unintentional turf problems. For example, we have had some thatch issues here in this plot area, and the thatch seems to have led to some winterkill. Each spring, in the diagnostic lab, I get a few samples of turf that experienced winterkill due to overly thick thatch, usually from Kentucky bluegrass home lawns.

A few freeze/thaw cycles have heaved some of our plot markers out of the ground. Fortunately, enough markers remain intact so we can find our correct plots again:

In 2009 we grew a 5-foot tall “living windbreak” out of sorghum-sudangrassto try to decrease airflow in a brown patch study area. Since brown patch thrives in humid areas where dew accumulates we were trying to block drying winds.Well, it appears that some creatures moved into the windbreak area and have been enjoying it all winter:

And, for all you city-folk:

Speaking of creatures, our favorite turf research facility neighbors are out in their pasture just over the fence. They like to watch us, and sometimes they have helpful comments on the nuances of experimental design. Several of them are fistulated (Frank, try to keep a straight face, that is really what it is called) meaning there is an intentional hole (with a removable plug) to allow access to the rumen. This is usually associated with a research institution so I am guessing the KSU vet school or animal science department has something to do with it, perhaps a feed efficiency study.

Since by now you are all very curious, for information on how to properly explore a cow rumen you can visit this website:

My main squeeze, Kris, works at the KSU vet school and he sometimes leads tours of school kids who have the opportunity to reach into the rumen and pull out some contents. Some of these kids say they want to be vets… until they can’t quite handle the thought of being up to their elbows or shoulder in a cow rumen! It’s a reality check that going to vet school isn’t all about fluffy kittens.

Happy April 1st!: Mild in the West, New Fungicide, & NCAA Action

The Mild, Mild West

This week looks like it's been very mild on the left coast.

Daytime temps have been anywhere from the mid 50s to the high 70s throughout California with some showers here and there.

We picked up a hit of anthracnose this week from an annual bluegrass green in the Central Valley. It's a little early for anthracnose to be running rampant on greens, but this disease can show up just about anytime you have low fertility and stress on greens.

Other than that, with the cool temperatures and some moisture, Rhizoctonia large patch should continue to be active.

Martin Howard (Trump National) sent this photo in from last week showing great symptoms of large patch on kikuyugrass in southern California. Thanks Howard!

New Fungicide Unveiled today at the Asian Golf and Trade Show
In other news, a new broad-spectrum fungicide was unveiled today at the Asian Golf and Trade Show taking place in Helmand, Afghanistan. Developed jointly by scientists at the North Korean Institute for Golf and the Iranian Center for Amenity Turfgrass, Armageddon XL® fungicide shows great promise. Armageddon XL® fungicide provides season long control against major diseases such as dollar spot, brown patch, gray leaf spot, and anthracnose and Waitea patch. USGAA Agromomist Stan Zantac was impressed with the results, "I haven't seen anything like it before" he said, "a single application controlled everything in a 10 mile radius." GSCA Director of Research, Clark Throttle, was similarly impressed: "wow, this s*#t works." Although effective for disease control, Armageddon XL® can cause some phytotoxicity and browning on creeping bentgrass, fescue and perennial ryegrass. "I think it's a rate issue," said Throttle, "but I'm sure that they'll get it worked out." However, Armageddon XL® shows excellent safety on kikuyugrass and annual bluegrass. Armageddon XL® comes in a single 2.2 lb package or as an 8 box link-pack with it's own proprietary delivery system. According to the manufacturer, the 2.2 lb package is more than enough to treat a whole golf course, while the link-pack would be effective for treating a large metropolitan area. Availability is still unclear, as a U.S.–based distributor has not yet been identified. A label has been approved for all states except for California and New York. Expect a launch of Armageddon XL® soon in 2010!

Update from the NCAA Tournament
The Men's NCAA Championship will be wrapping up in just a few short days with the Final Four semifinals taking place this Saturday and the final on Monday. A number of turf schools (and turf program alumni) were represented in the 65 tournament teams including Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Minnesota, Florida, K-State, Kentucky, Cornell, Wisconsin, Clemson, Texas A&M and Purdue. Here's a quick recap from last week's action in the regional semi-final and final match ups.

In the East bracket, Frank Rossi's Cinderella-season was ended by Kentucky in the semi-finals. The duo of Powell and Williams were too much for Rossi and the Cornell Big Red as the Wildcats moved on 62-45 only to be brought down by the Mountaineers of West Virginia in the East Regional Final. You can catch more of Frank's video wrap up of the tournament at TurfNetTV.

In the South bracket, Purdue was crushed 57-70 by Duke in the semifinals. "Zac's transfer to Nebraska has left us with a big hole in our line up," said Boilermaker captain Cale Bigelow, "but we're hoping to bring in some new blood for next year's season."

In the West, K-State was knocked out by Butler 56-63 in the final. "WTF!?" exclaimed a shocked Jack Fry "Those guys don't even have a turfgrass program!"

But the biggest action last week was taking place in the Midwest bracket as the Tennessee Vols went head to head with Ohio State in the semi-finals. Karl Dannenberger's blocked desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer sealed the Buckeye's fate as the Vols took the nail biter in to the finals 76-73 against Michigan State. The Spartans, advancing to the Midwest Final by taking out Pete Dernoeden and the 'Terps in the second round and University of Northern Iowa in the semifinals, were hot and ready to face the Vols in Tennessee's first time to the elite eight in school history. Although Trey Rogers had limited play in the first half due to foul trouble, Vargas and Nikolai stepped it up, each adding double-digits to the scoreboard, and the Spartans led by as much as eight going into the second half. Despite a late-game rally by the Vols, the Spartans held them off to move onto this week's Final Four 70-69. "You know, Tennessee has got a lot of talent in those young guys like Sorochan, Horvath and Brosnan, " said Ron Calhoun, coming into the MSU starting line up to replace an injured Kevin Frank, "but when it comes down to it, it's hard to beat an experienced team like us. Better luck next year Tennessee."

So, in the spirit of camaraderie amongst turf programs, GO SPARTANS! Best of luck to Michigan State this Saturday vs. Butler. If MSU should fall, it's ABD here in the Wong Lab: "Anyone But Duke".

Until Next Week, Have a Great April Fool's Day!

Signing off from the Right Coast….

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