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Turf Diseases Showing Their Muscle

Well, if any of you read my weekend post update from my most recent trip to South Africa then you know that I have been out of the loop for about 10 days. Just prior to my departure from State College, however, I noticed a considerable increase in temperatures and relative humidity and could just about smell the dollar spot getting ready to break as I got on the plane. Well, one day later and “boom” it appeared with a vengeance.

So around the region, we are now seeing just about all of the diseases you could imagine during the summer months (except for Pythium). Dollar spot has been active throughout much of the mid-Atlantic region for some time and now seems to be spreading. Anthracnose continues to pitter-patter along on annual bluegrass putting greens and the region even experienced a true “summer heat wave” for at least one day before things seemed to settle back to normal. I am even seeing brown patch on perennial ryegrass in State College. Some jackass decided to seed PRG this spring and "juice" it with nitrogen...oh wait that was me.

Since dollar spot broke, we will be evaluating all of our early-season trials in the next few weeks to see how things turned out. Based on our initial application timings and our applications just prior to our most recent outbreak, this should be a good representation of what a typical early-season application can do. We also are working on a project in conjunction with John Inguagiato at the University of Connecticut to assess the seasonal implications of effective fungicides in plots treated with the early season apps. In other words, are they going to actually help you manage the disease down the road.

Although dollar spot seems to be an “old dog”, you should expect that much more information related to the biology of the pathogen and management practices in the next few years. A group of researchers, lead by Dr. Tredway (NC State; pictured right) and Dr. Boehm (Ohio State), will be joining forces this year to develop a long term project to tackle this disease. I won’t say much about it since this is Lane’s baby, but I am excited none the less.

OK, well the stay at home was short-lived because as you are reading this I am in Ohio for the first round of my internship visits for students in the 2-year program. The first stop is to Muirfield Village to check out a couple of days of the practice rounds for the Memorial Tournament and to visit with my student interning with Paul Latshaw. It is then a quick trip to Oakmont for internship visit #2 and then back to Penn State on Friday for more trials and ratings. Although I will be traveling around the region and will try to report, I don’t anticipate seeing much in the way of diseases at either of these courses. Next week I will be heading through PA and part of New England, so I should be able to get a full sense of what is happening during the month of June.

In case you missed it, we were featured in this weeks spotlight. Continue to spread the word!

A Lekker Conference in South Africa

I just returned (as in Friday night) from a week trip to visit golf courses in South Africa and speak to their superintendents (don’t call them greenkeepers) at their Biennial Talking Turf conference. This post is not necessarily about what is happening in terms of diseases at this moment, but a general overview of the grasses and types of problems that they encounter.

One of the primary purposes of heading over to South Africa (aside from giving two talks at the conference) was to attempt to collect dollar spot samples for a large project that Dr. Tredway is working on. Although I did see some “old” dollar spot symptoms on a variety of species, I am not sure how much of this we will be able to isolate from. My initial visits took me to a few golf courses in the Johannesburg region where the primary species were kikuyugrass (image right) and creeping bentgrass in the fairways and putting greens, respectively. I did manage to visit a golf course that had nearly pure Poa annua putting greens.

This brings me to my next thought on the whole visit to South Africa. Aside from the doctors’ warnings prior to my visit (more in a later post), I was pretty unclear as to the types of turf that they grow or the conditions in which they grow them in. Well, it seems to be fairly similar to the United States in terms of diversity with a primary exception being that our seasons are opposite. South Africa is just now entering the autumn/winter months and won’t see spring until around sometime around August/September (if I remember correctly). They do, however, manage similar grass species. The primary putting green species is creeping bentgrass and/or annual bluegrass. There are some courses that do have bermudagrass greens. One commonality among the golf courses is that most seem to be managing kikuyu fairways. I did see one course that had bermudagrass fairways.

As far as diseases, these too were very diverse. During my visits in the Jo’burg region, I only saw some dollar spot and what I believed to be spring dead spot on bermudagrass (although it was appearing in the fall) and kikuyu patch (which again I believe to be spring dead spot). Fairy ring was also prominent on the putting greens of another course. From the superintendents in the Cape Town region, I was informed of putting greens with active anthracnose, dollar spot and even Microdochium patch. Algae (which I attribute to either extreme summer temperatures causing thinning and/or excessive moisture) is also a major problem.

A major disadvantage to the superintendents in the region is the lack of educational resources on a whole. There is no formal turf education in the country and traveling to the states is extremely expensive for a majority of the superintendents. I did meet two individuals who were studying in the Penn State World Campus program and at Elmwood College in Scotland. Otherwise, much of their information comes from the web or books and little positive confirmation of the diseases they have are available. Despite these limitations, I found the superintendents to be very knowledgeable and interested in management strategies.

In trying to keep this to our readable two minute post, I will wrap up by saying thanks to all of the superintendents who showed me around their courses; Sue for inviting me to speak at the conference; Dr. Vargas (aka Elvis shown to the right) for once again creating an entertaining environment and for stirring the pot with his views on resistance management; Marinus for driving us around for the week; Aquatrols, Syngenta and Toro for sponsoring the event; and to everyone else I met. This trip provided me a lot of information for more international posts that I will put up over the next few months. In the meantime, check out the photos from the trip. It was truly the trip of a lifetime.

Oh, and as for “lekker” in the post’s title. This was explained to me as an Afrikaan term that means something that is “better than nice”. Although there was no literal English translation, I took it as meaning “awesome”.

Turf Blog Featured on

Last summer, about 2 months or so after the launch of the Turf Diseases blog, I was interviewed about the groups’ new plan to assist golf course superintendents with their turf problems. While visiting a student intern at Whistling Straits, I relayed the start of the blog to GCSAA. It is interesting to look back at this video and see how far we have come in just over a year. We have since increased our awareness on twitter and more importantly and more effectively created a Facebook Fanpage to help superintendents and others interested in turf diseases keep up to date. We have also added the international posts to assist those in other countries who may not have the resources available to identify diseases or select the proper control measures.

Although we are currently taking things slowly so that we don’t get too far ahead of ourselves, we are constantly thinking of new ways to make the site better. If you have any ideas on what we can do (that won’t take us 40 hours per week to do), please feel free to let us know. We are currently running the various sites using our own time and resources and this is the limiting factor, but we try to post the most timely and relevant information as often as possible. Again, I know that many of you are lurkers and don’t comment, but if you feel the urge please leave a comment and let us know what you think.

Mystery Spots & Pink Patches

Mystery Spots In the West
Not much is going on in the West this week – a little brown ring patch here and there and some early season anthracnose are popping up on Poa greens. Weather has been pretty mild in the West with some drizzle and rainfall here and there (more so in the PNW than in California), with temps in the 70s and 80s expected for most of California next week. For the most part, cool season turf, especially Poa, is pretty happy.

One thing that has been reported recently, are white and yellow spots on greens. White spots have been reported sporadically on Poa greens in California in the last week or two.

That's what they typically look like on Poa greens and what is called "white leaf". Although we know that bermudagrass white leaf is caused by a phytoplasma (small wall-less bacteria), so far, no cause (pathogen or otherwise) has been firmly associated with this malady on Poa or bentgrass greens in the U.S. Thus, we don't have any useful management suggestions other than upping N and micronutrient fertility and maybe spraying some chlorothalonil or mancozeb to keep alage out of any thing areas.

On the other hand, we've also gotten some samples of bentgrass from the PNW and Montana that have yellow spots (like the ones above). I suspected Pythium Root Dysfunction in these cases (since we'd picked it up from a Washington bentgrass green last April) or algae causing yellow spot, but examination of samples in the diagnostic lab showed no signs of pathogens, namely Pythium or algae. In this case, I'd have to make the same lame recommendations for white leaf and say let's wait and see what happens.

On a side note - ever been to the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz? Trippy, cheesey and fun at the same time. Avoid the use of restricted prescription pain killers before you go there.

Pink Patch

This photo was sent in from Craig Ellis at El Dorado Country Club in Indian Wells. This is a great photo of pink patch on overseeded hybrid bermudagrass. Despite the 'sexier' name, pink patch is very similar to red thread, and is caused by a different fungus. Check out more info on the disease here via Dr. D's pest note on red thread and pink patch.

Travel Safe!
I hope Dr. Kennelly has a safe trip to Tajikistan this next week. How much trouble can she possibly get in? (a lot - ed.). A quick search for golf courses and Tajikistan on Google gave no results – anyone know of one there? I'm looking forward to hearing about her adventures when she gets back.

Until Next Week, Signing Off From the Right Coast....

The Blob and Borat


I'm posting a day early since I'm leaving town tomorrow. Frank and I have known each other a long time, and I'm sure he'll forgive me. Plus, he knows I have more grad-school era blackmail photos of him than he does of me.

It's actually been a fairly quiet week for turf diseases. Dollar spot is continuing to be active and so is large patch.

One weird item from the week is the big green blob.

Here's a shot of it in the field, by my grad student Ken Obasa:

This seems to be some type of algae that is more robust than your typical algae. At the course, the crew said that it is plump and green in the morning, then turns black and dry in the afternoon. I don't think they should let anyone near it alone... that green blob looks hungry to me!

Our lightning adventures continue.

Steve Wilson, Superintendent at Meadowbrook Golf & Country Club in Prairie Village, KS, sent in this photo:


Steve said:

“I’ve attached a picture of a tree on our #5 hole that got struck by lightning about 5pm this past Wednesday. The strike blew all the bark off the trunk and split the tree. There is
an irrigation satellite about 10 feet away from this tree that suffered damage and all the sprinklers (72) on this satellite turned on at the same time when the strike occurred (hence the irrigation running in the background).”

Thanks Steve for sharing the picture and details.

What is this:


It is not West Virginia

I’m headed there for a few days, starting tomorrow.


1) It’s a ‘Stan

2) It is a former member of the USSR

3) The main language is one of the modern variants of Persian. That is, it is NOT derived from Turkic origins.

4) More than fifty percent of the country is over 9,800 ft above sea level


The answer is Tajikistan. It’s in yellow.


I’m a new member of a project sponsored by the US Agency for International Development (US AID) for integrated pest management of potato, tomato, and wheat (I work on some food crops in addition to turf & ornamentals). The project has components in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. For information on the first 5 years of the project you can check out this page:

I’ll be joining the entomologists who carried out the first 5 years of the project to start a new 5-year project that also includes plant pathology. As one example, the project will identify 3 graduate students from those countries to come spend some time in the US to receive training.


What is the time difference? 10 hours

How do you get there? Kansas City > Chicago > Paris > Istanbul > Dushanbe (capital) on American Airlines, Air France, Turkish Airlines, and then some on Delta on the return

How long does that take? I really don’t want to know. About 30 hours. I’ll be trying to catch some sleep on planes and during a 6.5 hour stopover at Istanbul.

Have you traveled overseas before? In grad school I worked in Australia 3 times, for about 2 months each time. And, I did the backpack around Europe thing. So, I’m no stranger to jet lag. But, central Asia is an order of magnitude more adventurous than any prior overseas travel.

Do you have to wear anything special? Nothing too unusual. I have some long skirts, modest shirts, and I do have a headscarf if a situation arises where I need it though in Dushanbe it is not too common.

What language do they speak? Tajik. And, a lot of people speak Russian from the USSR days. Tajik is written in the Cyrillic (Russian) alphabet.

Is that where “Borat” is from? No, that’s Kazakhstan.

dollar spot in the rise

Dollar spot is picking up. Just in the last 5-days I've heard a significantly increased chatter about dollar spot in putting greens, and the other day a sample came in with dollar spot in a fairway. So, the season begins.

We've had cool, wet weather but starting tomorrow temps will surge into the 90's. I'm worried about the stress implications of that. I think rootzones have been saturated in some places and a sudden surge to hot/dry could cause problems.

Just south of here, Oklahoma has been hammered with nasty weather including hail.

Here's one example:

I saw some photos of hail damage in a putting green where the the whole thing was marked with hail-divots. Big mess. Since I did not receive the pics directly from the photographer I'm hesitant to post them, though. I remember when we had baseball-to-softball sized hail here in northeast Kansas 2 years ago and several courses had a lot of work to do to work those dents out.

Finally, large patch is still evident at many sites, and spring dead spot too.

Above Average Rainfall in 2010 in California; Brown Ring patch on Bent?

Finally, after being delinquent for over a month, I'm getting back into the habit of regular blog posting. It's been a hectic month with travel in the Pacific Northwest, California, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.

As far as diseases in the West, it looks like things have been fairly "calm" disease wise. Brown ring patch seems to be active on Poa greens, but other than that, it doesn't seem like anyone is screaming about diseases (although I've heard that with the ups & downs in weather conditions in the West, Poa seedhead production has been coming and going over an extended Spring season this year.

California is Above Average!
(Well, rain wise anyways)

I was watching the Amgen Tour of California bike race over the past few days on Versus and thought about how rainy or overcast it's been looking on the stages from Davis to Santa Rosa and San Jose to Modesto. Looking at the The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website, I pulled off the info for California's rainfall from last July to now and it looks like we're about 7% above normal (or average) rainfall in the state based on the locations presented. Compared to 2009 (which was about 28% below normal), we are in much better shape.

* PON = % of normal rainfall

As a result, I am hoping that we'll be free of any emergency water restrictions that were present last year. One big added bonus to all of this rainfall is a definite lack of rapid blight diagnoses in the West this spring. Normally, we'll pick up rapid blight fairly regularly in the spring and it will often start picking up quickly in late April as overcast days mixed with temps in the 70s and 80s create conditions great for the disease on salt affected sites. I am really hoping that the rainfall this year will have really knocked the sodium out of many locations and we can look forward to less salt and rapid blight issues going into this late spring and early summer.

By the way, wouldn't you know it, just as we got some research funding from some of the California GCSAs to do some rapid blight work, the disease disappears. Apparently, I still have the ability to scare away diseases (and bikini clad supermodels) on research locations.

Waitea Think About This?

As mentioned previously, brown ring patch (Waitea circinata var circinata) is active in the West. Comments on our Facebook page also say that the disease is pretty active in other parts of the US. I got a little treat by email this week from a superintendent in southern California who sent in a picture of disease on his 2 year old bentgrass greens. Although the rings are not what we typically see with brown ring patch (BRP), this really looks like the pattern of the disease. Although bentgrass is normally more resistant to the disease, BRP has been diagnosed from creeping bentgrass in the West a few times this last year. Anyone else seeing this on creeping bentgrass this year? We're still confirming Waitea or not, but dang, that would be something new if BRP starts becoming more active on creeping bentgrass!

How Many Facebook Friends You Got?

Finally, just some concern and observations. As you know, our blog is linked to The Turf Diseases Facebook Page . You may have also noticed that there is a Facebook page for Poa annua and Creeping Bentgrass.

Current Friend Count:
Creeping Bentgrass: 254
Poa annua: 587
Turf Diseases: 649

So...just an observation, in the world of Facebook, Poa is more popular than Creeping Bentgrass. Turf Diseases is more popular than both of them. If we were in high school, that's be kind of like the nerds being more popular than the homcoming queen. How much longer do you think that Turf Diseases will have more friends than Poa annua? If it's anything like how the real world is, I have the feeling that Poa annua is going to spread much faster than Turf Diseases will!

OK, that's all for this week! Signing off from the Right Coast until then....

Let's get this season started...

Disease activity has been slowly increasing throughout the northeast as we are halfway through the month of May.  Poa seedheads are also causing problems with turf quality on putting greens and fairways where suppression failed.  Dollar spot has been the biggest buzz around the area as it started in some places at least 2 weeks ago.  In State College, we have yet to see any dollar spot but our fungicide trials are going out ASAP in anticipation of symptoms this week or next.

Fungicide trials:

On the Facebook page, some made jokes about diseases magically disappearing once a pathologist puts a trial out at your course.  I (and probably all authors here) have had first hand experience with this over the past few years with trials put out on golf courses.  I had this happen with fairy ring and anthracnose trials in CT and now brown ring patch at Penn State.  In one BRP trial the disease was extremely severe last year and didn't even make an appearance in my preventive trials this year.  We were lucky enough to have an early-curative trial go out at Bucknell Golf Club and we did get some data after the first week of treatments.  When we returned last week for our sequential application, however, the disease was all but gone.  We put out the treatments anyway and will see if the weather changes and brings some symptoms back.

The natural lack of disease pressure on golf courses, however, is much better than dealing with mistakes.  There is nothing more frustrating than putting out several weeks of treatments only to have the spray tech forget to skip your study with the tank-mix of fungicides...oops!  Luckily I have not had this happen in ANY of my trials on golf courses which is a testament to all of the golf course superintendents that allow us to create checkerboards of dead and healthy grass on their greens and fairways. 

One final word on Poa seedheads:

There were varying reports of success (and failure) with seedhead control this year in the Northeast.  This is really no different than any year and it always seems to come down to timing.  For us, we applied various treatments on April 1 and when seedheads finally started to show up, we saw that the best suppression was being provided by Embark.  Our Primo + Proxy treatments did suppress the seedheads to some degree, but not to what I would consider an acceptable level.  One problem with the Embark is the amount of injury we saw to the turf.  Whether it was from the strange temperature fluctuations or the late frosts, the turf didn't look so good for a few weeks.  Recovery is finally starting to become apparent now (about 3-4 weeks after the application), but it will be interesting to see the long term impact of the treatments on turf quality throughout the year.

 Poa seedheads were effectively suppressed with Embark (both rates)

Severe injury to the turf was observed in both the fairway and putting green trials

Other diseases:
Anthracnose continues to be a problem on annual bluegrass putting greens.  Brown ring patch has generally disappeared around Central PA, but reports of it on golf courses in the region continue.  Leaf spot has also picked up in the rough on many golf courses.  Red thread is slowly starting to make its appearance in higher cut turf.  Conditions for turfgrass growth are very good right now and it is likely that some areas that yet to be fertilized thus far will show the greatest signs of red thread (and dollar spot if you haven't seen it yet).

Clouds With No Rain

I've seen a lot of drought-stressed turf in Southeast Asia over the last two weeks. In some areas near Bangkok there has been no rain since October 2009, and with temperatures now sometimes exceeding 40° C (104° F), the rains cannot come soon enough. The drought has damaged roads, causing many to collapse and crack at Patum Thani, severe drought has been declared in 35 provinces of Thailand, and the government has advised rice farmers to defer planting until rains come. Turfgrass managers are restricting irrigation to priority areas because there is very little water remaining in their reservoirs.
The University of California have an excellent publication entitled "Managing Turfgrasses During Drought" which I recommend as a general reference.

Fairy ring symptoms are more apparent under these dry conditions, and that is the main disease I have seen recently. The common practice of sandcapping golf courses in Southeast Asia makes it more difficult to manage the turf when irrigation water is in short supply, and the symptoms of fairy ring are more intense on these arenaceous soils. At the Manila American Cemetery, more than 30 ha of Zoysia matrella is maintained similar to the conditions we would want for a golf course fairway. The fairy ring is most intense on the sole sandcapped area, the entrance Mall of the cemetery.

Belated Happy Birthday to...

...Dr. Wong and also Turf Diseases.

In all the activity in the past few weeks, we forgot to mention that we passed the one year anniversary of our blogs initiation.  The first blog post (aside from setting up profiles) was presented by Megan Kennelly on May 1, 2009.  The South Central post was entitled "patch-a-rama in Kansas" and served as a great kickoff to the start of this blog.

As you know, our blog was setup to provide timely disease updates to golf course superintendents in the United States.  After the end of the calendar year we also started posting "international updates" in an effort to serve the growing number of international visitors to the site. While the blog serves as the primary means of information, we also transfer all of the information to our twitter and more recently Facebook accounts.

Homer Simpsom image from

In celebration of our birthday (although late), I thought that I would post some favorite posts from our bloggers...

Northeast posts by John Kaminski of Penn State
"If I made magazines..."

Southeast posts by Lane Tredway of NC State 
"Civitas shows promise for control of dollar spot and brown patch"

Midwest posts by Jim Kerns of University of Wisconsin 
"Microdochium Diagnosis: It's Magically Delicious!"

West Coast posts by Frank Wong of UC Riverside 
"Happy April 1st!: Mild in the West, New Fungicide, & NCAA Action"

South Central posts by Megan Kennelly of Kansas State 
"Test your soil, or it's an overhead gutwrench backbreaker for you!"

OK and finally as I mentioned in the intro...we should all send out a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our favorite West Coast blogger Frank Wong.  This birthday wish is actually on time as Frank got one year older today!

Old Man Winter still apparent, Mother Nature strikes again, a turf mystery, and an interesting rust

On the disease front, large patch of zoysia is still on the rampage and continued rains will not help. Spring dead spot is also apparent in many areas.

Winter damage

I'm hearing more news about winterkill in bermudagrass. People have been noticing it for awhile, but as everything is greening up nicely all around, the damage is becoming even more shocking to the eye.

The next two photos were given to me by my colleague Dr. Jack Fry who recently observed some severe winterkill:

Winter injury 0k 10_bermudagrass_jack

winter injury ok 10_bermudagrass_jack

Dr. Fry also snapped some pics of some intense spring dead spot:


And, how about this one?

Below is a photo sent in by Steve Fowler, Superintendent at Hillcrest Golf Course in Coffeyville, KS. Steve knows what happened here to cause this pattern, but for the moment I’ll leave it as a mystery for YOU to ponder and you can post your ideas in the comments box. Hint: this is bermudagrass.

Thanks to Steve for sending this one in. If you blog readers have interesting tales to tell, let us know. Maybe we'll use your case studies, and you can choose to be anonymous or to have your name posted. Of course, you can also post to us at Facebook.


For the rust-geeks out there ... What does this:


… have to do with this: (?)


The top photo is an ornamental tree called Rhamnus caroliniana (common names include Carolina buckthorn and Indian Cherry). The orange growths are one of the life stages (aecial stage) of crown rust, caused by Puccinia coronata. You are all probably familiar with cedar apple rust, which spends part of its life cycle on cedars (junipers) and other parts on apples.

Well, the crown rust pathogen goes back forth from certain grasses (oats, barley, and some kinds of turf) and trees/shrubs in the genus Rhamnus. Common buckthorn, Rhamnus cathartica, is a nasty, invasive shrub. I remember seeing crown rust on buckthorn numerous times up in my home state of Wisconsin.

Anyway, Rhamnus and certain grasses are both hosts of this same fungus. (There are some details about sub-species that I won't get into here). Amazing, huh?

And, the lightning epidemic continues:

I know, it's not turf, but I can't help but share yet another lightning story.

Mother Nature struck again, this time at a house two doors down from mine. There was a colossal boom and flash at about 10:15 pm Tuesday night that caused us to jump out of our chairs.

The next morning, we looked out the window to see a giant pin oak blown to bits down the block.



lightning, phytotoxicity and thatch

Lightning: the ultimate abiotic stress?

I was riding my bike to work this morning and came across this tree:



The tree had basically exploded, with pieces of bark strewn across the street for half a block in either direction. Electricity and trees don’t mix… We had some severe t-storms last night.

There was a more extreme case recently that made the local paper:


I've never seen a lightning damage in turf in person, but I've seen photos. Pretty dramatic symptoms, but not quite as dramatic as an exploding tree.

Abiotic problems in TURF

In the turf world there have been some abiotic problems lately as well.

We had a pretty severe winter, and I have heard from a few individuals in southern Kansas that bermudagrass in some sites is slow to green up and may have some winterkill. [And, along with that, spring dead spot symptoms are now apparent.]

Back to the abiotic side of things:

I recently saw some phytotoxic effects of the herbicide product Quicksilver (carfentrazone-ethyl) on zoysiagrass at a golf course. At this course, Quicksilver had been applied to suppress moss 1 week prior in the creeping bentgrass greens. However, where the spray pattern hit the surrounding zoysia there was a slight orange/brown/yellow “off’ color.



If you check out the label for Quicksilver, it mentions that “established warm-season grasses … are generally tolerant but may be susceptible to transitory yellowing when they are under stress. Stress is typically associated with but not limited to extreme high or low temperatures… or transition into or out of dormancy.”

(As someone who is slow to transition out of night-time dormancy in the morning, I have some sympathy for the warm-season grasses. I don’t like dealing with anything other than my coffee pot until I am good and ready.)

Let me point out that in our moss studies at KSU and with our colleague Derek Settle at the Chicago District Golf Association we have not observed any phytotoxicity of Quicksilver on any bentgrass cultivars that we have worked with.

And, more abiotic stress:

When the irrigation is inadvertently turned off during a warm, sunny, windy, weekend, desiccation ensues:


And, more abiotic problems: Thatch

I’ve mentioned thatch once or twice already this spring, but it never hurts to mention it again. The following two photos are from a putting green that is having a hard time coming out of winter. In the first picture you can see the layers of thatch building up in the sand. In the second photo the sand has been washed off and you can see that the thatch is about 1-inch thick which is pretty severe. Has anyone out there ever dealt with a 1-inch thatch layer? I bet the aerifier will have some difficulty punching through that.



Every year I receive numerous samples from lawn, landscapes, and golf courses where thatch building is causing a variety of problems. Not only does it directly affect plant health, a thick thatch layer can tie up and bind fungicides and insecticides and thus reduce their efficacy.

An amazing fact

This has nothing to do with turf but is pretty amazing: There have been 153 distinct viruses described in cucumber. 153!! Also astonishingly high: 136 viruses have been described in tomato, 49 in pepper, 53 in lettuce, 46 in melon, 54 in potato, 44 in eggplant.

Blue Skies, Nothing But Blue Skies...

The last post focused on my final thoughts on snow mold and since then the weather in the Upper Midwest has been great! We have had a very early spring. This is good for the golf industry because golfers have been able to play golf! The last couple of weekends have not been nice, but at least some weekday play is occurring. The TDL, my phone and email have been fairly quiet with respect to turfgrass problems. We have been very dry the last month or so and this week has been extremely windy. When I was still at NCSU, Lane used to make a very simple point to his students-What is most important to a fungus? WATER! We haven't seen or heard of a lot leaf spot development because of the dry spring. The only interesting symptoms we have seen are some unusual reddish brown rings on one of our putting greens at the OJ Noer. Upon incubation of the affected turf, we obtained a Rhizoctonia like fungus. The cultures are only a few days old, so I don't know what fungus it is yet. The reddish brown rings were a little unusual though.

Besides the development of this little anomaly, we have been busy laying out our summer fungicide trials. We have also been busy planning our summer field day, which is scheduled for July 27th. We are changing the format slightly this and we are still planning on conducting the afternoon Lawn Care Session that focuses on basic turfgrass management skills. The topics include, grass ID, weed ID, sprayer and spreader calibration and pest identification. We are kicking around having a congruent session that focuses on advanced turfgrass management skills, like soil moisture measurement and interpretation, disease diagnosis and fungicide program development and insect management. If you think this would interest you please let me know!

I think this summer will present some interesting challenges as most summers do. We also have a whole lot going on so stay tuned! Next week I will be in Lane's state for a much needed beach vacation, maybe I'll report on the turf I see there :). Before I go the picture attached to the post is a representation of one of my most favorite cities! We were out on the lake during mid-April!

Leaf spot, Waitea, and growth...

Today I attended Rutger's Annual Turfgrass Research Tournament at Fiddler's Elbow in Northern New Jersey (Image courtesy  The event was again a great one which raises a lot of money to support ongoing research projects.  Congratulations to Bruce Clarke and all of the faculty and staff for putting together a great event.  Although the event was great, the purpose of me bringing this up was that this was the first time that I felt summer was close.  While on the course, we experienced a few rain showers and the humidity was finally kicking up.  The only thing that many of the turf pathologists present could think of was, "This is the start of disease season."

Flooding at the Grand Ole Opry in Tennessee and throughout Nashville has been extensive.

Although the Northeastern United States has not had the considerable amount of rain that the people in Nashville have experienced, the late evening thunderstorms followed by temperatures continuing to climb towards 80F are prime for diseases.  Luckily, the nighttime temperatures are still predicted to remain in the 50's throughout the week with the weather channel reporting lows in the upper 40's for Philadelphia by the weekend. Similar nightly temps are predicted for those farther north in the Boston, MA region, but daily highs look like they are going to stay below 70 which should make for some decent growing conditions.

In the field we have been seeing increased cases of brown ring patch (waitea patch), leaf spot in some of the roughs, and continuing problems with anthracnose.  I suspect that we are still a few weeks away from dollar spot for much of the reason, but these conditions are causing many to get an itchy trigger finger with the sprayer.  Since dollar spot is such a problem, I don't blame you, but you should still have some time before the conditions really get going for this disease.  Reports from the Facebook page indicate that many of you are seeing excellent growing conditions and that the recent rains may even have you scrambling to get your roughs mowed to a playable height.  These conditions, however, have been excellent for those of you who timed your aerification right and recovery is now happening at a fast pace.

Other than that, not much chatter is happening around the region as everyone is probably in full swing with their season.  I suspect that it will be at least a month before the calls really start to roll in regarding problems in the field. In the meantime, enjoy the nice growing conditions and relatively healthy turf.
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