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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).

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