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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!

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