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Another Successful Field Day and Poa annua takes a dump!

Welcome back Lane!

It seems like the entire US is struggling with heat, rain and dead grass. I left for Scotland on July 14th and the sample total in the TDL was fairly normal. The week I was gone we received over 50 samples. WHOOPS! Anyway it seems like Poa annua just crapped the bed because of the relentless rainfall followed by intense heat (at least intense for us). So I agree with Brandon and Lane's equation of No Wind + Heat + Rain=Dead Grass-especially Poa annua. The roots of affected plants are short, black and pitiful looking. We have had golf course superintendents reporting soil temperatures in excess of 95 F within the top 2 inches. When this occurs there is really nothing that can be done to save Poa annua!

If you are losing grass please consult John's post earlier this week. He posted a lot of nice cultural practices that will help. Like raising the mowing height, alternate between mowing and rolling and carefully monitor soil moisture levels. However the most important point, is constant communication with the members, golf pro, general manager, owner, etc. Get them prepared for a loss in density and losing Poa annua. I know it sounds negative, but that is really the best thing to do. Especially since we have not had a hard summer in the Midwest for 3 years.

As far as diseases, we are seeing just about everything. This is sick for me to say, but this summer has been a pathologist's dream. We have diagnosed brown patch on creeping bentgrass, fine fescue and tall fescue. We have seen oodles of fairy ring through the Midwest and summer patch has just begun to show its ugly head. This has been another reason Poa annua is struggling so much in the Midwest. We have even seen a few cases of Pythium blight. We have not seen a lot of anthracnose however. The difference between this year and last year has essentially been temperature. Last July our average high temperature was 72, yet this year we are hovering closer to 82. When I was at NC State I helped Lane teach a turfgrass pathology class in the two year program and he always strongly emphasized to the students that the most important thing to a fungus is water. We had that last year, but temperatures were not conducive for growth. This year has been a different story. We have not been as hot during the day as North Carolina, Tennessee, Kansas, or even Pennsylvania, but our nighttime temperatures have consistently remained above 68 degrees. This is good weather for fungi and bad for turfgrass growth.

Yesterday we had the 28th annual Wisconsin Turfgrass Field Day at the OJ Noer Center. It was a fantastic day with great attendance. The topics ranged from Alternative grasses as a pest management strategy to Hydroseeding with Tenacity. We were really happy to have so many attendees considering the recent weather!

Now it is time to have a wee dram of whiskey to conclude my evening.

One response to “Another Successful Field Day and Poa annua takes a dump!”

Brandon said...

But the blog says you posted at 8:11 AM---AM! A wee dram of whiskey? If you're ending your evening at 8:11 AM, I want to party with this guy!

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