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Why They Call it the Transition Zone

Spring dead spot of bermudagrass

As the old joke goes, "In the transition zone, we can grow all of the turfgrasses, we just can't grow any of them well".

The last year has been an excellent demonstration of this fact. Spring 2010 brought major problems with winter-kill in the warm-season grasses across much of the southeast. Everyone will remember the summer of 2010 as the year when record heat caused widespread failure of creeping bentgrass putting greens. 

Large patch of bermudagrass
The spring of 2011 hasn't been much kinder. Spring dead spot is particularly severe on bermudagrass this spring, and I've heard several reports of control failures from preventive fungicide applications. We've seen an unusual number of cases of spring dead spot on zoysiagrass as well (more on that next week).

Large patch (aka zoysia patch, aka brown patch, aka large brown patch....did I miss any? Seriously, can't we all just call it large patch?) is raging on all of the warm-season grasses as well. This spring is the first time I've seen large patch cause significant damage to bermudagrass in the Raleigh area. Zoysiagrass, St. Augustinegrass, and centipedegrass are affected very severely as well.

Many people struggle with these diseases of warm-season grasses because they have to be treated long before the symptoms express themselves. It is easy to forget about spring dead spot and large patch in the fall when everything is looking good. 

In addition, the economic downturn has led to severe budget cuts at many facilities, and the poor warm-season grasses are usually the ones that are left to fend for themselves without fungicide protection.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be writing in more detail about spring dead spot and large patch in the warm-season grasses. We'll cover things you can do now and during the growing season to help manage these diseases and how to prepare for preventive fungicide applications this fall. Stay tuned!

2 Responses to “Why They Call it the Transition Zone”

Nadeem Zreikat said...

If you have mild winters (I'm in Australia) such as overnight temps of 0-10 Celsius and day temps mid teens, would a preventative app be needed in the fall or would you do an early spring preventative spray. We have had large patch here from time to time in the spring on Bermuda and oversown Bermuda ovals with rye grass.
Cheers Nadeem Aja @campbellturf

Lane said...

Those sound like perfect conditions for large patch. A preventive approach is always best. I believe that the infections begin long before the symptoms express themselves, so if you wait until the symptoms appear it is too late. The other problem with a curative strategy is the recovery will be very slow (or non-existent) during cool weather.

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