Scouting Report: August 6th
This week ended with a welcomed cool down. Air temperatures dropped nicely and soil temperatures in the upper root zone followed.
This could be a great opportunity to vent putting greens and punch a few holes in problem areas. Maybe even drop some seed down as well.
Problem areas are found on all golf courses. The heat of the summer. Too much rain. Too little rain. Too much traffic. Most facilities cannot escape all of these issues that we deal with every year. Additionally, these issues can be more or less severe depending on the grass type.
Annual bluegrass decline is quite common when these stresses begin to compound on one another. The phrase ‘Poa puke’ is often used to describe this yearly phenomenon.
Poa puke on collars is very common throughout much of the state. These areas may have more foot traffic and mechanical traffic.
Pinch points are another area where Poa often struggles. Many courses kept carts in the fairways after heavy rains. The pinch points are areas where cart and foot traffic became more concentrated. It may not hurt to punch a few holes in these areas to alleviate compaction and to introduce creeping bentgrass seed.
Introducing creeping bentgrass seed may also be beneficial in areas with low to moderate populations of rough bluegrass. Rough bluegrass will enter summer induced dormancy. Essentially, some areas of rough bluegrass look like they are dying off…only to resume growth again during the fall months.
Sometimes rough bluegrass can creep onto putting green surfaces. Often times this can be confused with disease. Watching these areas decline every year during the heat of the summer can be incredibly frustrating. Unfortunately, there are not many selective herbicides that cause remove rough bluegrass from creeping bentgrass without causing substantial injury to the bentgrass. Additionally, many times you may not fully know how much rough bluegrass you actually have until it is gone.
Culturally, shade reduction may help swing the pendulum more in favor of the creeping bentgrass versus annual bluegrass or rough bluegrass.
With other stresses, it may not matter which turfgrass species or cultivar you have. Sometimes there is no miracle treatment.
Fortunately, the heavy rains in Northern Illinois have slowed and we finally get a chance to see its effects.
From my observations, most areas that were able to drain in 3–5 days came out alright. Areas that stayed wet longer may have lost some turf. Early observations indicate that creeping bentgrass was able to tolerate standing water better than annual bluegrass. However, turf under water for longer than 10 days didn’t fair too well. This is especially true if a thick layer of silt and mud was deposited across the property.
On putting greens, standing water for more than 3 days caused substantial injury. In the above picture, areas with green putting green turf were under water for 2 days. Areas completely brown in the background were under water for more than 7 days.
After a week of drying out, many areas were firm enough to do project work. This includes spiking the ground and preparing the soil for seeding.
There are a lot of seeding efforts happening right now. From flooded areas to new establishments. Keep in mind that young turf plants are more susceptible to several diseases including Pythium and brown patch. If you happen to be seeding high rates of perennial ryegrass, also keep an eye out for grey leaf spot.
This week I saw lots declining annual bluegrass and rough bluegrass. A few diseases and other pests were also observed.
Black turfgrass ataenius adults were observed this week. Fortunately many of them weren’t moving very well due to a recent treatment application. Reports of grub activity were also reported on collar areas and next to bunker banks.
I also saw plenty of worm castings in the area this week. In addition to the castings, I also saw a bunch of tiny worms that traveled together and moved along a bentgrass playing surface. These tiny worms may actually be fungus gnat larvae.
Weeds are starting to occupy a lot of bare areas in turfgrass stands. Crabgrass and sedges are taking advantage of that opportunity.
Sedges are also a problem because of their growth rate relative to other grasses. More frequent mowing may be required to maintain a uniform surface.
I am also seeing more and more weeds popping up in landscape beds. It is important to physically removing this plants before they begin to drop seed.
Brown patch and Pythium blight have calmed down this week. The cooler weather will likely set these foes back even further. However, those that are seeding aggressively may still need to worry. This is especially true if you plan on covering with a growth blanket.
Anthracnose is still firing on all cylinders this week on annual bluegrass and older varieties of creeping bentgrass.
In this instance, it appears that anthracnose was more severe on the creeping bentgrass compared to the annual bluegrass. However, it should be noted that the anthracnose I have been seeing in the area on bentgrass are on older varieties such as Penncross.
In our anthracnose research trial at Kemper Lakes Golf Club, we are seeing success with a number of products and treatment programs. One product that you may not be very familiar with is Autilus. This is a newer formulation of the active ingredient PCNB. We are seeing outstanding anthracnose control when this product is applied at 6.0 fl oz per 1,000 square feet. In this particular treatment, it is tank mixed with PAR and applied every 14 days.
We are also observing excellent control with a couple of other products that you may not be familiar with. Tekken is a pre-mix product containing the active ingredient tebuconazole in combination with isofetamid. Civitas is another material that we are seeing excellent control with. The Civitas program is the ‘Basic program’ in combination with Civitas. In our other research trials, we are also observing reductions in dollar spot severity when Civitas is included in a fungicide program.
Other diseases have been observed this week as well. I will be most likely mentioning dollar spot in every scouting report until November.
Dollar spot flared up once again this week in Illinois. In this picture it is easy to see how far out the putting green fungicide spray went. Dollar spot can be severe on Kentucky bluegrass roughs. However, plant genetics are critical.
In our Kentucky bluegrass cultivar trial, most of the newer Kentucky bluegrasses are relatively clean. However the cultivar “Full moon” is getting hammered.
This week rust has returned to the region. I am seeing minor damage on a few under-fertilized stands of turf. However, I am seeing more rust damage when I ‘look up’.
On this hawthorn tree, the fungal structure ‘aecia’ is visible on the fruit and numerous orange urediniospores are on the leaves directly below the fruit.
A soaking rain event at the Midwest Golf House kicked up another round of slime mold on the mulch beds. The slime molds don’t cause major damage but may look a little gross as you walk by.
Cooler temperatures are in the forecast for much of the region. Diseases such as Pythium blight and brown patch may begin to take a back seat in the northern part of the state. Continue to be cautious though if you plan on using growth blankets for new establishments. Further south, cooler temperatures down state may rev up dollar spot activity.