Scouting Report: October 22nd
The sun is beginning to set on the golfing season in the northern portion of the state. Temperatures have been warm, but the length of daylight and the low sun angle is starting to reduce the frequency of mowing on many surfaces.
The temperatures have been quite warm lately. This has been an Indian summer and I've had to look at a calendar to remind myself that it’s October. Saturday marked the 39th consecutive day of above average temperatures at O’Hare airport.
Temperatures on Friday hit 80 degrees at far north as Midway Airport in Chicago. This would classify as an “Indian summer” if it wasn’t for the recent heavy rainfall observed throughout much of the area.
Rainfall totals last weekend were quite impressive in Chicago. The heaviest rainfall brought as much as 8 inches of rain in the area. Fun fact: October 14th was the wettest day in the history of Chicago for the month of October.
It would have been nice had this rain be spread out over the month of September and and early October.
During heavy rainfall, it is very easy for silt/clay particles to suspend themselves in water and carry long distances. Silt fences are an excellent way to minimize this effect. I came across a construction site that had silt fences in place. However, the fence wasn’t completely looped around the entire site. This allowed for much of the silt and clay particles to transport off site.
Despite all the rainfall, very few diseases and other pests were able to take advantage this week. This likely had to do with a sudden drop in temperatures and gusty winds that immediately followed the rain event.
A nice sight to see. Crabgrass has finally starting puking out throughout much of the state. I began to notice last week that the leaves were turning a little red and they weren’t growing nearly as efficiently.
Crabgrass was a major headache this year for those in the southern to central portion of the state. This was likely due to the heavy rainfall in late April through early May in the southern and central parts of Illinois. More than 10 inches of rain fell during that time in certain locations. Too much rainfall after applications of premergence herbicides can lead to substantial decay of those materials.
Grub activity seem to subside this week. I didn’t see a lot of digging and hopefully these critters have moved down in the profile.
I did observe a Wooly Bear caterpillar. There a few interesting fun facts about this caterpillar. One, its’ defense mechanism when touched is to curl itself up and play dead. Two, some people believe you can forecast the impacts of the upcoming winter based on the width of the brown colored band. The wider the brown band is, the milder the winter will be.
Dollar spot activity slowed down substantially this week. Temperatures in the upper 30’s on Monday morning couple with gusty winds were enough to temporarily put the dollar spot pathogen in remission.
For those with chronic take-all patch, we are currently in the window for making preventative fall applications. The pathogen that incites take-all patch is most active under cooler soil temperatures between 50–65 degrees F.
Looking back at this fall, we really haven’t had that many days in which soil temperatures were conducive to take-all patch activity. This was due to the warmer than average temperatures in the 2nd half of September.
Further south, I observed active large patch on zoysiagrass surfaces. Large patch can continue to be a problem this fall until the first hard freeze.
In our large patch trial at Effinigham C.C., we observed a little bit of activity in the nontreated plots. We look forward to visiting the plots again in the spring.
We are inching closer towards are first widespread frost. We may miss out again this week. However, cooler temperatures in the upper 30’s during the mornings will make it feel pretty chilly when the wind blows.
We are also at the point of the season where I wouldn’t be surprised to see a little bit of Microdochium patch. I think a good place to scout for this disease are in locations that you observed it on last year and in areas next to trees. The trees that still have a bunch of leaves could help block the wind. Additionally, tree leaves on the ground make nice little incubation pockets for the pathogen to grow.
There may also be a little bit of yellow patch (or cool-season brown patch) that pops up on greens. This disease is much more easily observed on new putting green surfaces. This may be due to how uniform those surfaces look, thus making it easier to observe the faint rings that yellow patch can produce.