Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Disease, Humidity, and Aeration

We have begun the process of aerification.  Aeration is one of those “ahh” moments as it signifies we’ve made it through another year.  The temperatures for the next couple days are supposed be unseasonably high.  The upper 80s and 90s don’t bother us much since the duration of the heat is short.  The turf will heal quickly and provide EXCELLENT playing conditions this fall.
This has definitely been one of the tougher summers on record.  Some superintendents compare it to the summer of ’95 when a lot of turf was lost. 

Here are several statistics about August’s weather:

Avg daily High- 87
Avg daily Low- 66
Avg. Daily Humidity- 97%

This summer was not extremely hot relative to high temperatures, but the lows and humidity have been very high, this combination causes significant disease problems.  Fungi love long leaf wetness, moisture, and weak turfgrass.  The abiotic factors (i.e. weather) have made it a very difficult season.  Overall, we did not lose much turf, however, we did have one disease surface on our greens. 

I sent a couple of samples to the Wisconsin Turfgrass Diagnostic Lab.  The results showed that we had basal rot anthracnose.  This was caused by the stifling nighttime lows that were close to 80 degrees.  Some experts view this disease as beneficial to the turf since it wipes out the poa annua and allows bentgrass to fill in the voids.  As stated by the lab, “High nighttime lows lead to an increased rate of plant respiration at night, which decreases energy reserves at a time when the plant cannot provide any extra energy through photosynthesis.  This often results in poor overall health.”  Going forward, we now know how to treat for this disease if it does show up again.  These areas should fill in within the next couple of weeks.  

Basal rot anthracnose present on  18 green.

I’m sure many of your lawns have had mushrooms popping up.  This is due to the high humidity and nighttime temperatures.