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Cool, humid conditions still can mean trouble for turf


 

Todd Hicks, right, and Joe Rimelspach, Ph.D., of Ohio State produce a regular series of video updates detailing turf conditions in Ohio and the surrounding area.
 
We're big fans of Joe Rimelspach, Ph.D., and Todd Hicks of the Ohio State University turf pathology department.
 
Aside from being pretty nice guys, they also produce a regular series of video Turf Tips for the Ohio Turfgrass Foundation detailing the latest turf conditions throughout Ohio and the Midwest region.
 
Although it has been a relatively cool summer in Columbus and beyond, that doesn't mean golf course superintendents experiencing benign conditions are out of the woods.
 
"Dollar spot is raging, as usual," Hicks said.
 
"Without the high temperatures we normally get this time of year, it's just not getting to that dormant mode. It keeps gnawing away."
 
Dollar spot also is affecting roughs and bunker surrounds, said Rimelspach, whose lab at Ohio State has been flooded with emails and phone calls about stressed, dead or dying turf.
 
"I've never seen dollar spot so aggressive and so widespread on high-cut grass," he said. 
 
Even diseases like brown patch are lingering through the cool summer, according to Hicks.
 
"A lot of that is due to the humidity thing I was talking about," he said. "Remember, when humidity gets high and the temperatures are low, disease will still appear, or stick around."
 
Rimelspach says although many of the problems he is seeing are related to disease, others are due to flooding in July or irrigation system failures.
 
Hicks recommends regular fungicide applications but backing off cultural practices during times of summer-related stress - even during a cool summer.
 
"The one thing you don't want to do is push too hard too fast, and do too many thing agronomically," Hicks said. "Joe's getting a lot of calls, I'm getting a lot of calls and a lot of pictures of just brown grass. A lot of it is due to grass just giving up and going away this time of year. Other things are happening because guys are doing a little too much, being a little too aggressive and the turf just not holding up and they're failing.
 
"Keep that foot on the gas fungicide wise as always, maybe back off what you're doing agronomically and watch what you're doing to get us into the fall and get us to sleep."

 






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