We had 2 Cicada Killers making a nest in #4 green. Sometime last night a Varmint of some kind tried to dig up the 2 spots leaving quite a mess. Cicada Killers have been terminated. Spots have been filled back in. We will have to plug the spots on Monday.
We have been busy the last couple of days fixing some of the bad areas around a number of our greens. The bentgrass from our greens has encroached into the surround turf. A lot of the bentgrass burn out during the recent heat spells we had last month. We cut out all the dead bentgrass and sodded the approaches with Zoysia and the green surrounds we used Turf Type Fescue. The Fescue is a lot more heat tolerant than the Bentgrass. I would like to continue sodding more Turf Type Fescue around all of our green surrounds. We will also over seed the surrounds with the same Turf Type Fescue. Approaches we fixed were 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16 and 17. Green surrounds we fixed were 9,10, 11, 15, 16, and 17. Below are a few pictures of the process.
We are back leveling 2 more tee's. 5 blue and 12 white. This is very labor intensive project. All of the old sod has to be removed from tee. After sod is removed Schafer-Meyer comes in and tills up the tee so the Laser Level can do its job. Takes more time to set up the laser than it does leveling the tee. After tee is leveled it is time to sod tee. We use big roll sod. The big rolls are 3.5 feet wide by about 80 feet long. We use our tractor with a special attachment to roll the sod out. We pull sod tight and fix any bad spots. Little topdressing on the seams turn the water on and we are done. A flat tee to hit off of.
August 15th and the Golf Course has received 8.52 inches of rain this month alone. We still have half the month to go. Since June 30th we have recorded a whopping 17.74 inches of rain. The good news is at least the temperatures have fallen into the upper 70's to low 80's. The chance of getting a root damaging fungus or just plain ole wet wilt are going down. Wet wilt is a problem when temperature's are in the mid to upper 90's. The green profile fills up with too much moisture. Roots cannot get the much needed oxygen. The plant cannot transpire to help cool itself and use up the moisture in the root zone. The plant over heats and dies. With the cooler temperatures we can avoid this problem. The biggest problem with all the rain is getting our mowing and projects done. Today we were going to over seed all of our thin greens. We will try to get this important task done in the next couple of days. I plan on over seeding at least 2 times this fall to get greens back. We will start to mow our good greens daily. All of the thin greens we will continue to alternate mowing and rolling until they fill in. Here is a little trivia for you. How many bentgrass seeds are in a pound of seed? The answer is 6 million. Bentgrass is a very small seed. Be careful out there the golf course is saturated and you could easily slip and fall on the many slopes we have.
We have had a new development to our green problem. Dr. Miller sent our samples off to have a Nematode count done. He felt we had too much damage to our root system and he was not totally convinced it was due because of disease and the heat. He was right. Our Nematode counts came back high with two types of Nematodes, Ring and Lance. The Ring Nematode count was at 630. That is 130 points over the threshold. Our Lance Nematode count came back at 1230. That is 10 times over the threshold of 120. Needless to say this is serious. Nematodes are parasitic feeding off the root system of the bentgrass. Damage is seen most of the time in the hot summer. Bentgrass stop growing roots when the soil temperature is above 85 degrees. Feeding causes the bentgrass not to be able to take up moisture and nutrients from the soil. Roots start to die back. The plant can not compete with the Nematodes if it can't grow new roots. Turf begins to thin and die.
If you remember we had a Nematode problem last year. The species we had last year was Root-knot. We used a new product called Avid and eradicated them. Our greens turned around and we did not have anymore problems. This season I decided I would use a preventative approach to keeping Nematodes at bay. I sprayed 3 applications of Avid in May, June and July. The test show we did not have any Root-knot Nematodes. Avid had no effect on the Lance Nematode and we did not get control of the Ring Nematode. Last years Nematode count showed we had Lance Nematode at a count of 60 well below the threshold of 120. But something happened and the Lance Nematode count exploded this year. After researching I have found out that the Lance Nematode is one of the hardest Nematodes to control. With today Nematicides, control options are limited. Fortunately I have found some older Nematicide that should work on these nasty critters.
We have applied the Nematicide down to our worst greens. I am going to treat all greens but it has been raining the past 2 days. We will get it out as soon as possible. We have been fertilizing greens weekly to get them to grow out of this problem. We have raised mowing height and are alternating mowing and rolling. We will over seed all thin areas and plug and sod the bigger voided areas. It will take some time but we will recover from this. We will slowly lower height back down on our better greens and continue to walk mow the weaker ones until they are healed. Thank you for your patience at this time. I know the greens are not rolling the way you expect. We will work very hard to get them back in shape. Below is a picture of a Lance Nematode. They are about 1mm long. One of the largest Nematodes.
Dr. Lee Miller is the Turfgrass Pathologist from the University of Missouri. This is part of his report for July. This really hits home for me. Dan and I have put in an enormous amount of time trying to care for our greens. It has been a very frustrating July. In the past 29 days we have recorded over 9 inches of rain. We are reevaluate some of our cultural practices for next season. I also believe we need more and better fans. I will look into this for next season. We have a lot of Bentgrass growing around the surrounds of our greens that is burning out we need to replace this grass with a hardier variety like Turf type Fescue on the green sides and Zoysia grass in the aprons. We are not the only course that is having issues. That does not make Dan or I feel any better. I hope this article helps explain what we are going through. We are battling exactly what he is saying in this post. You can access Dr Millers site from my blog at the bottom right of my page. Just hit the link University of Missouri Turf Pathology. He puts out a new post once a month. Below is Dr. Millers July Post.
Dr. Lee Millers Post
Bentgrass Decline – The Perils of Too Much Water
Samples of declining bentgrass putting greens have flooded into the MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic over the last two weeks. This persistently terrible weather pattern for bentgrass health has taken an extreme toll on the health of these cool season plants that are perilously trafficked, groomed, and cut at marginally sustainable heights. Many are also facing maintenance heavy and high expectation tournaments in late July or August, which are doing no favors.
Below are the three most often observed problems on bentgrass putting greens we’ve seen in the Clinic over the past month in order of prevalence. Note all of the issues are root related. Management practices should be focused on this aspect during these times of turmoil, while simultaneously not neglecting the normal stress preventers (raising mowing heights, smooth rollers, spoonfeeding, etc.). A preventive soilborne fungicide program is warranted, but also realize the answers to these problems will not solely come out of your sprayer boom. Lastly, the physiological decline of the plant due to inhospitable weather conditions is paramount here. So addressing this first, as I will, can reduce your management inputs substantially for the true biotic issues.
Early August Outlook
Heat expected to return next week. - Source: NOAA CPS
Above average rainfall pattern expected to stay in the early August. - Source: NOAA CPS
1. Root Physiological Decline
Physiological Root Decline
Sloughing off of cortex of hot saturated root.
An extremely affected root, with only a very unprotected vascular cylinder remaining.
Air vs. water - the struggle is more than real now in a bentgrass root’s existence. Needs both, but most of the time the overabundance of water is the true enemy. Water excludes air indiscriminately in pore spaces of saturated soils, and then holds a constant temperature for an extended amount of time. Root growth stops at 86 degrees F (30 C), and daily 2” soil temperatures in native soils were averaging 90 degrees and above during this latest heat wave. These water soaked soils simply don’t cool off at night, leaving roots to continually boil. This high specific heat capacity of water keeps fish in the deep pond happy, but won’t keep shallow roots growing in the wading pool of a summer putting green rootzone. Managing greens with a soil moisture meter (TDR) is a good way to dial in the difference between underwatered, adequate, or oversaturated.
Recently, Dr. Bill Kreuser from the University of Nebraska posted a video regarding the cooling effects, or lack thereof, of syringing greens (click here to view). Several superintendents are stopping or considering stopping the practice of cooling off greens with water throughout the afternoon heat and focusing on utilizing morning irrigation only to provide water throughout the day. From a root perspective, this is a wise move, since most syringing practices in my estimation provide considerably too much water into the rootzone during the heat of the day. This water sticks in the organic matter, heats up, and commences to sous vide the short root system for an extended amount of time. Additionally, this excess water provides a suitable environment for soilborne pathogens, particularly Pythium root rot.
The true hero of cooling is air movement. As stated a few times in these updates, fans have been the best, most consistent fungicide and plant health tool I’ve observed. As shown by David Han at Auburn University, fans reduce not only air and canopy temperature, but also soil temperatures by 5 – 7 degrees F. This makes sense when thought of in the air vs. water perspective. Humidity in the air and moisture on the leaf is reduced, allowing the plant to continually move water through its system and out to the atmosphere. Functioning roots in turn pull water out of the soil pores and leaves air, which won’t hold on to that high temperature so stubbornly when the evening hours finally arrive. So break out the generators and box fans on troubled greens to encourage recovery, and put in a request for 220 volts of beautiful wind.
Lastly, venting greens needs to go on your calendar just as much as when to make fertilizer and pesticide applications. This is a crucial water and air management tool for your rootzone during the summer heat, and should be planned biweekly at a minimum. The damage done during the venting process pales in comparison to the damage that will be done if venting doesn’t occur regularly.
2. Pythium Root Rot
Pythium Root Rot Still Widespread Several samples of “wow” amounts of Pythium root rot have been submitted recently.
In past reports, I have beaten to death the amount of Pythium root rot observed this season. In the last few weeks, several samples of “wow” Pythium root rot infections have continued to come in, indicating again how widespread this epidemic is in the region. A preventive program using watered-in (approximately 1/8 inch) fungicide applications should been in place, particularly in areas heavily impacted by July rains and those that have had a history of the disease. As detailed by Dr. Jim Kerns at NC State University, a 14 day rotational program using Segway (low rate) as a base (i.e. Segway – Signature Xtra – Segway – Banol – Segway – Subdue, etc.) is the current suggestion for controlling this difficult disease. Dr. Kerns will be visiting the MU campus on September 21 to give a seminar to the Plant Sciences Division. Superintendents interested in attending should send me an email for more details.
3. Summer Patch
Summer Patch on Bentgrass
Stand symptoms include a mottled and wilted appearance. Fairly indiscriminate from other root issues.
Roots appear with darkened vascular cylinders.
Pathogen mycelium coming out of root stele.
Last, but certainly not least, we have observed a number of cases of summer patch on creeping bentgrass as the primary cause of decline, and also as an “add-on” in root physiological decline. This pathogen begins to infect earlier in the summer (65 F soil temperature) and gradually takes out the root system with summer stress being the final deliverer of symptoms. Stand symptoms appear as mottled, droughty areas. Individual roots have extremely darkened vascular cylinders with symptoms that extend all the way up to the base of the plant. On bentgrass putting greens, a preventive strategy of watered in applications of QoI fungicides (Heritage, Insignia) or mixtures with QoI fungicides (i.e. Briskway, Lexicon) are recommended. Lee Miller Follow on Twitter! @muturfpath Like on Facebook! Mizzou Turfgrass Extension Turfgrass Pathologist University of Missouri
If you have played golf in the past week you are aware some of our greens are stressed. Every year we struggle with 3 or 4 greens on the back nine. 10, 11, and 12 are the weakest greens. This season has been very tough. We had a wet May followed by hot and dry June and now we are having a wet and hot July. We have recorded 8.5 inches of rain in the month of July with temperatures well above 90 degrees. The greens I am most worried about are 4, 5, 10, 11, 12 and 15. 12 is the most critical. We have lost a lot of grass on the right side of this green. It will take a little time to get this green back in shape.
As of July 18th we were in pretty good shape. We had some thin spots on our weaker greens 10, 11, 12, but for the most part I was feeling pretty good about getting through this season with some minor issues. On Monday July 18th I sprayed my last application of Nematode control along with a fungicide and wetting agent. Tuesday Morning I notice whitish patches throughout # 4 and 5 greens. Tuesday evening we received 2 inches of rain. On Wednesday morning I noticed some of the patches on 4 and 5 were turning brown. With all the rain we received I had to wait and spray greens Thursday. We sprayed Thursday morning. By Thursday afternoon we had wide spread loss of turf on a number of greens. Friday I called Dr. Miller from University of Missouri. He said he was getting a number of samples in with Pythium root rot. He advised I should spray another application of a different Pythium control and aerate greens. We aerated the 5 worst greens and I sprayed the Pythium application that evening on all greens. I mailed off samples for Dr. Miller to diagnose on Friday. They should have arrived to his office on Monday July 25th, but our great Postal Service lost the package. As of today he has not received the package. So I collected another sample and my wife ran the sample to Columbia for me. He found Pythium root rot and a little anthracnose in my sample. Our root system is very shallow with the combination of the Pythium and high temperatures turf has been lost. He feels my Pythium applications was successful in controlling the out break but the damage has been done. What is most disappointing to me is I am on a 2 week spray interval for disease control. A Pythium control is in my tank every 2 weeks throughout the summer. I use the rate that suppose to last 2 weeks. My last application did not make it the full 2 weeks before it ran out. We had 4.5 inches of rain during that time period and the fungicide could not hold on for the entire time.
The cooler temperatures have been a blessing this week. That will give us time to start healing. We will need to seed and plug areas on greens 4, 5, 10, 11, and 12. Not all greens were affected like the ones mentioned above. The Putting green and holes 1-3,6-9, 14-18 are in much better shape some of them without a blemish. Dr. Miller advises we aerate every 2 weeks raise mowing height and alternate mowing and rolling. We raised our mowing height last week and have already been alternating mowing and rolling. We are also walk mowing 4, 5, 10-12 greens. We still have some summer left the fight is not over. We are working hard not to lose anymore turf. I feel terrible this has happened. We will work very hard to get the greens back in shape as soon as possible.
Thank you for your patience during this time.