September 2013

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Page 19 of 48

FieldScience | By Paul Kock, PhD WHEN FUNGI ATTACK Y Figure 1: GRAY SNOW MOLD following snow melt in the spring can seriously hamper spring sports activities in temperate climates. OU, MY GOOD MAN OR WOMAN, are on a roll. It's August 1 and your fields are pristine. The players don't make a single negative comment about its condition, and even better the boss gives you that rare compliment for how it both looks and plays. It's time for a celebratory beer(s). Now it's August 2, and you notice a small brown patch the size of a softball near midfield. No big deal, it's probably just a tad dry, and you increase the irrigation a bit to compensate. You take the weekend off, come back on August 5, and you have most certainly fallen off that roll. Not only has the one patch expanded to the size of a basketball despite increased irrigation, but new patches seem to be popping up all over the place. You make sure to get a fungicide application down that day, but a week later your prized field went from pristine to the surface of the moon. Instead of compliments from the athletes and your boss the athletes are turning ankles and you're receiving stern warnings. What the heck happened? Maintaining athletic fields under today's demands with today's budgets can seem daunting, and usually one of the last things on a manager's mind is the possibility of disease. While diseases of athletic fields don't require the same intense preventative techniques as those found on golf courses, there are a few that can be serious if you aren't paying attention. Since everything is better in list form; here are my top 5 diseases of athletic fields (cool-season turf edition): 5. SNOW MOLD This disease (Typhula incarnata, T. ishikariensis, Microdochium nivale) is higher up the list for those in harsher winter climates, and not even close to the list in many climates. Snow mold is actually an umbrella term referring to three distinct diseases: gray snow mold (T. incarnate), speckled snow mold (T. ishikariensis), and pink snow mold/Microdochium patch (M. nivale). Snow molds rarely kill turf, but can leave significant damage following snowmelt that can severely impact the playability of a field in the early spring (Figure 1). Snow mold can be minimized by avoiding late fall fertilizations heavy in fast-release nitrogen. However, if avoiding late fall fertilization is not practical or the snow cover in the winter routinely persists for 2 or more consecutive months, a preventative fungicide application may be warranted. Many fungicides will provide effective snow mold control when applied preventatively; including but not limited to most members of the strobilurin and demethlyation inhibitor (DMI) class of fungicides (Table 1). 4. RUST Though reports of aggressive rust (Puccina spp) (Figure 2) are becoming more prevalent in certain parts of the country, this disease remains a relatively minor disease for most athletic field managers (except if a team's white uniform is orange after the game [Figure 3]!). Rust is most severe on 20 SportsTurf | September 2013

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