Golf Course Management

FEB 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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76 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.18 Update on BMPs for anthracnose on annual bluegrass turf In many cases, a combination of cultural practices can effectively suppress anthracnose, eliminating the need for fungicides. Anthracnose is a destructive disease (caused by the fungus Colletotri um cereale) that oc - curs on cool-season turf throughout the world (6,29). During the mid-1990s, outbreaks of anthracnose on annual bluegrass (Poa annua) putting green turf increased in frequency and intensity (7,8,20,21), but over the past 15 years, scientists within the NE-1025 and NE-1046 multistate turf research project have made tremendous progress in developing a better understanding of what constitutes best management practices (BMPs) for anthrac - nose disease on golf course putting greens (22,23). This report updates our findings on BMPs since we last summarized research on this subject in 2012 (22). Research has repeatedly demonstrated that anthracnose can be very destructive on weakened turf. Plant nutrient deficiencies, ultra-low mowing, and excessively wet or dry irrigation programs are all critical stress fac - tors that greatly increase the risk for serious damage from anthracnose. As a result, BMPs include practices that address these plant health factors. Although it is true that anthracnose is a stress-related disease, research has demon - strated that wounding caused by practices such as topdressing, verticutting, coring and solid tining does not intensify anthracnose (9,18,25). Thus, superintendents should focus on implementing well-designed topdressing and cultivation programs that strengthen a healthy turf, and should dismiss any concerns that such practices might intensify anthrac - nose through wounding. Plant nutrition The severity of anthracnose is strongly linked to deficiencies in nitrogen and potas - sium that affect the health of annual blue- grass. Soil pH also has been shown to affect the intensity of this disease. Nitrogen Numerous studies have shown that it is important for superintendents to evaluate whether nitrogen fertility is limiting turf vigor James A Murphy, Ph.D. Bruce B. Clarke, Ph.D. John A. Inguagiato, Ph.D. This research was funded in part by a grant to GCSAA from the Environmental Institute for Golf. Hort Farm 2 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., was the site of many of the anthracnose research trials. Photos by James Hempfling

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