Golf Course Management

MAY 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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66 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 05.18 Cream leaf blight was discovered in tall fescue swards in Georgia by university re - searchers who isolated Limonomyces roseipel- lis from tall fescue exhibiting white lesions that expand toward the base of the leaf. In tall fescue landscapes, cream leaf blight is a rare occurrence, yet the fungus affects ultra - dwarf bermudagrasses (Cynodon dactylon × C. transvaalensis) planted on golf course put - ting greens too. Little is known about the dis- ease on bermudagrass putting greens, but we commonly observe it in the transition zone and even into northern Florida. However, the disease is most prevalent in areas where ber - mudagrass goes dormant. e disease rose to prominence in the Southeast as the conversion from creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) putting greens to ultradwarf bermudagrass increased. We suspect that the disease has been present for some time and likely was di - agnosed as superficial fairy ring, pink patch or some other basidiomycete fungus. As golf course superintendents were working out win - ter management practices, cream leaf blight was alarming, as it could span large areas of putting greens quickly, yet the disease never seemed to cause any serious damage. Symptoms and signs On bermudagrass putting greens, the symptoms start as small white or cream spots or patches ranging in size from 3 to 8 inches (7.6-20.3 cm) in diameter (Figure 1). e patches rarely increase in size, but may co - alesce into larger areas. e disease is cosmetic, as we have observed little lasting damage asso - ciated with the disease, yet it can affect large areas of turf. e stand symptoms can be dif - ficult to see when bermudagrass is painted or pigmented during the winter months. Symp - toms have been observed across entire putting greens during the winter months. Affected leaves have a cream to whitish ap - pearance, but no visible lesions can be found on the leaves. No symptoms or signs are ob - served on stolons, rhizomes or roots. Unlike with pink patch and some other fungal dis - eases, no aerial mycelium has been observed with this disease. Pathogen e pathogen is Limonomyces roseipellis, the same organism that causes pink patch in cool-season turfgrasses. However, the bio - type associated with cream leaf blight does not produce clamp connections and does not have a pinkish or reddish appearance on the leaf. e fungus readily produces hyphal ag - gregates after incubation of bermudagrass samples, and the absence of clamp connec - Jim Kerns, Ph.D. Lee Butler Cream leaf blight of ultradwarf bermudagrass A new disease of ultradwarf bermudagrass greens is bad for appearances in the southeastern transition zone and northern Florida. Cream leaf blight symptoms Figure 1. On bermudagrass putting greens, the symptoms of cream leaf blight start as small white or cream spots or patches that range in size from 3 to 8 inches (7.6-20.3 cm) in diameter. Photos by Lee Butler

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