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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05.18 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 69 The RESEARCH SAYS • Cream leaf blight is a disease of ultradwarf bermudagrass caused by the pathogen Limonomyces roseipellis, the same organism that causes pink patch in cool-season turfgrasses. • Although patches of diseased grass may rapidly cover a green, the disease appears to be largely cosmetic and causes little lasting damage. • The fungus is seen at a wide range of temperatures, but grows best at lower temperatures (40 F) and is most severe in winter on bermudagrass protected by a putting green cover. • Several common fungicides have provided good preventive control when applied in fall. No curative trials have taken place. It is noteworthy that the last applications performed in many of these trials were around Nov. 15. us, superintendents will control cream leaf blight with fungicides that are target - ing spring dead spot. We are not sure whether applications targeting take-all root rot will con - trol cream leaf blight, although they likely will, as the timings seem to align well with spring dead spot. We have not, however, observed activity of Tartan Stressgard (trifloxystrobin, triadimefon; Bayer) on cream leaf blight, even though it has been an excellent preventive treat - ment for take-all root rot. ankfully, we have seen excellent results with other strong take-all root rot products such as Lexicon and Brisk - way. Phosphites may also limit the development of the disease, but we currently do not have any data to support that assumption. Little is known about the cultural manage - ment of cream leaf blight. We suspect that we will not learn much more about the biology of this fungus until it becomes a bigger issue. Given that the disease is most prevalent dur - ing winter, especially on slow-growing or dor- mant turf, fungicides may be the best option for managing it. Currently, we suggest that superintendents make fall applications of fungicides used to manage spring dead spot and take-all root rot, as these diseases can be destructive. Based on those applications, other fungicides may be warranted as bermudagrass greens are covered during periods of extreme cold. Typically, we suggest applying chlorothalonil, iprodione or mancozeb before covering greens to ensure that fungi do not proliferate under the covers. Cream leaf blight is an interesting disease of bermudagrass putting greens and tall fes - cue landscapes. It is a relatively minor dis- ease of putting greens, but it can span large areas quickly. e disease remains a cosmetic issue, but often relatively minor diseases can become more problematic as environmental conditions or management practices change over time. Superintendents who suspect cream leaf blight on their golf course should sub - mit a sample to a local diagnostic lab. After proper diagnosis, management of this disease is straightforward. Do get a diagnosis, how - ever, as white patches on bermudagrass put- ting greens are symptomatic of many different diseases. Symptoms of cream leaf spot could potentially be confused with take-all root rot or initial symptoms of spring dead spot or root-knot nematode. Funding is work is supported by the Center for Turfgrass Research and Education at North Carolina State University and the North Car - olina Agricultural Research Station. Literature cited 1. Burpee, L.L., C.W. Mims, L.P. Tredway, J. Bae and G. Jung. 2003. Pathogencity of novel biotype of Limonomyces roseipellis in tall fescue. Plant Disease 87:1031-1036. doi:10.1094/PDIS.2003.87.9.1031 2. Kerns, J.P., E.L. Butler, M.D. Soika and J.N. Ploetz. 2017. Effects of Velista and Briskway programs on control of spring dead spot on a bermudagrass put - ting green, 2015-2016. Plant Disease Management Reports 11:T020. 3. Smiley, R.W., P.H. Dernoeden and B.B. Clarke. 2005. Compendium of turfgrass diseases. The American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, Minn. Jim Kerns ( is an associate professor and Lee Butler is Extension coordinator in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C.

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