Anthracnose is currently the number one topic of interest for turf managers seeking information on disease management. Alleviating stress is the primary objective, with Primo MAXX and well timed fungicide applications helping cultural control measures to succeed.
Rising temperatures and the extra pressure of turf management to cope with summer play has increased the potential for turf stress, and with it the risk of Anthracnose attack. Anthracnose is currently top of the internet searches for disease control information on the leading turf management web site, www.greencast.co.uk
Syngenta Technical Manager, Dr Simon Watson, reports that summer stress factors including drought, heat, low cutting height and fertility imbalance can all create conditions conducive to Anthracnose build up. "Turf managers need to be doing all they can to alleviate stress and to prevent the build up of Anthracnose inoculum," he advises.
Anthracnose Foliar Blight typically breaks out when weather conditions hot up and consistently reach above 18°C, especially if turf comes under any drought stress; the symptoms are remarkably similar and may be wrongly diagnosed, points out Dr Watson. If conditions turn cool and wet the foliar infection can then develop into basal rot. Close inspection of diseased turf will reveal black fungal growth where the stem base breaks away from the soil, which can lead to significant loss of turf cover.
"If irrigation is applied to counter what is thought to be drought stress, it will create perfect humid conditions for Anthracnose to develop, and could actually exacerbate the problem by spreading the spores in free water," he warns. GreenCast advice for an Integrated Turf Management (ITM) approach includes alleviating compaction and maintaining airflow through the turf. It is also highlights the need to ensure turf has sufficient nitrogen fertility during the rapid growing period to avoid any nutrient deficiency induced stress.
"Raising the cutting height by just 0.5mm would give a green normally cut at 3mm an extra 15% more leaf and really help to take off the pressure during high risk periods," according to Dr Watson. "Trials and green keepers' experiences has consistently shown a Primo MAXX programme can maintain green speed at the higher cut over the summer period and alleviate stress for improved turf quality.
"Furthermore, with a 50% reduction in growth of treated turf, the green speed can stay consistently true right through the day to maintain better playing conditions," he added. Used as part of an ITM programme, Primo MAXX improves the health and vigour of turf plants to withstand disease and drought stress over the summer - retaining a higher level of green chlorophyll in the leaf during hot weather and improving water use efficiency of the plant.
"If you know there's a period of intense pressure on the turf - if you are cutting lower for a run of tournaments, for example - then you can be sure that any Anthracnose present will flare up if conditions are right," advises Dr Watson. "A pre-emptive strike with Banner MAXX or Heritage when GreenCast forecasts disease risk is high will pay dividends." STRI trials have also shown exceptional results with the contact active fludioxonil in Instrata.
"An effective fungicide programme applied during periods of high risk will not only protect turf from attack and minimise the visual impact of disease, but will also reduce the level of inoculum in the turf and give the cultural control techniques the best possible chance of stopping attacks occurring in the future," he adds.
For turf specific information visit the web site www.greencast.co.uk