Greenkeepers are being urged to plan fungicide programmes ahead of turf renovation in the face of an increased risk of Anthracnose foliar blight infection due to pockets of high temperatures following rainstorms.
"This year there is a high risk of an anthracnose outbreak due to the record rainfall," says Bayer's sales support manager, Dorin Pop. "An outbreak of Anthracnose foliar blight infection is more likely to occur on Poa annua but can affect bents and fescues. The greater susceptibility of annual meadow grass to anthracnose is probably related to the prolific seed head expression which can become unsightly and affect playability, but more importantly, there is a significant depletion of the carbohydrates from roots and shoots just before the most stressful time of the growing season." Foliar blight can affect turf surfaces and any stress could increase the risk of a damaging attack.
Anthracnose on turf is caused by a fungus called Colletotrichum graminicola. "This fungus can persist in thatch or infected plant material," notes Dorin. "When environmental conditions are right, it can cause foliar blight and basal rot which attacks the turf blades and stems."
Anthracnose is viral and can spread quickly; Dorin warns that with end of the season renovations about to commence, turf maintenance activities will put more pressure on plants and further increase the chances of an Anthracnose attack.
"The best way to control Anthracnose is by avoiding stressful conditions on turf by paying attention to applying the correct rates of fertiliser, improving drainage, increasing mowing height, and having a robust fungicide programme in place."
Dorin notes that Anthracnose is very difficult to control when the disease has already developed. "It's therefore advisable to plan ahead, with an advance treatment of Bayer's Dedicate applied before autumn renovation activities to give the best possible protection against a broad spectrum of diseases, including Anthracnose."
Turf professionals are reminded not to mistake foliar blight symptoms for drought. The grass turns yellow in colour which occurs in irregular patches (see picture 1).
Eventually, infected plants turn completely brown and die. (see picture 2).
About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, a subgroup of Bayer AG with annual sales of EUR 6.830 billion (2010), is one of the world's leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and traits. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of 20,700 and is represented in more than 120 countries.
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