Late Season Disease Pressure

Hello Golfers!

It has been quite a while since our last posting.  The weather has been favourable, the course has been in great shape, and we have been getting great reviews regarding the golf course.

October and the first half of November have been unusually warm – to be more specific, the evenings have been unusually warm.  While these temperatures have allowed us to keep the Sea Course open a little longer than we usually have, the disease pressure at this time is extremely high.  Fusarium (the disease you are seeing on the greens) is a real concern when the turf is wet and the evenings are warm.  Over the last several weeks there has been a fair amount of rain, minimal sunshine, and warm evenings which are conditions that fusarium thrives in.

A number of players have been mentioning to us that they are seeing some disease on the greens and they are worried we are not doing anything about it.  When it comes to fusarium there are a number of ways we can help prevent, and limit how much it grows without spraying.  The best, and most cost effective way of reducing fusarium on greens is to limit foliar moisture because this disease loves dew on the leaf blade.  To knock the dew off the plant we have been brushing the greens in the morning to try and limit the favourable growing conditions.  Another way to limit fusarium is to roll the greens.  By rolling greens you are removing the dew from the plant, and many studies have shown that rolling greens is an excellent way to reduce disease pressure.

The last option we have is to spray.  We spray a citric acid on the greens when the disease is active to shock and kill the disease.  The effectiveness of the spray generally lasts 10-14 days depending on weather conditions.  With our current high disease pressure we are spraying slightly more frequently, but not more than necessary.  When you, the golfer, see a rust coloured spot on the putting green you are not incorrect in your diagnosis that it is fusarium, however the trained eye of a greenkeeper is essential when it comes deciding what further steps should be taken.  Spraying greens when you first see disease can be a waste of time and resources if you don´t do it when the disease is active.  Before we make the decision to spray we check our logs to see when we last sprayed, just how active the disease is on the greens, and what the weather will be like when we spray.  Only once we believe that the spray will be most effective, and the weather conditions are right we will spray the greens.

At this time of year fusarium is a battle for all golf courses in our climate.  Many people still believe that spraying a fungicide to control fusarium is the best way forward, however this is also the biggest missconception because fungicides are not 100% effective 100% of the time.  If somebody had created a “silver bullet” fungicide that would be effective all of the time, that person would be a very, very wealthy.  With the strict regulations that are placed on fungicides golf courses are extremely limited in how often they can be applied.  If you do your application in the wrong conditions or at the wrong time you may be in serious trouble.  However, since we are using natural products (citric acid) we are able to spray as often as we deem necessary.

So rest assured golfers, we are monitoring the greens every day and doing everything we can to keep the outbreaks of fusarium under control, and when necessary we are spraying greens.

Stone Course will remain open until there is snow on the ground, and the Sea Course will remain open until we start experiencing frost delays.  The weather forecast seems quite favourable over the coming days so come out and enjoy the Sea Course before it closes until the spring.

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