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Turfgrass Management Agriphone for June 21, 2007 Print E-mail

Welcome to the "Turf Management Updates" sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.  They will be recorded on Thurs. afternoons and posted on the OMAFRA website sometime on Friday mornings.  This message is for the week of June 21 - 28, 2007.

 

Weather

Has it been hot and dry enough for you?  The weather has been good for all kinds of outdoor activities, but not that great for turf.  Thundershowers did roll through a few days ago, but as usual they were spotty.  The cool front, that followed has brought some more seasonal temperatures our way.  The bad news is that if you didn’t get rain in the form of thundershowers, there is no rain in the forecast for the next week.  This weather is tough on golf superintendents, especially if your irrigation system isn’t up to par.  Sod growers have been busy trying to keep sod from going dormant so they have a product to sell.  There have been lots and lots of lawn problems because of the heat and dry conditions.  A lawn requires 2.5 cm a week of water will keep it green and from going dormant. Some general things to keep in mind with drought stressed or dormant turf:

 

Try to keep traffic off of dormant turf
Don’t fertilize or mow dormant turf
Regularly inspect lawn for turf insects

 

Over the next few weeks, if temperatures soar again to 30ºC, here are some other things to remember – it is not a good idea to mow turf or have any other traffic from other vehicles such as golf carts on it during the heat of the day when temperatures hover around 30ºC, especially if the turf is under drought stress.  The result will look like you have applied Roundup to the tires of your lawn mower.  This will definitely cause some temporary turf damage. 

 

Diseases

It isn’t surprising that there has been very little disease activity over the past week.  This is usually the case when conditions are so dry, even though temperatures were high.  There may be some active summer patch runner hyphae on annual bluegrass, but no symptoms reported as yet.  When temperatures rise again, the stress diseases, anthracnose foliar blight and anthracnose basal rot could become a problem.  Dollar spot has remained moderately active over the last week.  Another thing to note is that soil temperatures are very high and this will slow down root growth severely, so you don’t want to damage roots at this point because they won’t come back until the late summer when the soil temperatures cool down.

 

Insects

Leatherjackets have moved down about 2.5 – 3 cm down into the soil.  This moisture loving insect probably does this to survive the dry conditions that we have in Ontario during the summer.  The damage that results from insect pecking out the leatherjackets from golf course turf will probably continue until the leatherjackets pupate in mid to late August.

 

Just a note to all of you who captured and sent me crane fly adults this spring – they have been positively identified by Dr. Jon Gelhaus of the Academy of Natural Sciences in the United States as the common crane fly (Tipula oleracea).  This is the first report of this species in Ontario and it is very exciting from a scientific point of view.  Now that we have confirmed that they are here, we will be on the lookout for them in the future to see how they are spreading.  Thank you very much to everyone took the time to send me adult crane flies.

 

European chafer adult flights have continued this week and I would say that they have been heavier than normal for this time of year.  The phenological indicator for European chafer peak adult flights is the catalpa tree and it is in full bloom at the moment.  We usually expect European chafer flights from mid-June to mid July with the peak flights around Canada Day.  We are in the ideal application window for preventative insecticide controls on turf areas that had grub damage in late fall or earlier this spring. 

 

Dr. Katerina Jordan received a sample of some dying creeping bentgrass from a lawn bowling green.  It was loaded with 2nd instar black turfgrass ataenius.  Golf course superintendents should be on the lookout for turf that looks a bit drought stressed.  It may be a good idea to check the roots to see if they are being eaten by black turfgrass ataenius.

 

In the surrounding states there are reports of wide spread annual bluegrass damage already.  Dr. Pat Vittum of University of Massachusetts reports that the populations are the highest that they have seen in the last 20 years.  I would say that we should be seeing damage here as well now.  Just to refresh your memory, damage usually begins as small patches of annual bluegrass turning yellow.  The annual bluegrass pulls out easily because the weevils have severed the stems from the roots.  Heavy populations can cause a lot of damage very quickly.  Chlorpyrifos is the only insecticide registered for use on annual bluegrass weevil on Ontario golf courses.