Autumn Turf Disease – When to start?

We are now entering the period when Microdochium Patch will begin to raise it’s head. If I look at the climate near me for this year and last year and compare it to actual disease levels, it is clear that this year, 2019 is a less challenging one.

At least it is so far.

So what are the key differences?

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  • Drier in 2018 than 2019
  • Cooler overnight temperatures

What are the other drivers to look out for?

  • Soft lush growth
  • Long periods of leaf moisture (dew)
  • Recent renovations

We don’t really need a prediction model to recognise when we are entering these conditions (although Greencast does a great job of highlighting it) a quick look at the Greencast model we can see there is a clear area of higher pressure in the UK.

So there is a strong chance you’re still pretty clean going into this period – it’s worth having a look at the Greencast Website to compare your weather conditions to last year so you can gauge how much of this is down to climate or your management practices.

The key message at this time of year is that the disease population is on the slow march whether you like it or not. The longer nights, the heavy dew and the mild temperature are perfect for its disease development.

However the plant health and growth at the moment will be keeping it at bay.

At this time of year growth is still strong however opportunities to grow out damaged turf are quickly reducing. The combination of current growth, increasing disease populations and reducing opportunities to recover damage is leading Turf managers to ask the question – When should I apply?

Watching disease pressure through this period is very important – during high periods of pressure and strong growth, using a systemic product and reducing spray windows to 14 to 21 days can help keep disease populations low. When the climatic pressure reduces a low disease population should allow us to extend the windows.

Autumn is NOT the time to push the boundaries, keep things clean and use January, February and March to elongate application windows.

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