Archive for August, 2014

Flight of the crane fly

adult crane fly (large mosquito like fly) resting in turf

adult crane fly in turf

Over the last few days dozens of adult crane flies have emerged from their puparia (pupal casing). They are easiest to find resting in the turf in a moist shady area. This is just the beginning of the adult flights. They usually peak around the middle of September. On golf courses or sod farms, f you observe large numbers of adults and have experienced leatherjacket damage in the past there are preventative insecticides that can be applied over the next month. If you prefer to wait, there are also curative insecticides that can be applied next spring. The rates and products can be found in the OMAFRA Publication 384, Protection Guide for Turfgrass. Here is the link – http://www.ontario.ca/bwg3.

On home lawns, insect parasitic nematodes can be applied after all adults have finished egglaying (end of October, beginning of November). Our best results have been with a combination of Heterorhabditis bacteriophora and Steinernema carpocapse.

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small patches of yellow to orange discoloured turf on a putting green

anthracnose basal rot on putting surface

This one caught me by surprise. Anthracnose basal rot is a disease that is usually stress induced. I am pretty sure this summer that turf stress has been minimal. That being said, the disease has developed on an area that is compacted and poorly drained. The onset was after the weekend of high humidity, overcast, misty weather followed by the hottest day this summer. Today ET rates are through the roof. The USGA in their Turfgrass and Environmental Research Online have published an article by Drs. Murphy and Clarke as well as Schmid, Hempfling and Wang on BMP’s for anthracnose disease on annual bluegrass putting greens.

Click to access n2-12.pdf

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small white grubs on soil under sod

First instar European chafer grubs

We have been following the development of European chafer grubs in a couple of locations in and around Guelph. The grubs seem to be behind in their development from previous years. That being said, they are now at an ideal stage to treat with nematodes. Another plus this year is that soils are already fairly wet in most areas and the grubs are feeding high up in the soil at the soil/thatch interface. If the soils are not wet in your area wait for the rain that is forecast for the long weekend before treating. Research in collaboration with Dr. Michael Brownbridge shows the best nematode species to be Heterorhabditis bacteriophora to control European chafer grubs.
Best management practices for nematode use are:
– purchase the correct species for the target insect
– keep nematodes cool (5C)
– use within 4 weeks of purchase
– use nematode mixture within 2-4 hours of mixing
– apply in the morning or evening or on a cloudy day and water in immediately
– keep the nematode mixture stirred prior and during application

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grass blades with yellow spots full of spores

Rust symptoms on individual blades of grass

Rust symptoms on a soccer field with brown grass and dead leaf blades

Rust symptoms on a soccer field

We have visited a dozen sports fields this week and what have we found…….rust and lots of it. On some fields the damage is causing the loss of turf blades. The crowns are probably ok, but the overall appearance says dead grass. Rust is also a problem on home lawns and golf course roughs. Initial infection of rust requires low light and moisture on leaf surfaces and mild temperatures (22C). Again, that sounds like most of the summer weather of 2014. After infection, if we get some warm dry sunny weather the rust will develop very rapidly. Turf that is growing slowly because of poor fertility, drought or any other type is stress is most susceptible. A shot of nitrogen will probably help immensely if rust is a problem as will increased mowing frequency.

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Two tan rings of dead turf Waitea patch on GTI pathology research green with a few dollar spots thrown in

Waitea patch on GTI pathology research green

The symptoms of Waitea patch have been around for several weeks on the GTI Pathology Green. They have been getting more prevalent and more pronounced over the last week. Optimum temperature for this disease is between 25 and 30C with high, so as the temperatures have warmed up, the symptoms have intensifies. Heavy dew, cloudy weather and high humidity intensify this disease. Sounds like the summer of 2014. There are two fungicides registered in Ontario for the control of Waitea patch, Heritage and Tourney if you find it affecting your putting greens.

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We need your grubs

small plastic tub with very small white grubs

1st instar European chafer grubs

Dr. Brownbridge, his gang, my summer student and I went out to set up a European chafer bio-control experiment today. The only problem was – there were very few grubs at the site we have been using for the past 2 years. This is the reason for this post – we need your grubs! To be more specific, we need a site with approximately a 20 m x 20 m of grub infested area. This could be a sod farm, an estate property or a golf course. We are willing to travel within 2 hours of Guelph/Vineland. If you are a sod farmer, this could be a field where you noticed grub damage this spring, as long as the field is still in sod. Ditto for the estate property. If you had a client with a serious grub problem this spring there is a good chance there will be grubs at the same site again now.

You can comment on this blog or email me at pamela.charbonneau@ontario.ca. You can also telephone me at my office (519) 824-4120 x 52597 or on my cell phone at (519)-994-4438. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Soccer goal mouth

Soccer goal mouth

Sports Turf Canada is holding its 27th annual field day on Thurs.Sept. 18th, 2014 at Cutten Fields, Guelph, ON. The feature speaker is Dr. Jason Henderson, University of Connecticut and yours truly. Dr. Henderson will present information on surface and subsurface drainage and protecting and renovating high quality playing surfaces. I will be discussing a project that has examined the correlation between turf conditions and permitted hours at four soccer fields in each of three different municipalites. In the afternoon, there will be an opportunity to tour the University of Guelph Varsity Field, the Soccer Comples, Alumni Stadium and the Field House. The registration brochure is available online at http://sportsturfassociation.com/ and the registration deadline is Sept. 5th, 2014. I look forward to seeing you there!

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Chinch 1 Turf nil

Patches of tan coloured dead turf areas caused by hairy chinch bug feeding

Hairy chinch bug damage

At our sites where we are conducting our hairy chinch bug bio-control research with Dr. Michael Brownbridge and crew, we are starting to see some pretty major damagefrom hairy chinch bug feeding. The damage first appears near trees, shrubs, house foundations and other hairy chinch bug overwintering sites. As the hairy chinch bugs destroy those areas they move further into a lawn and continue to feed. They prefer sunny areas over shady areas.

The somewhat disturbing part of this situation is that we are still seeing many smaller nymphs that will continue to feed heavily until they molt into adults. This means that the damage will continue to get worse for at least another couple of weeks. This is somewhat later than most years where the bulk of the damage is already visible by now. Chalk it up to the cooler than average temperatures in July and so far in early August.

And finally, a plug for our research – you will be able to find out our results of the hairy chinch bug biocontrol trial at the Ontario Turfgrass Symposium on Feb. 18th and 19th, 2015, so mark your calendar now!

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