Thursday, June 14, 2012

Take-All Patch

Take-All Patch (aka Gaeumannomyces graminis) is a turf disease that attacks Bentgrass.  As with all turf pathogens, there are many factors which play a part in determining whether or not the disease will present itself, and this year (perhaps because of the mild winter) we've seen quite a bit of Take-All on both tees and fairways. 

The question  might be asked, why don't we just get the sprayer out and use one of the fungicides in our arsenal to eliminate this disease?  Unfortunately, as with many "patch diseases," the point of attack for Take-All is in the root system, and not the foliage.  Therefore, by the time you see disease symptoms on the leaves, the damage is already done, and fungicides are of limited use.

The best control for this disease requires preventative fungicide applications: one application in the fall, and a second in the spring.  However, this kind of preventative spray program has its drawbacks.  With the inconsistencies in severity of the disease from year to year, it might be tough to establish a cause and effect relationship.  For example, if you spray preventatively in the fall and spring, and have little Take-All that year, was that because you applied the fungicide, or would you have had little Take-All even without the sprays, due to weather and soil conditions? 

Answering this kind of question can best be done through the use of untreated check plots.  If the decision is made to go ahead and spray preventatively for Take-All, we will have both treated and untreated areas side by side.  This way we can connect the dots, and determine how well the fungicide application worked, and how severe the disease would be without the use of a fungicide.

Fortunately, while Take-All Patch often discolors the Bentgrass, and weakens the plant, it typically doesn't live up to its name.

Take-All Patch on a tee.

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