The weather forecast ahead should bring much needed relief to the roughs, but this warm and wet forecast comes with another threat of Gray Leaf Spot disease (GLS)
GLS disease is a major problem on perennial rye grass and to a lesser extent tall fescue. Your fairways are 95% rye grass. Its also grown on the tees with bentgrass and in the roughs along with tall fescue and other turf varieties. If you have played in the last month or so, you have noticed the damage GLS has caused in the green side roughs, step cuts and fairways 1,10 & 18. Other fairways have a few affected areas in them, but not like the ones previously listed.
The last outbreak of this magnitude came in October of 2008. Since that time we have always sprayed preventatively for this problem because once the turf gets infected, its very difficult to control. The spores for this disease will travel with tropical storms coming up through the south. This years hurricane season began early in April but has had little effect on our region. Activity in the tropics grew in June and July so I pushed up the first application to the end of July. Spraying every 14 days in the past years have proven to be very effective. Not this year though, by the end of August, we began to see symptoms of GLS in the step cut of 18 and around a few greens. At that point we began to closely monitor the course and adjust the spray schedule accordingly. When possible we shortened the intervals, increased the fungicide rates and rotate the fungicide chemistry only to see it spread to 1 & 10 fairways! I was doubting my diagnoses at one point because of the rate is was spreading but I was reassured by Dr. Buckley at Rutgers that GLS was what we were dealing with!
With tropical storm Nate appearing in the forecast overnight on Thursday, we decided to spray on Friday and Saturday hoping to prevent another out break. I have suspended all over seeding at this point because all rye grass seedling are very susceptible, regardless of GLS resistant variety’s that we have purchased. The affected fairways and roughs will have to be over seeded but will have to wait for more seasonal weather.
Infected seedlings on #10
Hopefully this will be the last of the warm humid weather for the year and we’ll be able to resume overseeding and fertilizing to expedite recovery. I’d also like to note that the spores for GLS do not overwinter well so here’s to a harsh winter!