John Foy – Late Summer Pest-Management Concerns
Maintaining an acceptable level of disease, insect, nematode and weed pest control or suppression is an ongoing battle on golf courses throughout the Southeast Region. For courses in the lower portion of the region – especially the coastal areas – fairy ring flair-ups on putting greens and resurgence in mole cricket activity recently have been the most common pest-management concerns. At many facilities, preventative fungicide and insecticide treatments were conducted earlier in the year, but unfortunately sufficient residual control through summer has not been provided.
The combination of Type 1 (i.e., stressed or necrotic turf) and irregular Type 3 (i.e., rings of Basidiomycetes mushrooms) fairy rings have been observed on putting green surfaces. Routine early morning mowing does remove fairy ring mushrooms; however, fairy rings still negatively affect aesthetics as well as ball roll. Just as a reminder, irrigation after fungicide applications that target fairy ring is a standard recommendation to improve the effectiveness of fungicide treatments by moving the material into the upper rootzone. Also, it has been observed that some of the newer fungicides labeled for fairy ring control are effective in suppressing both Type 1 and Type 3 rings, but it can still take several weeks for turf to recover and mushrooms to disappear. Rhizoctonia leaf and sheath spot on bermudagrass putting greens is another mid- to late-summer disease concern. The article, Diseases of Cool and Warm Season Putting Greens, provides an excellent review of this problem.
Throughout the Deep South and Florida, mole crickets have long been a major insect pest problem. Effective control treatments are available; however, after a mild winter, mole cricket pressure in central to south Florida has been extremely high. At courses where preventative treatments were earlier conducted, residual control has started to break down and moderate to heavy outbreaks of mole crickets have been occurring. In addition to the resulting turf damage, rapid invasion of tropical signalgrass and other weeds is another concern where mole cricket damage is experienced. Closely monitoring for mole cricket activity and conducting spot treatments with insecticides should remain a high priority for the next two or three months as courses begin to prepare for the rapidly approaching winter play season in Florida.