Thursday, 24 May 2012

Rolling, Moss, and Fusarium?

This morning while checking on my moss study plots I was treated to a pleasant surprise. The study putting green was caked in fusarium patch just the same as the rest of my putting surfaces. I always gravitate towards the plot that is rolled 8x a day just to see how it is managing. The turf was slightly thinning but there was absolutely no fusarium present! At first I was a bit surprised but then again it's no big deal to not see any disease on a small 4'x4' section of the putting green turf even with severe disease pressure.

I kept on looking at all the plots to rate them on fusarium severity. I made a hasty observation that plots that were rolled at least 4x/day had no disease where plots with 2-3x/day had some disease and the control plots were severely infected.

Wow! We know rolling has an effect on Dollar Spot but Fusarium? Really? These observations are very early and clearly demand further investigation. This moss study is a long term pet project of mine so it should be very interesting to see what other effects rolling frequency has on turf and the other organisms that interact with it.

Here are a few pics I snapped with my phone camera this morning.
Control Plot (never rolled) with new outbreak of fusarium patch. The dew definitely helps the Fusarium. Also you
gotta love that divot on the top left. NOT

Plot that is rolled 8x/day with no sign of fusarium yet. A little thin but give me a break, it's poa cut at 0.090" grown
in full shade!
We roll our greens every day with the best roller on the market!
Now I know what you're thinking. Who in their right mind is going to roll 8x/day? Not me for one. I don't even think 4x/day is realistic. What this observation could one find if scientifically proven is that rolling could have a detrimental affect on Microdochium nivale. It could also be used as a tool to get turf managers through rough patches where fungicide applications aren't possible such as during heavy rains, winds, resistance, temporary periods of high disease severity (like this past week on the West Coast) and also for those organic maniacs out there who might want to consider dropping their HOC down stupidly low. During this past winter I would only roll on days with heavy dew (not raining) where there was no frost present (practically never). If this theory was proven correct I would probably roll on the rainy days as well to maybe help reduce the severity of the only fungal disease that really causes us concern out West in the winter months. I could also use it for short periods of time when environmental conditions favor the disease for a short period of time such as this past week. For the last month we have had amazing weather. Hot, dry and not very good for fusarium. This last week the temps dropped into the 8-13C range (perfect fusarium territory) and poof! Out comes the disease!

This is a very early observation but I was just so excited that I had to share! This also shows another benefit of my anti-preventative fungicide application beliefs. I saw the disease coming late last week. I chose not to apply a preventative fungicide and was rewarded handsomely. If I had applied a preventative I would have completely missed this observations :)