|tiny little bleached out spots all over the fairways|
Dollar Spot right on schedule
You could set the week on a calendar. In fact we usually do. Our programs are set up to combat the eventual early July Dollar Spot fungus outbreak. We have been seeing minor outbreaks on tees and approaches as the preventative fungicide applications wear off but the fairways have been holding their own. Until this week. Traditional use of plant protectants is on a preventative basis where you apply fungicides or other protectants on a schedule and hope you stay ahead of any outbreak (sort of like applying sunscreen). Or you can go out after an outbreak with a curative application to kill the fungus while it is active. The damage is already done at this point and it takes more product to kill vs prevent so most people choose the preventative route, or a combo of the two. When you use a biological approach as we do it is a combo of both methods. We apply a bacteria we brew in our pump house through the irrigation system on a daily basis. But when the conditions favor the fungus it still grows(kind of like when the sunscreen washes off). We then see the damage on the turf and usually add a little fertilizer to the mix to help outgrow the damage. The continual addition of bacteria helps keep the fungus from getting a strong hold and continuing the onslaught. It has worked for us since 1998 as the last preventative fungicide applied to fairways was in September of 1997. Many parts of our program help us to achieve this goal. Dragging a hose across the turf to knock off the dew and guttation water (a fluid rich in sugars excreted by the turf) every morning and timely fertilizer apps are just a couple.
As we approach the dog days of summer remember that the turf is under a lot of stress this time of year so anything you can do to limit your added stress: driving around in circles searching for balls, applying bug spray while on the turf (see picture), walking on the collars while dragging your pull cart etc will all make a difference as to how well we survive the season.