As a general rule, maintaining turfgrass in Western New York is much simpler than in hot humid regions like NYC, NJ, MD, or VA. This year is proving to be the exception. Today I noticed a fungus called Pythium on # 5 fairway of the Lake course for the second time this year after not having a spot of it in my previous eight years here at Chautauqua.
Pythium is a turf disease that, if left untreated, can kill large areas of turf in an extraordinarily quick time. It spreads by mowers, carts, foot traffic, and even rainfall. Fortunately, I was able to get it treated in time and we should have no loss because of it, but now that it has its "foot in the door" it is something we will have to keep a close eye on every year.
What makes this a tougher year than most? Primarily the heat and humidity. Most turfgrass diseases thrive in this weather and this season we've had more of both than we've had in several years. With the heat generally comes dry spells. With dry spells comes irrigation. With irrigation comes a wetter turf canopy which in turn leads back to more turf disease.
Fortunately, we live in WNY and the weather changes fairly frequently. The forcast is calling for some cooler days and nights by this weekend. That is a recipe for some good recovery.