Experienced turf managers know that when Pythium is present, it’s crucial to take action as soon as possible - or the effects can be devastating to your turf. A common and difficult disease to control, Pythium thrives in hot, humid weather and poses a threat to both cool-season and warm-season turf. The soil-borne pathogen can move quickly and aggressively, severely damaging large areas of turf in days or even hours if the conditions are right.
“Prevention is key when it comes to this aggressive disease,” says Dr. Bobby Walls, Product Development Manager for FMC Professional Solutions. “Once Pythium hits, efforts to control it can be difficult and costly.”
Walls offers the following tips to help your turf stay disease-free and recover quickly if Pythium happens to strike:
1. Provide adequate soil drainage to your turf and fill-in depressions where water stands.
2. Be aware of how many gallons per acre your spray rig puts out. This can prevent over watering.
3. Spike greens regularly to reduce thatch accumulation.
4. Avoid saturating the soil of newly seeded areas.
5. Establish a good turf nutrition program through the winter months to enhance root initiation and growth as well as aid the turf in disease resistance.
6. Pythium can spread easily by animals, equipment and foot traffic. Delay mowing and limit traffic in problem areas until the surface is dry.
7. Be vigilant for signs of disease during particular weather patterns and seasons: when evening temperatures average 65° F or higher, when dew begins to form in the early evening and remains until morning, and when late afternoon rain showers occur.
8. Fungicides are an essential tool in a well-rounded Pythium control program. However, be sure to have a good fungicide rotation program to minimize resistance.
9. Pythium outbreaks tend to occur in the same areas each year under the right conditions. Make note of those vulnerable areas to keep watch over and make precautionary fungicide treatments as necessary.
10. Take the time to reflect on your plan every year. Identify the steps that worked and those that didn’t.
Walls suggests that turf managers consider using Segway® fungicide first in their rotations to prevent disease initiation and subsequent spread. “Only Segway uses the active ingredient cyazofamid to stop spores from germinating” he adds. “So turf managers can tackle Pythium threats before they become Pythium problems.”