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Be on the lookout for brown patch, large patch diseases this fall

by Gabe Saldana, Texas A&M AgriLife

Cases of the turfgrass disease commonly identified as brown patch — more likely large patch in most warm-season turfgrasses — have spiked during a cool September that broke rainfall records across parts of the state, according to specialists with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

Large patch and brown patch are caused by different groups of Rhizoctonia solani, a fungal pathogen, said Dr. Becky Grubbs, AgriLife Extension turfgrass specialist in College Station. The group associated with brown patch in cool-season grasses follows a different life cycle from the one responsible for large patch in Texas’ most common warm-season grasses, including St. Augustine and zoysiagrass.

Diagnosis by a certified nursery professional or turfgrass specialist is the best option for accuracy, Grubbs said. Continue reading

Spooky new fungal disease on southern golf courses unmasked

by Kathleen Phillips, Texas A&M AgriLife

A turfgrass disease that looked like an ink spill on many southern golf courses has been identified and all but blotted out, according to a plant pathologist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

The disease, which occurs on short-cut Bermuda and Zoysia grasses, had golf course superintendents from Texas to Florida “scared,” Dr. Young-Ki Jo said, because it ruined the aesthetic looks of their fairways and greens, which could have some players teed-off. Continue reading