As winter arrives across Australia, turf maintenance becomes a unique challenge. While many people associate fungal diseases with warmer climates, the cooler months bring their own set of challenges. Secondary pathogens can take advantage of stressed or compromised turfgrass and contribute to a further decline in its health. Fungal infections can still wreak havoc on turfgrass, causing unsightly blemishes and weakening its overall health.
Let’s look at a couple of pathogens that commonly impact turfgrass during winter and review some management options to maintain your turf in the upcoming months.
Winter Fusarium can be a significant concern for turfgrass in Australia during the winter months. Also known as Fusarium Patch or Microdochium Patch, it is a fungal disease that commonly affects turfgrass in Australia during the winter months. It is caused by the fungus Microdochium nivale.
Winter Fusarium thrives in cool and moist conditions, which are common during the Australian winter. Extended periods of leaf wetness, low temperatures, and high humidity provide an ideal environment for the fungus to infect and spread throughout the turfgrass. Overcrowded turf, excessive thatch, poor drainage, and inadequate airflow can contribute to the development and severity of the disease.
Leaf Spot Diseases
Leaf spot diseases are a common problem affecting turfgrasses, including both warm-season and cool-season varieties. These diseases are caused by various fungal pathogens and can lead to unsightly brown or black spots on the leaves, weakening the overall health and appearance.
Leaf spot diseases thrive under conditions of high humidity, prolonged leaf wetness, and moderate temperatures. These conditions create a favourable environment for fungal growth and infection.
The most observed leaf spot disease is Helminthosporium Disease. Leaf Spot diseases are primarily caused by fungal pathogens belonging to different genera, such as Bipolaris, Drechslera, and Curvularia.
Red Thread disease is caused by the fungal pathogen Laetisaria fuciformis. This pathogen primarily affects cool season turfgrasses.
Red Thread disease thrives in cool, moist conditions. It is most prevalent during periods of high humidity, moderate temperatures and extended leaf wetness. Overwatering, poor drainage, and excessive nitrogen fertilisation can contribute to the development of the disease.
Management Options for Turf in Winter - The best Disease and Stress Response tools
Tombstone Duo is a broad-spectrum fungicide containing the active ingredients Trifloxystrobin (100g/L) and Tebuconazole (200g/L) that delivers strong disease protection in all weather conditions.
Voltar GT 250SC
Voltar GT 250SC is a broad spectrum fungicide containing 250g/L of the active ingredient Iprodione. Voltar GT 250SC is an oil based, SC formulation with improved rainfast properties for effective results in most weather conditions.
Clean Sweep Trio
Clean Sweep Trio Fungicide is a unique, industry first 3-way fungicide formulation containing 119g/L Thiophanate-methyl, 37.5g/L Fluazinam and 36g/L Tebuconazole. A non-strobilurin based product that can be used in rotation with strobilurin based fungicides.
Azo-Force 250SC is a broad spectrum fungicide containing 250g/L of the active ingredient Azoxystrobin. SC formulation = low odour, tank mix flexible and excellent safety to the plant. Systemic movement within the plant provides up to 28 days residual activity.
Perfect Tank Mix Partners - Stress Response Tools
Turf Aid is a unique 3-part, liquid additive used to act as a visual spray application aid with a range of turf management products. In addition, the macrocyclic compound called phthalocyanine within the product also assists in protecting turf against UV radiation and excessive light intensity. The new generation APG surfactant in the formulation assists in improving coverage, uniformity, deposition and provides rainfast properties to the product, and its tank mix partners. Finally, the product contains Plant Elicitors which enhance the plant’s immune response to plant stresses.
SiliXOL T&O is a proprietary formulation of stabilized Orthosilicic acid. The product has been designed to strengthen and improve plant response in a range of situations including turfgrass, ornamentals and nursery production. SiliXOL T&O contains 25g/L of Orthosilicic acid, which equates to 0.8% plant available silicon (Si). SiliXOL T&O is a tank mix flexible formulation of Silicon and can be mixed with a range of turf and horticultural management products.
Please feel free to consult with a GTS Technical Field Agent to make the appropriate fungicide choice.
We recommend turf managers apply fungicides as a preventive measure, following label instructions and timing recommendations. It is important to consider using fungicides with different modes of action to minimize the risk of resistance development.