Helminthosporium Pays Us A Visit Again

Leaf Spot by Eric von Hofen
Almost over night we see the results of Helminthosporium on our TifEagle greens. This is the first time in a year we have seen any signs from our little friend here in Miami. I wrote a similar post on this disease almost a year ago to date. Last year we had record cold temps that brought on the signs of the disease. This year we have had a month of well above temps with light rains that have kept the soil around 80 degrees. This was just enough to increase the pressure of the disease and for us to see the damage. I have started a program of applying fungicides on a 14 to 21 day rotation. I will use Fore, Insigna and Daconil for control and prevention of the leaf spot this winter. It has been 16 days since my last fungicide application so I’m not surprised to see the spots pop up. I spray my greens every friday with a light Harrells fertilizer package so adding fungicides will be easy to do. I will keep you updated this winter on the progress on the control of Helminthosporium. I see a connection between the amount of sun, rain fall and soil temps when the Helminthosporium shows up. Let me know what your seeing on your golf course.

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DROUGHT LEAVING IT’S MARK ON SOUTH FLORIDA COURSES

Hand watering fairways during the 2011 south florida drought by Eric von Hofen
Growing turf in South Florida this year has not been easy.  This past winter brought with it below normal temperatures, with many areas of the state dealing with frost delays and brown turf.  We just can’t seem to catch a break and the hits just keep on coming.  The National Weather Service predicts the drought for this area will last well into the wet season.   Here in Miami, we’ve only had 11.25 inches of rain so far this year.  Naples reports in with only 10.4 inches and Palm Beach with 13 inches of rain this year.  The rainy season usually starts around the middle to end of May.  Hurricane season begins on June 1st and lasts until November 30th. At the rate we’re going, it doesn’t seem like it will ever rain again.

southeast drought monitor by Eric J. von Hofen
The drought monitor shows just how bad the conditions are around the state.  South Florida Water Management District and local water utilities have implemented water restrictions for all golf courses in our area.  Surface water usage must be reduced by 15% and effluent water usage from utilities must be reduced by 35%.   These cut backs change every month because the permitted usage amount during the summer rainy months reflects the historical rain fall that is supposed to happen.  One problem now, it has not rained in the month of June and usage has been cut big time.

Low lake levels by Eric J. von Hofen
To make things worse, many golf course irrigation lakes are drying up and the water level is below the intakes on the pump stations.  The courses that can still pump water are reporting that the water quality is so bad that they are holding off on using it.  The chlorides are high as the water in a swimming pool and the pH is in the 9’s. At this point there is not much you can do other than watch your course burn up and pray for rain.  Courses are going to cart paths only and moving the aeration practices back because you can’t water enough to keep the place alive.  This is how bad it is down here.

I have been using the Harrells Symphony wetting agent product to pull me through these hard times.  We have been spraying the greens and tees with this product and the results have been outstanding.  Hand watering during the day is broken up into teams for the approaches, tees and greens.  The rough is left to fend for itself.  Plant material is stressed out also and water wagons are being used to keep the non native plants alive during this drought.

Golfers have been understanding so far because their yards are also burning up.  Let’s hope things change soon and we get some nectar from the gods.

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