An interesting press release from the MSU Turfgrass Center:
Tough Season For Growing Turf | 8-3-2011
This has been a tough season for growing turf whether it was on a home lawn or golf course. First, we had a very wet spring which water-logged the soil, pushing out the oxygen and limiting root growth. This meant the turf went into the summer season with a limited root system. Then we had one of the hottest, wettest July’s on record. We have found abundant summer patch and crown rot anthracnose in samples sent to our laboratory at MSU. We have also had identified samples that had bacterial wilt. Many turf stands were barely hanging on with these disease problems when the heavy rains occurred last week. These rains, once again, saturated the soils pushing out the oxygen. With the added stress of depleted oxygen levels in the root zone, the turf that was surviving the summer patch, crown rot anthracnose, or bacterial wilt began to die.
Fortunately, it appears that the temperatures are going to moderate, especially the nighttime temperatures. Venting the soil with small tines to re-oxidize the soil will help. Also applying light rates of potassium nitrate (1/8 of a pound of N per 1000 sq ft) and rinsing it into the soil will help re-oxidize the soil. Unfortunately, if the heavy rains continue there will be more turf loss. Those greens, tees, and fairways where turf loss occurred should be interseeded with creeping bentgrass. Diseases like brown patch, crown rot anthracnose, and dollar spot are going to continue to occur throughout the month of August so the turf should be treated with fungicides to make sure these diseases do not cause any more turf loss.
J.M. Vargas, Jr., Professor
MSU Turf Team