© Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University | Bugwood.org
One concern for lawn care operators is avoiding a disease outbreak at the start of the season when the turf may be vulnerable.
Dr. John Kaminski, associate professor of turfgrass management at Penn State University, maintains that the most effective way of warding off disease in the spring is to nurture healthy turf through the fall and into the winter.
“I think of it as fundamental Turf 101,” he says. “I think the stronger you are going into winter, the more likely you are to avoid some avoid some (disease issues) that you may come across.”
Dr. Jim Kerns, associate professor at NC State University, agrees. “Turf that struggles through the winter months is predisposed to disease in the spring,” he says. “Pathogens are opportunistic, therefore having weak plants at any time can allow for disease development.”
When it comes to heading off early season disease problems, Kaminski says LCOs working in northern sections of the United States and Canada are at a disadvantage. “The northern guys have the challenge of having annual bluegrass,” he says. “You can have perfect turf and still have a bad winter and get turf loss, but the adage of having healthy turf going into the winter is definitely going to be important.”
Read the full article from our January issue here.