Disease Alert Pythium spp update Sydney Dec 2014

As continued from my last post we are experiencing very high pythium levels with all those storms around. It seems if you didn’t get the first 3 the next 3 hit your area. We tend to see Pythium blight and Pythium root rot. Both are very destructive and come in quickly like all Pythium diseases. Controlling Pythium is paramount and all measures should be taken. With these prolonged wet conditions Pythium root rot is most prevalent and is difficult to manage. There is not a lot of information on this type of disease but to say that with water soaked roots and water logged soils this disease runs rampant.

Pythium is always living in the soil and needs the right conditions to cause problems. Water logged greens are a perfect environment for Pythium root rot. You can see Pythium as patterns in greens that follow the drainage lines. Equipment use also spreads the disease. If you have a short root system with compacted soil and poor drainage, your turf will need extra light watering to keep it alive. This will increase Pythium pressure, due to plant wetness. On the other hand, deep infrequent watering can increase Pythium pressure as well as the roots and the soil are being completely soaked which is conducive to Pythium outbreaks. Very hard to win in this situation. That is why it is important to maintain healthy turf and to use specific Pythium fungicides on a preventative basis.

The aim now is to use fungicides on a 7-14 day intervals (no matter what product you are using- hopefully Proplant through). The reason behind this is that your soil will be still very wet and until it dries out it is a perfect environment for the disease. As well as try and reduce the moisture content in your turf to help get the turf to recover. This is the most essential in managing root rot pythium from what I’ve seen over the years with attending various seminars and talking to various turf pathologists and professors.

Apply your fungicide down past the crown do not leave on the surface with application (water in slightly after your boom application)

If you do have an outbreak with any disease, not just Pythium reduce the use of PGR’s until you get recovery. Also look at at tank mixing your fungicide as other diseases maybe present. An Ippon & Proplant tank mix is very effective here.

Cultural Controls of Pythium:

  • Avoid too much N
  • Aerate the area slightly to allow more oxygen to penetrate the soil
  • Utilise pentrant wetting agents to push the moisture through the profile
  • Keep plants healthy as possible with using root stimulants and other biological products
  • Avoid mowing in moist hot weather
  • Raise mowing heights
  • Avoid verti cutting, top dressing if greens are infected  as it puts more stress on the plant
  • Reduce leaf wetness
  • Increase air flow and sunlight to Pythium prone areas

I hope this short posts helps understand the disease a little better and how to manage it.

Any help needed again please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank Nadeem

As I sign off another storm is coming past our office at Wetherill Park