April showers bring May flowers, diseases, and basement floods

What’s been going on around the state?


Weather data library

First- here’s a reminder about the KSU Weather Data Library.  If you have never checked out this resource it is worth a look:




At the upper left, you can choose “Kansas Weather and ET Data” and from there you’ll find a page with a map and also a pull-down menu.  Choose a site near you, select a range of dates, and you can get highs, lows, and soil temps usually at 2 and/or 4-inch depths.  Here’s an example of the type of data you’ll get:

Date Max Air Temp Min Air Temp Total Precip (in) Avg RH Avg windspeed ET (grass) ET (alfalfa) Max 2″ soil temp Min 2″ soil temp Max 4″ soil temp Min 4″ soil temp
4/1/2012 89.2 55.2 0 60.6 6.91 0.23 0.32 75.8 59.3 68.6 61.4
4/2/2012 88.2 59.7 0 60.4 10.47 0.29 0.43 77.6 64.7 70.5 64.5
4/3/2012 74.3 54.5 0 71 5.15 0.15 0.19 75.4 61.9 68.7 63.1
4/4/2012 60.3 51.9 0.88 86.4 5.54 0.05 0.07 64.5 59.1 65.5 60
4/5/2012 61.9 43.6 0.03 79.1 4.79 0.08 0.11 64.3 54.2 62.1 57.6

From there, you can take averages over the past week, take the data and turn it into graphs (if that’s useful for you), etc etc.


Fire blight in ornamental pear:

A classic symptom of fire blight is a “shepherd’s crook” shape to the branch tips, but the disease can also attack the spur branches. The pear sample below came in today.  Crabapple can also be affected.

We had warm, wet weather during bloom in many areas.  The bacteria that cause fire blight can infect the blossoms during those types of conditions, then the bacteria spreads down into the spur.  From there, it can spread into branches.  What to do about fire blight?  Prune out affected branches.  The best time to do this is winter.  But, if pruning in summer, do it when there are several days of dry weather in the forecast and disinfest tools between pruning cuts.  Tools can be dipped into 10% bleach (mix 1 part bleach with 9 parts water).  The bleach solution loses activity quickly so must be made fresh.  Tools can also be dipped in70% alcohol.


Large patch in zoysia:

The cool, wet weather this week has been perfect for large patch development.  Usually zoysiagrass would be just barely greening up by now, with large patch symptoms appearing in late April or early May.  But, along with early plant growth the diseases are popping up earlier.  There is some information about managing large patch at this website:  http://www.plantpath.ksu.edu/ksu.edu/doc1282.ashx


Yellow patch:

There may be some lingering symptoms of yellow patch


Dollar spot

I haven’t personally seen dollar spot yet, but I have heard that it is active in some areas


Fairy ring

We get early-season fairy ring every year at Rocky Ford when the turf hasn’t been fertilized yet:

We just fertilized for the first time, so those rings will disappear as the turf greens up now that it has had something to eat!

In putting green sites with a history of normal summer fairy ring now might be a good time for preventative applications.  Applications at soil temps of 55-65 have been successful in a number of studies, and I know several superintendents who have had success with that as well.


Organic matter

A putting green sample came in last week where the actual disease problem was yellow patch, but there were also significant organic matter layers, as shown in the photo below.  That indicates the need for aerification and topdressing.  When summer heat/stress kicks in, that organic matter can retain water and reduce root vigor.  NOW is the time to boost turf health.  Build your roots so that when things get brutal in the summer, your turf is more prepared to withstand it.


Fall Seedings not greening up

I’ve had a few calls and emails in recent weeks about fall 2011 turf seedings not emerging well from winter.  It was a dry, dry fall and winter.  Even in sites with irrigation, the irrigation might not have been enough… I think that is the case with some of the failed plantings.  The juvenile turf went into winter a bit dry, then it dried even further.


Basement floods

Yup, those darn April showers… for the most part, I welcome them.  They do trigger a few diseases, but these gentle rains have overall been great for plant growth.

But I didn’t welcome them into the basement!  D’oh!  Next time, April Showers, stay outside :)

(an unfortunate side-effect of some minor construction at the house… all is OK now!)



Be Sociable, Share!