What makes a disease-resistant bentgrass popular?

By |  April 26, 2023 0 Comments

In Spring 2017, the USGA Davis Research Program invited several turfgrass pathologists to discuss dollar spot, new disease-resistant bentgrasses, forecast models, resistant strains of dollar spot and alternative management practices.

Paul Koch, Ph.D., assistant professor of plant pathology at the University of Wisconsin, then organized more than 20 turfgrass pathologists and breeders to attend a follow-up meeting at the 2018 Golf Industry Show and worked with attendees to develop an application for a federal grant to continue the discussion.

In April 2019, Koch and his colleagues received a grant from the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture for their project Biology, Etiology and Management of Dollar Spot in Turfgrass.

Most recently, the working group met at the 2023 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in Orlando, Fla., where it discussed the results of a survey conducted with support from the USGA.

The survey — conducted in March 2022 — aimed to identify factors superintendents use when selecting bentgrass cultivars to develop strategies for increased adoption of disease-resistant cultivars.

More than 90 percent the 208 of superintendent respondents reported having creeping bentgrass or a mixture of annual bluegrass and bentgrass on their putting greens, while 46 percent have fairways with bentgrass or a mix of annual bluegrass.

Only 26 percent of those who responded say they completed a course renovation with bentgrass cultivar in the last 10 years. More than 80 percent say they are happy with the performance of the new bentgrass cultivar selected.

Only 38 percent of those respondents changed their disease management practices. Of those that did shift practices, 71 percent reported a decreased use of fungicide on their course.

At the 2023 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show, the group discussed how to best disseminate the results of the survey. All agreed that an Extension publication in multiple national, regional, and local trade publications was an appropriate method.

Ming-Yi Chou, Ph.D., the incoming assistant Extension professor at Rutgers University, will lead the writing of this Extension publication.

I look forward to reporting more on the bentgrass survey once the Extension publication is available. To learn more about the project and see a complete list of participants, please visit the project website.

Photo: Mike Kenna, Ph. D.

Photo: Mike Kenna, Ph. D.

Mike Kenna, Ph.D., retired director of research, USGA Green Section. Contact him at mpkenna@gmail.com.

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