Fusarium Patches - What Are They?

Fusarium is spread by wind, water, and by foot traffic. It is during periods of mild cool wet weather and heavy dews that an outbreak of the disease takes place. Attacks appear during late autumn through the winter.

Golf Greens are susceptible to Fusarium when the soil surface remains wet during prolonged periods of wet cool weather. Infected turf will recover when the plant becomes more active in the spring and is able to produce new healthy leaves restoring its vigour and colour.

The Fusarium fungus resides in the thatch of the green and is always present. You can’t exclude thatch and nor would you want to. Naturally occurring thatch at an appropriate depth and uniformity provides a natural resilience which contributes to the speed and consistency of play. It also acts as a singularly significant ‘recycling bin’ for natural nutrients (including nitrogen), released from decomposing organic matter and returned to the living grass plant tissue through the fibrous root system. So, Fusarium requires constant monitoring and control. It is always there on every golf green waiting to strike! Due to the climatic conditions, Autumn 2016 has seen an aggressive attack across the country.

What are we doing about it?

The cure is a mixture of ongoing preventative activity and chemical action against the disease.

Prevention... is a balance of continuing to remove the dew from the greens at every opportunity and increasing drainage and aeration. This is the right activity but many green keepers regard this as the equivalent of King Canute trying to hold back the waves.

Cure... is the successful application of chemicals which we use every year to manage this disease. It is important to note that the disease is always present, it lives in the thatch of the green. It happens every year, it just needs to be managed carefully. The greens will fully recover during the spring. The greens are being sprayed on Wednesday 4th and 11th of January and we will ensure no disruption to play.

Head GreenKeeper

Fusarium Patches

Frost on Greens

Frosty Greens

Foot Traffic Causes Substantial Damage To Frozen Frosty Greens

When we have frosty greens we politely ask golfers to use the temporary greens. The reasons are set out below and we thank you for your co-operation.
Golf greens are fragile & require careful, professional management. A green is a collection of millions of individual grass plants that are very delicate. Putting surfaces are cut at a height from 4mm – 8mm depending on the time of year, which places extreme stresses on the plant. This makes them vulnerable to attack from disease, pests, drought & frost.
Where there is a visible frost on the surface the grass plant becomes brittle as it is 90% water & can be easily crushed. As a consequence play in these conditions will cause the plant to die. (Similar to cracking an egg shell. Once its broken it can’t be put back together.)
Similarly even where there is not a visible frost & the top 2 inches of top-soil have thawed, the sub-soil may still be frozen. Play on the frosty greens in such circumstances will cause roots to break causing the plant to die.
Damage may not be immediately evident but within 2 to 3 days the leaves will turn brown & the plant will die. This causes thinning of the grass coverage & weakens the remaining plants. This in turn makes the surface more susceptible to disease & weed ingress. At the start of the new season the greens will take longer to recover & the quality of the putting surfaces will be compromised until mid season.
It is, therefore, essential that golfers do not play to main greens or use the putting green when greenstaff have put temporary greens in play. The greenstaff realise that temporary greens are not popular with the membership but they are a necessary evil.
Once again, thank you for your cooperation.
John Harvey,
Head Greenkeeper