Already the daylight hours are decreasing significantly and although temperatures throughout the day are still mild to warm, the evenings are starting to become a lot cooler. This combination has led to the morning dew lying a lot thicker on the ground and taking a lot longer to burn off than in previous weeks.
With these morning dews, greenkeepers need to keep a close eye on the course for signs of fungal activity, which could lead to disease outbreak within the turf. Some disease pathogens are dependent on water to move from plant to plant and dew can be a major contributing factor to disease spread for this reason. These pathogens can also thrive in damp, humid conditions and the dew can create a microclimate, adding to increased activity.
Remember though that not all disease is fungal and could still become an issue through the autumn.
It is important to understand the correct identification of any disease that may appear in the turf, and what the contributory factors are for its presence. Although weather may be the main factor (especially warm, wet weather) it could be poor cultural practices, such as poor aeration or over fertilising, may be the main reason for disease outbreak.
Identifying correctly the reason for the disease outbreak also helps ascertain which chemical to use as certain chemicals may only neutralise diseases and chemicals can have different modes of actions – meaning the timing of application is also important to consider.