Fusarium Patch (Microdochium Nivale)
What Is It?
Fusarium Patch is a fungal disease that attacks areas of fine turf when local conditions are conducive for the organism to become active.
Have I Got It?
Fusarium Patch is one of the most common diseases found attacking fine turf. Poa Annua (annual meadowgrass) is the species most susceptible and makes up a high percentage of the sward in turf cut below 15mm. The first signs of Fusarium Patch activity are small brown or straw-coloured spots. If the attack becomes aggressive the spots will merge into larger patches, often with a dark red or orange perimeter to the affected area.
If I Have Got It How Do I Try To Control It?
Because Fusarium Patch is a fungal disease it does not like being exposed to ultraviolet light. Therefore if bright sunny weather follows early signs of an attack it may subside naturally, particularly if it is also breezy. However, the most likely time for this disease to occur is the damp autumn months as sunshine usually is in short supply.
There are several proprietary fungicides which will control Fusarium Patch but advice should be sought to establish the best one for the particular month of the year. Mascot Fusion can be used at most times but good results are achieved with Mascot Eland when mowing is less frequent. These products may be applied using a knapsack sprayer but larger tractor mounted equipment can be used if the affected area is large. In all cases it is important to be sure that the correct nozzle is fitted to any equipment used so that the correct droplet size and volume applied is achieved.
How Do I Try To Prevent It Occurring In The Future?
The environment of the site and cultural practices are very influential on the occurrence of Fusarium Patch . As previously indicated the damp autumn period is the most likely period for significant activity of the disease.
Whenever possible remove dew from the turf and do not allow leaves to lie on the surface. Ensure adequate light reaches the turf as low light is favourable for fungal disease to prosper. Control the amount of organic matter building up at the surface as this will retain moisture which is unhelpful. Moisture in the rootzone is essential but at the surface it will cause problems. These actions will also help to reduce the amount of moss that sometimes occurs through winter.
Organic matter can be removed mechanically with a scarifying machine. Hollow coring will also remove a percentage as well as improving surface drainage. If hollow coring is carried out, after the cores have been removed, top dress the turf with a mixture of 80% sand : 20% soil at the rate of approximately 2 kilos per square metre.
Fusarium Patch is in a juvenile state for approximately 48 hours. During this period it is much easier to control, after this time it is mature and more resistant to fungicide. In locations where problems occur every year a preventative application of fungicide should be considered.