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Cream Leaf What?

January 22, 2014
by Lee Butler

Typical white patch symptom observed on ultradwarfs in December/January in North Carolina
Typical white patch symptom observed on ultradwarfs in December/January in North Carolina
Close up of cream leaf blight hyphae twisting into a "rope" (200x)
Close up of cream leaf blight hyphae twisting into a "rope" (200x)
Mycelium twisting into "ropes" for both cream leaf blight and pink patch (25x)
Mycelium twisting into "ropes" for both cream leaf blight and pink patch (25x)

Cream leaf what? That's the exact response I've heard from superintendents over the past several weeks when I tell them their ultradwarf bermuda putting greens have a disease known as cream leaf blight. To answer your first question, cream leaf blight is not a new pathogen to turfgrass. It has been documented on creeping bentgrass and tall fescue. As more ultradwarf bermudagrass replaces creeping bentgrass for putting surfaces here in North Carolina, we will likely observe more new diseases. This disease has been diagnosed on both 'Champion' and 'Mini Verde' and we are in the process of complete confirmation of the causal fungus via DNA analysis.

Cream leaf blight is caused by the same pathogen that causes pink patch, Limonomyces roseipellis. Pink patch is often found in close association with red thread, which is caused by the fungus Laetisaria fuciformis. Pink patch and cream leaf blight vary slightly in their morphological features, which we are able to detect under the microscope. For those of you who are plant pathology geeks, pink patch produces clamp connections and cream leaf blight does not. Otherwise, from what we've observed, the two appear identical in the field and we will most likely refer to it as cream leaf blight since that seems to match the stand symptoms the best. One unique characteristic is the mycelium will twist into "rope" like structures, as seen below.

While we don't know much about cream leaf blight on bermudagrass yet, we have only observed cosmetic damage and nothing that leads to turf loss or significant reduction in playability. We have been recommending fungicide applications of products like 26GT, ProStar, Heritage, Insignia, or Disarm since they have been proven performers with pink patch/red thread complexes.

If you are observing this type of symptom at your course and have questions, feel free to contact us!

Original article: ncstateturfpathology.blogspot.com/2014/01/cream-leaf-what.html