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Winter Patch Diseases Now Flocking!

January 30, 2013
by Lee Butler

A pinkish flock of Microdochium Mycelium as seen on turfgrass
Pinkish Flock of Microdochium Mycelium
A Microdochium patch compared to a tube of chapstick; the chapstick is about two thirds the radius of the patch
Microdochium Patch
A dog standing in a field affected by Microdochium patches
Microdochium Patch
A field of creeping bentgrass affected by yellow patch
Yellow Patch on Creeping Bentgrass
A view of ryegrass affected by yellow patch
Yellow Patch on Ryegrass

Recent weather patterns, as weird as they may be, have been favorable for two common winter time diseases to start showing up across portions of North Carolina. They are Microdochium patch (a.k.a. pink snow mold) and yellow patch (cool weather brown patch).

As most of you know, Microdochium patch doesn't require snow cover and isn't necessarily pink in color, although if you look at the picture below, you can see that the mycelium does indeed have a pinkish tone. Infection areas may start out as small as 2" in diameter and expand up to 12" over time. The leading edge of the patch may have a reddish brown or salmon color and the leaves in the middle will be collapsed and matted upon themselves. Also, this fungus is a heavy spore producer, so the damage may appear as if it has been spread or smeared by mowers, equipment, water, etc.

Read more information about Microdochium patch, including control recommendations, here.

Yellow patch is a very common disease of cool season turfgrasses this time of year and typically causes irregular patches up to 3 feet in diameter that are yellow in color. On creeping bentgrass putting greens and other lower cut turfgrasses, it reminds me of sweat rings in an old ball cap.

Read more information about yellow patch, including control recommendations, here.