A cold start to Spring has been followed by above normal temperatures for much of the region. Much of April has been a complete wash for managing warm season grasses in the south and cool-season grasses to the north. It wasn’t uncommon to hear reports of blowing off snow just to be able to punch holes. Glancing at the Spring Leaf Index, it appears much of the northern two-thirds of the state was about 15–20 days behind schedule by April 30.
The first week of May led off with near record warmth in the northern portions of the state. The warmth can serve as a fresh reminder how quickly things can catch up. Most courses (away from the lake) have definitely turned the corner towards greener pastures. One limited factor was precipitation earlier in the week. Dry conditions led many to charge up the irrigation system and begin hand watering in a few hot spots.
The rise in air temperatures have led to the first big spike in soil temperatures. Soil temperatures at the 4-inch depth have sprinted past 50 degrees and top out at about 60 in the past week. As a result, nature has responded by unleashing the stench of the bradford pear bloom.
It has been a busy few days at the CDGA. The rise in soil temps has made us dust off the sprayers and begin our take-all patch trials in Chicagoland.
Take-all patch applications tend to begin in the spring has soil temps climb above 50 degrees. A friendly reminder that the infection court is located in the roots and applications should be immediately watered in.
Next, we headed up to Wausau, WI, to check out a snow mold field day. At this particular research site, snow mold pressure was moderate. Dr. Koch not only presented on research results at this location, but also touched on his research findings in more northern locations.
A main take-home message from this year, is that more active ingredients are needed as disease pressure increases. Some formulated products now contain 3 to 4 active ingredients. That is important as some more northerly locations experienced close to 180 days of continuous snow cover.
We finished off the week in Effingham, IL, and made the first spring application for large patch. The causal agent of large patch is a very close relative to the pathogen that incites brown patch disease. We we happy to see that our inoculation made last September was finally producing visual symptoms in the non-treated control plots.
This week there were only a few pest reports. However, as I type this, I can imagine that all the rain in the past few days in northern IL will likely stir things up a bit.