It’s that time of year again, when growth speeds up, temperatures rise, and we start to get consistent and persistent thunderstorms with humidity. The main summer event is here: peak turfgrass disease season.

Effective disease control on stubborn diseases always begins with an accurate diagnosis of the sample. For this reason, it’s a good idea to send a sample out to one of the outstanding pathology labs in your local area. 

Most of the major universities offer testing, but make sure you’re utilizing at least two different labs. Since hours and staffing at some university labs vary, you never know when your favorite pathologist will be out of the office or on summer break. 

It’s typically best to use one university and one private pathologist. For the private pathologist, I recommend Turf Diagnostics, Inc. in Ossining, New York. Jennifer McMorrow offers quick turnaround times and email diagnoses to use for your customers or your golf committee. 

Once you have the proper diagnosis, you can lay out an effective spray schedule. You’ll want to consider many factors: severity of disease, mode of action of the fungicide, classification, and budget. 

With so many fungicides on the market, how do you properly choose? Mobile apps and websites are a great way to help with the proper fungicide choice. The University of Wisconsin Turf Pests website allows you to search by disease(s) and find product ratings on a scale of 1–4, with 4 being the most effective. It also offers application rates and intervals. 

The website doesn’t offer costs, and that’s where your Advanced Turf Solutions rep can help. Your ATS rep can provide effective cost-per-acre rates and local knowledge of what else they’re seeing in the area. 

Arming yourself with the proper labs, go-to websites, apps, and consultants will go a long way in making an educated choice during peak turfgrass disease season.