Kickstart your turf’s health: Spring clean up and early-season fungicide strategies

By Lisa Beirn, Ph.D., technical services manager for Syngenta

As winter transitions to spring, you have an excellent opportunity to ensure a successful start to the 2024 season. A strategically planned fungicide program will not only help clean up any lingering winter diseases, but also serves as an excellent preventive approach to spring diseases.

By applying the proper product at the right time, you can start spring clean up and precondition your course to reduce the severity of several diseases, including anthracnose and brown ring patch.

In areas with persistent snow cover, evidence of gray snow mold (Typhula incarnata) can be apparent as the snow melts: 

  • Gray snow mold symptoms can appear as a light brown, gray or bleached patches ranging from a few inches up to 2 ft. in diameter. Leaves will appear matted. Curative fungicide applications usually aren’t needed. Instead, rake or otherwise break up matted tissues and lightly fertilize in early spring to encourage new growth.
  • Microdochium patch, on the other hand, can occur any time from late fall to early spring whenever conditions are overcast, cold and wet, and at snow melt. A curative fungicide application, such as Posterity® XT fungicide at 1.5-2.25 fl. oz. (with its Section 2(ee) label) or Tuque™ exoGEM™ fungicide at 1.5-2.87 fl. oz., is warranted in severely blighted stands.

Percentage of microdochium patch in Poa annua greens

​​​​​​​Source: Oregon State University, 2022. Applied on 28-day intervals on Jan. 12, Feb. 9, March 9 and April 6.

Diseases such as yellow patch (Rhizoctonia cerealis) and brown ring patch (Waitea circinata) typically show up in the spring as temperatures begin to warm:

  • Yellow patch occurs in the spring during periods of extended overcast, rainy weather and when temperatures are between 50-65 F. As a disease that impacts annual bluegrass and creeping bentgrass greens, collars and fairways, it is most severe when the thatch is cold and wet for long periods.
  • Brown ring patch is a disease of annual bluegrass greens that is promoted by temperature ranges of 60-75 F, including overcast and rainy periods.
  • Anthracnose (Colletotrichum cereale) can occur in conditions that range from cold and wet to hot and dry. This is a stress-related disease, primarily on annual bluegrass greens and collars. Weather conditions and cultural practices that enhance plant stress will make the plant more susceptible to infection. It has been demonstrated that seedhead suppression can exacerbate the disease; therefore, it is recommended to begin fungicides at the time of seedhead control.
  • Leaf spots are also commonly seen in the spring when cool, wet and overcast conditions persist.
  • The timing of clean up applications coincides with the first fairy ring applications in many regions of the country.

Click the link of each disease above for more information including management tips, identification photos and how to mitigate disease pressure. For additional diseases, visit our full disease ID guide.

Posterity XT, Ascernity®, Tuque exoGEM, Briskway® and Daconil® Action™ fungicides are excellent choices in the spring for the diseases listed above. Each contains multiple active ingredients that provide broad-spectrum disease control.

Posterity XT is a reliable tool for early-season applications. It contains the active ingredient included in Posterity (pydiflumetofen), Heritage® brand products (azoxystrobin) and Banner Maxx® II (propiconazole) fungicides and formulated in a concentration optimized for extended control of more than 25 diseases. It provides turfgrass protection from important spring diseases, such as anthracnose, brown ring patch and Microdochium patch.

Ascernity is another excellent product for early-season applications. It contains the active ingredients in SOLATENOL® technology and difenoconazole (an SDHI and DMI combination). This fungicide is an excellent greens option for controlling brown ring patch and anthracnose. It contains one of only two SDHI fungicides that control anthracnose while partnering with a cooling DMI.

Posterity XT and Ascernity are available in a convenient Multipak for 11% savings.

Tuque exoGEM fungicide, the latest offering from Syngenta, delivers powerful control against anthracnose, gray leaf spot, brown ring patch and more. This unique combination of SOLATENOL® technology (FRAC group 7) and fludioxonil (FRAC group 12) provides two modes of action to mitigate the development of fungicide resistance. The first product developed with the advanced exoGEM formulation, Tuque exoGEM has been engineered to deliver greater uptake, distribution, rainfastness and retention to quickly protect turf.

Briskway has an updated expanded rate range on its label. Featuring a combination of a DMI (difenoconazole) and QoI (azoxystrobin), this fungicide makes it an excellent option to start your season.

For more information about spring clean up, contact your local Syngenta territory manager.

​​​​​​​© 2024 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties and/or may have state-specific use requirements. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration and proper use. Action™, Ascernity®, Banner Maxx®, Briskway®, Daconil®, exoGEM™, GreenCast®, Heritage®, Posterity®, SOLATENOL®, Tuque™ and the Syngenta logo are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. All other trademarks are property of their respective third-party owners.

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