Melting-out: Spring time disease on lawns

Helminthosporium melting-out (pathogen Drechslera poae) is currently active on Kentucky bluegrass turf throughout the Midwest.  This disease initially appears as small leaf spots.  The leaf spots have a bleached out center with a purplish border. Overall symptoms appear as a reddish tint to the turf with gradual thinning occurring.   The optimum conditions for melting-out are cloudy humid/rainy days when temperatures range from 65 to 75 F.  The most effective means of managing this disease is through the use of resistant Kentucky bluegrass cultivars.  Cultural practices for minimizing the disease include having adequate, note excessive, levels of nitrogen and reducing the amount of thatch.  If thinning or significant loss of the turf occurs, fungicide treatments would be appropriate.

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