Monday, January 11, 2010

Disease Profile: Pink Snow Mold

Pink snow mold is one of the most obvious diseases to diagnose out on the course. There really isn't any other disease that I would confuse with the colorful ring that this disease produces. Besides the typical signs and symptoms that aid in identification, the timing is also a pretty good clue since pink snow mold only occurs during conditions that would not support most other diseases.

The name may be confusing because snow is an extremely rare occurrence in Stockton, CA. Snow cover is not required for the formation of pink snow mold, but is necessary for its cousin, gray snow mold. All we need for pink snow mold is temperatures between 30-60 degrees F and extended periods of leaf wetness.

As you can see from this image, or if you've played recently, you know that leaf wetness is constant in California's central valley fog. Day after day, we just don't dry out and pink snow mold is right at home. This photo was taken on #13 fairway beneath the shade pattern of a redwood at 12:00 pm.

The greens will normally dry out every day after mowing or rolling and this helps to keep the disease under control. We also treat the greens with fungicide prior to the onset of conditions conducive to snow mold. Fairways, however, are not treated with fungicide because of cost, and the only damage will be on this winter's poa annua, so little is lost. The other practice we employ to manage pink snow mold is removing urea fertilizer from our maintenance program. We fertilize very little this time of year, but when we do, we use calcium nitrate and potassium nitrate as our sources for nitrogen. The last two years, this has helped reduce the amount of snow mold on our greens.

This year, pink snow mold has been pretty scarce. I've seen a few spots on fairways here and there and 9 tee had a small outbreak. The entire crew is trained in disease identification and they're quick to report any problems they see during their daily travels.

The best cure for a little snow mold is temperatures in the 70's or higher, and I for one, cannot wait to see the sun.


Anonymous said...

Nice pic Jimbo...nice blog too dude!!

Jim H.