Fairy Ring Facts

Evaluation Of Fungicides, Wetting Agents And Microbial Based Products For Control Of Fairy Ring And Localized Dry Spot Caused By Bovista Plumbea And Agrocybe Pediades

Research completed by Wendy Gelernter, Ph.D. and Larry J. Stowell, Ph. D. through PACE Consulting

Recently, Nature Safe worked with Plant Health Care on a study to evaluate different products on fairy ring control and dry spot. The research was performed at Dove Canyon Country Club in California. The following is the research summary along with the results concerning Nature Safe.

Summary: A study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of fungicides, wetting agents and biological control products, when applied curatively, for the management of fairy ring and localized dry spot. Results included symptoms of fairy ring that were observed during this trial included localized dry spot and the presence of puffballs (Bovista plumbea) and mushrooms (Agrocybe pediades). The presence of mushrooms or puffballs tended to occur in those plots where symptoms of localized dry spot were the most severe.

The best performing products included Heritage plus Primer (with or without post-application irrigation), ProStar plus Primer, Nature Safe and Nature Safe plus Compete. These products all provided control that was commercially acceptable.

These findings demonstrate that nitrogen fertilization (in the form of the organic fertilizerNature Safe) is an important tool in alleviating the symptoms of fairy ring.

Materials and Methods: The research plots were located on bentgrass tees at Dove Canyon Country Club, Dove Canyon, CA. This location was selected based on consistent infestation with fairy ring fungi, including Bovista and Agrocybe. Plots measuring 5 feet by 10 feet were replicated three times in a randomized design. Nature Safe 8-3-5 was applied using a Gandy drop spreader, forming a 33-inch swath. Calibration to deliver 1 lb. of N/A (12.5 lbs. of product) resulted in a Gandy setting of 43. The accuracy of calibration was confirmed to be within 5% of the desired rate.

Treatments: Application dates and treatments tested were initiated on 6/8/98 (when symptoms first appeared). Nature Safe was applied on 6/8, 7/8 and 8/3. The combination of Nature Safe and Plant Health Care's Compete had Nature Safe applied on 6/8, 7/8 and 8/3 and Compete applied every two weeks starting on 6/8.

Evaluations were made every two weeks from 6/8-9/9. Percent of dry spot damage was calculated visually, while in the case of Agrocybe and Bovista, fruiting bodies were counted.

Results: Mean % Dry Spot Damage

(4 dates)Mean # Bovista Puffballs

(2 dates)Nature Safe3.30.4Nature Safe + Compete2.82.0 Control Plot9.61.4

The organic nitrogen fertilizer, Nature Safe (applied either by itself or in combination with Compete, a microbial based rhizosphere inoculant), resulted in high quality turf that had significantly reduced dry spot symptoms, as compared to the non-treated check. The data indicated that Nature Safe, and possibly other nitrogen fertilizers can be used to mask the symptoms of fairy ring/LDS by promoting the growth of healthy turf. Alternatively, it is possible that the organic fertilizer stimulated the growth of beneficial microorganisms that helped reduce pathogenic microbe populations responsible for fairy ring/dry spot symptoms.

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