S. Kammerer and
P. F. Harmon, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Florida, Gainesville;
S. McDonald, Turfgrass Disease Solutions, LLC, Spring City, PA; and
B. Horvath, Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia Beach
Brown ring patch was first described as a disease of cool-season turfgrass on creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris) (4) in Japan and later reported in California on annual bluegrass (Poa annua) (2). Brown ring patch symptoms were observed beginning in December 2007 through spring 2008 on 6 of 18 putting greens on a golf course in Reston, VA. Symptoms included yellow rings and patches of blighted turfgrass on the mixed stands of creeping bentgrass (A. palustris) and primarily annual bluegrass (Poa annua). Chlorosis and blight occurred predominantly on P. annua. A turfgrass sample was received from a consultant in April 2008, and disease severity on affected greens was estimated to be 40%. After incubating for 2 days in a moist chamber, Rhizoctonia-like aerial mycelia were observed. The pathogen was isolated on water agar and potato dextrose agar amended with thiophanate-methyl (100 mg/L), rifampicin (100 mg/L), and ampicillin (500 mg/L) from P. annua plants that had been surface sterilized with 70% ethanol for 15 s. Colony and sclerotia morphology were consistent with Waitea circinata var. circinata as previously described (2,4). Hyphae were stained with aniline blue and multiple nuclei were observed per cell. The teleomorph was not observed on plant material or in culture. Amplified fragments of rDNA including internal transcribed spacers from the isolate were amplified in three bacterial clones and sequenced bidirectionally (GenBank Accession Nos. FJ154894, FJ154895, and FJ154896) using primers ITS1/ITS4 (2,4). The consensus sequences matched, with 99% homology and 99% sequence overlap, isolate TRGC1.1 of W. circinata var. circinata (GenBank Accession No. DQ900586) (2). Annual bluegrass was not available for use in performing Koch's postulates, but previous studies have shown that W. circinata var. circinata is pathogenic to roughstalk bluegrass (P. trivialis) (1,3). Pots of P. trivialis cv. Cypress that were 1 week postemergence were inoculated with seven wheat grains that had been autoclaved and then infested with the isolate. Plants were incubated at 25°C in a sealed plastic bag with a moist paper towel on the bottom. Hyphae grew from the grains and colonized the grass. Individual plants began to turn chlorotic within 3 days, and more than 80% of the turf in pots was dead after 1 week. Control pots were inoculated with autoclaved wheat seed and showed no disease symptoms after 1 week. Inoculations were repeated twice more with the same results. W. circinata var. circinata was reisolated from affected plants in all replications of the test. To our knowledge, this is the first report of brown ring patch in Virginia. Additional research is needed to assess the prevalence and importance of this disease on golf course putting greens in Virginia.
References: (1) C. M. Chen et al. Plant Dis. 91:1687, 2007. (2) K. A. de la Cerda et al. Plant Dis. 91:791, 2007. (3) N. Flor et al. Plant Dis. 92:1586, 2008. (4) T. Toda et al. Plant Dis. 89:536, 2005.