Paul L. Koch and
Craig R. Grau, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706;
Young-Ki Jo, Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843; and
Geunhwa Jung, Department of Plant, Soil, and Insect Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst 01003
Management of dollar spot, caused by the fungus Sclerotinia homoeocarpa, is dependent upon repeated fungicide applications in intensively managed turfgrass such as golf course putting greens and fairways. Repeated fungicide applications could potentially select for fungicide-resistant isolates and result in a reduction of disease control. The objectives of this study were to determine the degree of S. homoeocarpa in vitro sensitivity to the fungicides thiophanate-methyl and propiconazole using isolates collected from golf course putting greens, fairways, and roughs; and to determine the relationships of golf course age and fungicide history to the frequency of fungicide-insensitive isolates within the population. More than 1,400 S. homoeocarpa isolates were collected from putting greens, fairways, and roughs at six Wisconsin golf courses and one Massachusetts golf course and subjected to in vitro fungicide sensitivity assays with single discriminatory concentrations of thiophanate-methyl and propiconazole. Five of seven pathogen populations from rough areas were not significantly different from one another in propiconazole sensitivity. These populations were collectively the most sensitive to both fungicides and therefore, served as baseline populations for comparison with fungicide-exposed populations from putting greens and fairways. Greater propiconazole insensitivity was observed in populations collected from fairways and putting greens that received more frequent applications of the fungicide than those isolated from the roughs. In nearly all the golf courses, the frequency of thiophanate-methyl insensitivity was higher among isolates of S. homoeocarpa collected from fairways than from roughs regardless of the age of the golf course or history of benzimidazole use. Thus, while the development of resistance to propiconazole can be predicted in part by the relative frequency of demethylation inhibitor fungicide applications, the occurrence of populations resistant to thiophanate-methyl appears to be unrelated to recent use of the benzimidazole class of fungicides.