Jeff Gregos, former Research Assistant, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin–Madison 53706;
M. D. Casler, United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, Madison, WI 53706-1108; and
J. C. Stier, Professor, Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) is the primary species used on golf courses in temperate regions but requires prophylactic fungicide treatment to prevent snow mold diseases. We hypothesized that fine fescues (Festuca spp.) and colonial bentgrass (A. capillaris) have superior resistance to snow mold diseases compared with creeping bentgrass. Our objective was to compare the resistance of fine fescues, colonial bentgrass, and creeping bentgrass to snow mold diseases caused by Microdochium nivale and Typhula spp. Field plots were established in two separate years on fairways of three golf courses in Wisconsin to encompass the geographic distribution of snow mold pathogens. The experimental design was a split-split-split plot arrangement with three replications. Whole plots were pathogen species, host genus were subplots, host cultivars were sub-subplots, and inoculated versus noninoculated treatments were sub-sub-subplots. Plots were visually evaluated each spring for disease, turf quality, and Poa annua infestation. Data were analyzed using planned contrasts. Inoculation effects depended on pathogen type and location. Creeping bentgrass always had the most snow mold damage. Fine fescues had less snow mold damage than colonial bentgrass except for one year–location but did not provide acceptable year-long turf quality due to P. annua invasion.