PACE Turf - Turfgrass Information Center

Progress in Understanding Rapid Blight of Cool Season Turf

Bottom line: Since 1995, when it was discovered in PACE’s laboratory to be a new pathogen of cool season turf, the identity of the disease that came to be known as rapid blight was hard to pin down, with some experts identifying it as a primitive chytridiomycete fungus and others as a protozoan. Success was finally achieved in March, 2003, when the laboratories of Dr. Mary Olsen and Dr. Robert Gilbertson confirmed that rapid blight is caused by an obscure microorganism that has features of both fungi and protozoans and is known as Labyrinthula. Until the discovery of its role in turf disease, Labyrinthula had been most frequently found infecting plants in marine environment such as seagrass, diatoms and algae. Further progress has been made in work by Drs. Bruce Martin, Mary Olsen and Dave Kopec in determing which turfgrass species are susceptible or tolerant to rapid blight infection. Additional field research has confirmed the activity of mancozeb (Fore, Protect) – either alone or in combination with trifloxystrobin (Compass) or pyraclostrobin (Insignia) for preventive control of this disease.

Printable version of full report PACE Insights 2003 Vol. 9 No. 3

by Larry J. Stowell, Ph.D. and Wendy Gelernter, Ph.D.

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