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Michael Fidanza, Derek Settle and Henry Wetzel

The term “fairy ring” typically refers to the visual appearance of mushrooms emerged in a circular pattern in a grass lawn, pasture, or meadow. Fairy ring symptoms in turfgrass stands are categorized as Type I (wilted, necrotic turf), Type II (dark green, stimulated turf), and Type III (basidiocarps present). A visual rating system was devised to assist researchers and practitioners with a numerical method to quantify the degree of severity of fairy ring symptoms at a turf site. Therefore, the Fairy Ring Severity Index is based on a 1 to 9 scale, where 1 indicates no fairy ring symptoms present, 2 through 5 indicates the low to high range for Type II symptoms, and 6 through 9 indicates the low to high range for Type I symptoms. For Type III symptoms, the number of mushrooms, toadstools, or puffballs present could be counted if that information is needed or helpful. In experimental research plots, the Fairy Ring Severity Index is a better method for evaluating and comparing fairy ring symptoms vs. using a percent plot area affected estimate.

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Michael A. Fidanza and Peter H. Dernoeden

Rhizoctonia blight (RB), incited by Rhizoctonia solani Kühn, is a common disease of cool-season turfgrasses. This 2-year field study was conducted to determine the influence of N source, N application timing, and fungicide treatment on RB severity in `Caravelle' perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). Ringer Lawn Restore (Ringer), a slow-release N source, was compared to water-soluble urea. Nitrogen was applied according to either a spring (March, May, June, and September) or fall (September, October, November, and May) schedule. Plots received either N only or N plus the fungicide iprodione (3.1 kg a.i./ha applied at 21-day intervals). RB was reduced with fall-applied Ringer compared to spring-applied urea in both years in fungicide-free plots. Nitrogen generally enhanced foliar mycelium growth and RB during the initial infection periods (i.e., late June to late July). By mid- to late August there were extremely high levels of blighting among all fungicide-free treatments. Nitrogen source and N application time had no effect on the level of blighting in iprodione-treated plots. During early disease outbreaks, iprodione did not always prevent foliar mycelium from appearing, but it did protect turf from severe RB. Iprodione reduced blighting, but the level of disease suppression and resulting turfgrass quality provided on the extended spray interval was not acceptable for high-quality golf course fairways. Chemical name used: 3-(3,5-dichlorophenyl)-N-(1-methylethyl)-2,4-dioxo-1-imidazolidine carboxamide (iprodione).

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Michael A. Fidanza and Peter H. Dernoeden

A field investigation was conducted during 1991 and 1992 to determine the effectiveness of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to predict brown patch (Rhizoctonia solani Kühn) infection events in `Caravelle' perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). Turfgrass samples were collected either between 7:00 and 8:00 am or 4:00 and 5:00 pm, and from plots mowed to a height of either 1.7 or 4.5 cm. Pathogen detection levels were generally higher in am-sampled turf and in plots mowed to a height of 4.5 cm. During 2 years, only 7 of 15 infection events were predicted from samples collected from high-cut turf and only three from samples collected from low-cut turf. While this technology is useful for confirming the presence of R. solani, it was unreliable for predicting infection events.

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Michael A. Fidanza, David L. Sanford, David M. Beyer and David J. Aurentz

Fresh mushroom compost is a byproduct of the edible mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) industry and represents the composted growing substrate that remains after a crop has been harvested to completion. Thirty samples were obtained from commercial mushroom farms in southeastern Pennsylvania and sent to a laboratory for analysis to determine plant nutrient content, bulk density, and particle size distribution of fresh mushroom compost. Fresh mushroom compost had an average pH of 6.6, with an average carbon:nitrogen ratio of 13:1. Organic matter content averaged 25.86% (wet weight), 146.73 lb/yard3 (wet volume) or 60.97% (dry weight). For the primary macronutrients, average total nitrogen content averaged 1.12% (wet weight), 6.40 lb/yard3 (wet volume) or 2.65% (dry weight), phosphorus measured 0.29% (wet weight), 1.67 lb/yard3 (wet volume) or 0.69% (dry weight), and potassium was 1.04% (wet weight), 5.89 lb/yard3 (wet volume) or 2.44% (dry weight). Average soluble salt content was 13.30 mmho/cm (wet weight basis). However, on a per acre basis, the calculated sodium absorption ratio of 0.38 was considered very low. The average bulk density of fresh mushroom compost was 574.73 lb/yard3 (wet volume basis), and 91% of the material measured ≤3/8 inch in diameter as determined on a wet weight basis. Overall, fresh mushroom compost is suitable as a natural organic fertilizer and soil amendment for agriculture and horticulture.

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Peter J. Landschoot, Bradley S. Park, Andrew S. McNitt and Michael A. Fidanza

Fumigation of annual bluegrass (Poa annua L.)-infested putting greens before seeding creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) prevents stand contamination due to annual bluegrass seedling emergence. Dazomet is a soil fumigant labeled for use in putting green renovation; however, limited data are available on efficacy of dazomet controlling annual bluegrass seedling emergence following surface-applications. The objectives of this study were to determine the influence of rate and plastic covering of surface-applied dazomet on annual bluegrass seedling emergence in putting green turf; and safe creeping bentgrass seeding intervals following applications of dazomet to putting green surfaces. Treatments were applied in late summer to the surface of a 20-year-old stand of turf maintained as a putting green and plots were watered immediately after application and throughout each test period. Plastic-covered dazomet treatments had fewer annual bluegrass seedlings than noncovered dazomet treatments. Three plastic-covered dazomet treatments (291, 340, and 388 kg·ha-1) provided complete control of annual bluegrass seedlings during 2000 and 2001. None of the noncovered dazomet treatments provided complete control of annual bluegrass seedling emergence. Results of the seeding interval experiment revealed that creeping bentgrass seedling development was not inhibited in both plastic-covered and noncovered dazomet treatments, when seeded 8, 10, 13, and 16 d after dazomet was applied to the turf surface. Results of this study demonstrate that dazomet, applied at rates ≥291 kg·ha-1 to the surface of a putting green in summer and covered with plastic for 7 d, can control annual bluegrass seedling emergence. Chemical name used: tetrahydro-3,5-dimethyl-2H-1,3,5-thiadiazine-2-thione (dazomet).

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Matthew D. Madsen, Michael A. Fidanza, Nicholas S. Barney, Stanley J. Kostka, Turmandakh Badrakh and Mica F. McMillan

Rapid seed germination and vigorous seedling growth are desired when establishing turfgrass lawns from seed. Low-dose concentrations of nonionic, block copolymer surfactants can have a direct effect on plant physiological functions and growth. The objectives were to determine if a low-dose application of a nonionic alkyl ended block copolymer surfactant applied directly to the seed, within a film coating, would 1) influence speed, synchrony, and final germination percentage (FGP), and 2) enhance seedling emergence and the speed of turfgrass establishment under deficit irrigation. Tests were performed with tall fescue (Schedonorus arundinaceus) and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne). Surfactant was applied directly to the seed using a rotary seedcoater at 0.1% by weight of seed. In the first experiment, germination was compared between seeds with a surfactant film coating (SFC) and untreated seeds in growth chambers at three different constant temperatures (10, 20, and 30 °C). For both species, the SFC decreased the time for seed germination, and improved germination synchrony, with the greatest treatment response at 10 and 30 °C compared with untreated seed. Application of a SFC did not influence FGP. In the second experiment, untreated and treated seed were compared in a grow-room study, with pots watered weekly to 70% of field capacity (FC). Perennial ryegrass density, cover, and aboveground biomass from the SFC were ≈47%, 48%, and 46% greater than untreated seed, respectively. Tall fescue density, cover, and aboveground biomass from the SFC seeds were ≈22%, 23%, and 28% greater than untreated seed, respectively. Overall these studies demonstrate that SFC can promote seed germination and also enhance turfgrass establishment under deficit irrigation.