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published by the Guelph Turfgrass Institute
Note: The GTI Advisor is a great publication to have emailed to your office. The Turf Line News has printed only portions of The GTI Advisor over the past year. There are many helpful ideas and information that are applicable to Western Canada.
TLN Editor

Rob Witherspoon, GTI Director (519) 824-4120 ext. 6886 E-mail:

We have made it to the last issue of 1999. As promised in previous issues, I will refrain from using the M-word that has become so prevalent at the end of the century. In this issue we have an assortment of our regular contributors along with extensive long range weather forecast links from Environment Canada, OTS information and more.

We are moving forward with our plans to develop a sponsorship program for The GTI Advisor in 2000. Enhancements that are being developed include free e-mail subscription and a website dedicated to providing supplementary materials supporting articles (photos, additional links, etc.). Hardcopy subscriptions are still fairly costly as they require printing, labelling and postage. We are examining ways that individual sponsor companies can distribute print copies of The GTI Advisor to customers. Our ultimate goal is to make the information resources of the Guelph Turfgrass Instiutute available to every professional turf manager in Ontario through The GTI Advisor and associated web resources. If you have any suggestions or you are interested in sponsoring the publication, please contact me.

The support of our regular subscribers over the past four years has given us the opportunity to develop The GTI Advisor into a valuable information resource for turf professionals. I trust that the changes to The GTI Advisor will further increase its value to you. See you at the OTS in January.

Anne Marie Van Nest

Avoiding Overwintering Worries - High Rewards for Good Sanitation

Clean up serious disease outbreaks on your landscape plants this fall and many IPM worries will vanish next year. Many diseases have the potential to overwinter on decaying plant stems, foliage or even seed coats. Fallen, infected leaves from your perennials could be the cause of powdery mildew, rust and black spot fungus diseases returning the following season. These diseases can survive the winter and re-infect plants next year if the spores and decaying foliage are not cleaned up. Roses susceptible to powdery mildew and black spot attack should have all their foliage collected and removed. This is easy to do when roses are cut down to knee height and hilled-up for the winter. Watch that there are no infected leaves inside the hilled up soil.

Powdery mildew could also be a serious overwintering problem for some cultivars of monarda (beebalm) and lilac. Powdery mildew is usually found on the upper surface of leaves or on new growth and looks like a dusting of white powder. Downy mildew that attacks bachelor's buttons, forget-me-not, salvia and poppies can also overwinter on decaying vegetation. Downy mildew can be found on the underside of the foliage and can be white or blue-gray in colour. Rust can cause significant, unsightly damage to balloon flowers, hollyhocks, snapdragons and lilies. It will overwinter in fallen leaves from these infected plants. Rust is usually on the underside of leaves and is an orange colour. A thorough clean up is essential to break the cycle and reduce re-infection.

Gray mould or botrytis is a disease that attacks many herbaceous plants and shows a variety of different symptoms. New growth or flower buds may be engulfed in gray mould or portions of the plant may just rot. Leaves affected with botrytis may have yellow or red-brown spots on them. Eventually the spots enlarge and the entire leaf may die. One of the clues to identifying this disease is the fact that it is most prevalent during wet weather in the spring. Once again, remove and destroy all infected leaves, stems or flowers.

The fungus disease called tar spot has not been as prevalent here in Niagara this year as it was last year. This might be partly the result of a sanitation awareness campaign publicized last fall. Some Norway maple trees just have a few quarter-sized, black, tar-like spots on their leaves this year. Even though the disease is reduced, clean up these leaves as they drop and make sure that the leaves will be composted away from the trees.

Herbaceous peonies and tall bearded iris that have been troubled with leaf blotch and leaf spot should be pruned down to the ground this fall and the foliage removed. Any disease-laden plant parts should be removed from the site. It is advisable to remove diseased material from the site because the composting process may not kill 100% of the disease spores.

Remove Perennial Weeds

Unwanted plants (weeds) that are perennials are progressively more difficult to remove the longer they have to grow. Dig them out now! This includes the nasty and persistent dandelions, dock, bindweed, thistles, quack grass, and creeping Charlie. Another group of weeds that also should be removed are the winter annuals. These weeds germinated this fall and will survive the winter. They are still classed as annuals because they only live one year. Shepherd's purse, pennycress, pepper-grass, false flax, rough cinquefoil, black medick, and some of the fleabanes are in this winter annual group.

Anne Marie Van Nest is an instructor at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture and also a regular writer for the GTI publication(905) 356-8554 ext. 253 E-mail:

Courtesy of John Deere Turf

A. We add windshield wiper fluid to our ball washers to keep them operating effectively in cold weather. We start adding this when temperatures begin to cool in the fall and use it throughout the winter, while the course is still in play, and into the early spring. We had used antifreeze for this purpose in the past, but neither we nor our golfers liked the sticky residue it left on the balls. We've found the windshield wiper fluid to be just as effective as the antifreeze in keeping the water from freezing, and it leaves no sticky residue. There's also a positive environmental benefit. Many standard antifreeze products are toxic to small animals if ingested by them, yet the taste of the antifreeze is highly attractive to them. So we've eliminated the possibility of antifreeze spills around the ball washers that might have attracted - and been detrimental to - the wildlife that shares our course.
Anthony Girardi, Golf Course Superintendent, Rockrimmon Country Club, Stamford, Connecticut

B. As part of our environmentally-friendly approach to golf course management, we've added bird houses in many areas of our golf course and we've taken an additional step that has proven very popular with our golfers.

Wherever possible, we position a bird house near the tees and any other areas where people may be waiting a bit. The activity of the birds throughout the nest building, nesting and fledgling periods gives our golfers something interesting to watch and to discuss as they're waiting. It also tends to make that waiting time seem shorter. Many of our regular golfers look forward to each stage of the birds' nesting cycle and speculate about such things as how many babies each nest box holds and when the young birds will be ready to fly.

Because our golfers have seen what we're doing for the environment with the bird house program, they've also become more aware and supportive of our efforts in other environmental areas.

Ronnie Bunting, Course Manager of The Kilmacolm Golf Club, Renfrewshire, Scotland

The GTI Advisor is published by the Guelph Turfgrass Institute, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario Canada N1G 2W1
Telephone (519) 767-5009 Fax (519) 766-1704
Editor: Rob Witherspoon
© 1999, Guelph Turfgrass Institute

Season subscriptions available at a rate of $25 + GST by e-mail, $45 +GST by Regular mail or $85 +GST for delivery by fax.

Turf Line News December 1999/January 2000

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