Snow cover has variable effects on persistence of fungicides and their suppression of microdochium patch on amenity turfgrass

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Fungicides applied to turfgrass in temperate climates prior to snowfall are expected to suppress fungal diseases such as microdochium patch (Microdochium nivale) until infection conditions become unfavourable the following spring. However, mild winters with inconsistent snow cover may alter fungicide persistence and render the turf more susceptible to fungal infection. This study was conducted to determine the effect of snow cover on the persistence of the fungicides chlorothalonil and iprodione applied to creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera), maintained as a golf course fairway. The fungicides were applied 1 day prior to the first accumulating snowfall in Madison, Wisconsin, for four consecutive winters, beginning in 2009/10. Fungicide treatments were kept under continuous snow cover or maintained free of snow cover the entire winter to determine the effect of snow cover on fungicide persistence (2010/11 to 2012/13) and microdochium patch development in a controlled environment chamber (2009/10 to 2012/13). Iprodione concentration was not impacted by snow cover in 2010/11 but was reduced under snow cover relative to bare turf in 2011/12 and 2012/13. Chlorothalonil concentration was not impacted by snow cover in 2011/12 but was greater under snow cover in 2012/13. Microdochium patch severity in the controlled environment chamber was not impacted by snow cover with either fungicide in 2009/10 or 2011/12 but was slightly reduced under snow cover with both fungicides during 2010/11 and 2012/13. The majority of fungicide depletion occurred shortly after rainfall or snowmelt events, except in 2010/11 when both fungicides rapidly depleted during a warming trend without rainfall.

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