Pythium Blight
Disease Management of Pythium Blight with Companion® Biological Fungicide in Concert with Conventional Fungicides

We have heard for years that implementing an IPM strategy will reduce disease resistance issues. Repeated applications of fungicides, with the same mode of action, favor the development of fungicide resistance; thus lessening the potency, or even worse, render certain disease treatment methods ineffectual against pathogens, leaving turf susceptible to infection. Know the facts: "Fungicides targeting Pythium should be applied in recommended tank mixes and rotated among FRAC groups. Resistance to strobilurins (11), mefenoxam (4), and propamocarb (28) has been documented in Pythium populations."

Integral, Targeted & Concise, that's the Name of the Game with IPM...

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a pest management system that is gaining popularity and acceptance in the turfgrass industry. It incorporates all suitable control techniques to keep pest damage below an established threshold level. The use of IPM strategies should result in effective pest control with minimal impact on the environment and people. It is important to understand that IPM is not pesticide-free turfgrass management. However, a successful IPM program should result in a more efficient use of pesticides, which usually means a reduction in pesticide use.

Understanding your Turf Adversary...

Pythium blight (Pythium aphanidermatum), also known as grease spot and cottony blight, can be a highly destructive turfgrass disease, especially on bentgrasses and ryegrasses. When favorable weather conditions spur disease development, sever outbreaks can completely destroy turfgrass within a few days.

The disease first appears as small, sunken, circular patches up to 1 foot in diameter during hot, humid weather. Blades within the patches are matted, orange or dark gray in color, and greasy in appearance. Gray, cottony mycelium may be seen in the infected areas when the leaves are wet or humidity is high. It spreads rapidly along drainage patterns and can be escalated by equipment, swiftly causing widespread damage. Considerable levels of nitrogen and lush growth make turf stands very vulnerable to Pythium, where it vigorously advances if untreated.

Due to its ability to survive in the soil for extended periods of time, often coming from debris from past infected plants or spores living in the soil,[1] Pythium spreads by the movement and growth of mycelium and spores from plant to plant.

Over-wintering as oospores found in the soil, Pythium easily proliferates with the movement of diseased plants, soil movement, surface water, and is even transferred via shoes. Moreover, it causes "damping off", "seed decay", or "seedling blight" of turfgrasses. Most common in perennial ryegrass, occurring in areas that are beyond recommended seeding rates, it does not only devastate the turf canopy, but the oomycete will also attack the roots and crowns, reducing growth and causing them to become off-colored, ultimately leading to thinning turf.

Because Pythium thrives in hot and damp weather (typically day temperatures of 80°F to 95°F), in areas that have little air movement, but high moisture content and also survives in lower temperatures (55°F to 65°F) as well as extended periods of wet weather, it is a prevalent turf concern. Pythium will most commonly appear during the "150 rule", when the total of day + night temperatures are over 150° F and also when dew remains on the grass blade for 14 hours or more.

Companion, a Perfect Partner/ Adept Ally in Controlling Turf Disease...

Studies at leading Universities have consistently shown that the use of Companion® along with other fungicides, at reduced rates, improves the efficacy of turf disease management.

In all of these trials, disease control included an "industry standard" of conventional fungicides both with and without Companion biofungicide, and were applied every 21-d. The principal of establishing biofungicides as a "core" product to use in conjunction with traditional fungicides being a "complimentary" method (only employed when turf is prone to disease conditions), may serve as a resilient foundation for sustainable IPM practices. Together, biofungicides and traditional products prove to be a "transformative team" in a turf manager's disease arsenal. With this approach, it devises that Companion Biological Fungicide can be used to eliminate the problem of disease resistance, while maintaining acceptable control and decreasing the total number of fungicide applications per year.

Since reducing pesticide applications is the main objective of IPM, new treatment program exploration offers great solutions. Companion, as the basis of disease management, deploys a rapid response, quickly establishing colonies on root hairs and soil particles, crowding out pathogens and forming a protective barrier; when applied with chemical fungicide, already weakened pathogens, are more easily decimated by the additional fungicide applications. Bacillus subtilis, a key component in Companion, is an active, growing beneficial soil bacteria that offers 4 modes of action plus broad spectrum control, therefore is not subject to resistance problems.

Click Here to view a study by Rutgers University, Center for Turfgrass Research, 2014 demonstrated that Companion has the ability to perform better than a conventional fungicide both alone and in combination with TKO Phosphite (where it achieved 64% efficacy in control of Pythium Blight).