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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Fungicide Effects on Thatch Depth, Thatch Decomposition Rate, and Growth of Kentucky Bluegrass1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 77 No. 4, p. 597-602
    Received: May 1, 1984

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  1. R. W. Smiley,
  2. M. Craven Fowler,
  3. R. T. Kane,
  4. A. M. Petrovic and
  5. R. A. White2



Development of improved management strategies for controlling thatch on tuifgrasses is limited by an incomplete understanding of thatch biology. Mechanisms whereby fungicides cause thatch to accumulate in turfgrass were investigated, by evaluating the influences of fungicides on rates of tissue production and thatch decomposition. Fourteen fungicides, one nematicide, and five mixed-fungicide programs were applied repeatedly (up to nine times annually), over a 4-yr period, to a field-grown Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) turf on a soil of the fine, illitic mesic family of Glossoboric Hapludalfs. Measurements were made of thatch depths, root and leaf clipping weights, shear strength of sod, and decomposition rates for thatch implanted into the turfs. Compounds that caused thatch to become deeper (p = 0.05) than in the nontreated control included benomyl, cadmium succinate, fenamiphos, iprodione, and mancozeb. Treatments in which these pesticides were used were characterized by sod shear strengths greater (p = 0.05) than in the control. Thatch accumulations were related mostly to the amounts of roots in the surface 4 cm. None of the studied fungicides significantly (p = 0.10) reduced the apparent rate of thatch decomposition. Fungicides in this study therefore appeared to induce thatchiness in Kentucky bluegrass by increasing the rates of root and rhizome production and not by reducing the rate of litter decomposition.

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