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The Turf Disease Centre


Fungal Disease Analysis

Foliar, stem, crown & root fungal disease will be assessed using light microscopy and if necessary, incubation of the turf to encourage fungal mycelial growth / spore development. Results are generally provided in 1 to 2 days but when analysis takes longer, a preliminary result will be provided.

Additional information

Symptomatic plants will be assessed using low and high power magnification to determine the cause of the problem. If required, fungi will be isolated and spores assessed to confirm fungal type. If you are able to email photographs of the developing symptoms, they will be very useful in confirming the final diagnosis.

Please provide:

  • details of the affected grass type
  • an indication of the age of the plants (i.e. seedling, established, newly laid sod)
  • information on when the symptoms started and how the symptoms have changed over time
  • and details of what treatment applications were made in the 7 days prior to sampling

For many turf disease problems, the most accurate analysis will be achieved from assessment of recently infected plants which tend to be present towards the leading edge of the developing symptoms. Certain fungal disease problems develop more aggressively on one grass type and therefore a turf sample that shows the sward composition is very useful. Also, some disease problems develop in the roots and occasionally they are focussed in the root tip. A sample that contains intact plants – from leaf tip to root tip – will provide all of the material needed to confirm a fungal disease problem.

Most fungal diseases develop due to local environmental conditions and this is true for foliar and root disease. For example, if there is a problem with the rootzone drainage, problems associated with Pythium root disease can develop.

For the above reasons, a golf hole changer core sample (or similar sized piece of turf) is requested for fungal disease analysis. Certain foliar diseases may be difficult or impossible to diagnose if a bulked, small diameter core sample is received. Such samples may cause a delay in obtaining certain analysis results because the received plants will need to be washed clean of rootzone and incubated for 24h before any assessment for foliar disease can be made. Very few intact plants are received in bulked, small diameter core samples and this may also cause problems in providing a complete analysis.

If the received sample is not suitable for the requested analysis, you will be contacted so that the work can be discussed before any assessment is completed.

Please see additional information on sending samples for fungal disease analysis and current fees. If you are in any doubt about what to send, please contact me.