Thursday, March 19, 2015

'Flagstick' Dollar Spot Resistant Creeping Bentgrass

Dr. J. M. Vargas Jr., Ron Detweiler, and Nancy Dykema
Michigan State University

About 20 years ago, my laboratory personnel discovered some creeping bentgrass plants at the Hancock Turfgrass Research Center that appeared to be resistant to dollar spot, caused by Sclerotinia homoeocarpa. Thanks to funding from The Michigan Turfgrass Foundation and Project GREEEN, we were able to do some breeding with the dollar spot resistant plants. Small plots were established with these resistant lines and, throughout the years, they have remained resistant to dollar spot. Around 12 years ago we partnered with Seed Research of Oregon, a subsidiary of Pickseed USA. They continued the process of developing a dollar spot resistant creeping bentgrass cultivar. The cultivar, coded as SRP-1WM, was entered into the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) trials and tested at many universities through the United States where it remained resistant to dollar spot. The cultivar, now called Flagstick, is now available in limited supplies for 2015. There will be more available for the 2016 season. The importance of the first truly dollar spot resistant commercial turfgrass is enormous.  Most of the fungicide applications throughout the season in the Northeast and Midwest are for control of dollar spot.  Last year in Michigan, if it was not for dollar spot, very few fungicide applications would have been applied to golf courses. Having a dollar spot resistant cultivar on golf course greens, tees and especially fairways, which encompass acres of turf, will result in financial savings to golf courses as well as reduced environmental impact from fewer fungicide applications.
Creeping bentgrass cultivars in a fairway trial at MSU.

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