Biological Control of Turfgrass Diseases
Disease management represents a significant challenge for turfgrass managers. Since most, if not all, of the fungal pathogens of turfgrass are always present in turfgrass plantings, rarely is the pathogen’s presence or population level limiting for disease development. One of several exciting alternative management strategies being developed is the use of biological controls in which individual or mixtures of microorganisms are deployed to either reduce the activities of pathogens or enhance the tolerance of plants to disease. Biological control agents must also be compatible with other management inputs. In particular, biological control agents must be tolerant of fungicides, insecticides, herbicides, and fertilizers currently used in management programs. Microbial inoculants used for disease control consist of preparations of living microorganisms that are inhibitory to plant pathogens. Biological control systems such as the T. phacorrhiza-Typhula blight system have provided useful models for the study of turfgrass disease biological control.