The Role of Endophytes in Integrated Pest Management for Turf
Fungal endophytes form infections within leaves and stems of healthy plants but have limited, if any, pathogenic effects. Endophyte-enhanced disease resistance would be particularly valuable in turf and could decrease many management inputs. Chemical fungicide use would decrease in an integrated pest management program that utilized these grasses. In the development of endophyte-infected turfgrasses, it is important to consider not only the genotype of the host, but also the genotype of the endophyte and its possible interaction with the host plant. Bentgrasses form some of the most intensively managed turf surfaces, including golf course greens, tees, and fairways. Cultivars containing the proper beneficial endophytes could lower management inputs. Endophytes have been detected in some bentgrass species. Researchers are searching for useful endophytes in many species and are incorporating such fungi into creeping bentgrass germ plasm. Turfgrass breeders and other scientists successfully incorporate beneficial endophytes into elite turfgrass germplasm to develop new cultivars.