Summer patch disease severity on Kentucky bluegrass in response to fertilizer source

Wendy J. Hill, Joseph R. Heckman, Bruce B. Clarke, James A. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Summer patch is caused by the ectotrophic, root-infecting fungus Magnaporthe poae Landschoot and Jackson. The disease, which often infects high maintenance turf, can be difficult to control because root infection often occurs six to eight weeks before the appearance of foliar symptoms. Disease severity is reduced when turf is fertilized with ammonium nitrogen (N) sources, compared to nitrate or urea sources of N. Thiosulfate, from (NH4)2S2O3 or K2S2O3, is a nitrification inhibitor which may enhance ammonium uptake of turf by slowing nitrification. N-SURE is a triazone-based, slow release N source that is commonly used to fertilize turfgrass. Field studies were conducted from 1995 to 1996 on Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) grown on a Nixon loam (fine-loamy, mixed, mesic Typic Hapludult) to evaluate the effectiveness of the several N and K sources for their ability to control summer patch disease. Nitrogen fertilizers, N-SURE, (NH4)2S2O3, and (NH4)2SO4, were applied in combination with either K2SO4 or K2S2O3. The severity of summer patch was greater when the turf was fertilized with N-SURE in 1995 and 1996 and urea in 1996 compared to (NH4)2S2O3. The N sources, (NH4)2SO4 and (NH4)2S2O3, were strongly acidifying to the upper 10 cm of soil and were very effective in controlling summer patch. The application of K2S2O3 slightly acidified the upper 5 cm of soil but did not suppress the development of summer patch. The ability of thiosulfate to act as a nitrification inhibitor did not appear to play a role in the suppression of summer patch. Since foliar bum may occur if (NH4)2SO4, (NH4)2S2O3, or K2S2O3 are applied to turf without irrigation, the application of water after their use is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1499-1512
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Plant Nutrition
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


  • Acidifying N fertilizers
  • Ammonium nutrition
  • Cultural management


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