Yellow tuft appears as small spots (10 to 33mm in diameter) of yellowed grass plants, which may be slightly raised. The roots of affected plants are weakened and pull away easily to reveal dense clusters of yellowed tillers (shoots).
Yellow tuft affects all turfgrasses, however in the UK it most commonly affects bentgrass.
What causes Yellow Tuft to develop?
Yellow tuft is caused by the fungus Sclerophthora macrospore. The fungus lives on the grass plant, but does not kill it as the plant is needed as a host. Yellow tuft can occur at any time of year when climatic conditions are suitable. It is most common during periods of cool, wet and humid weather and affects areas which are poorly drained or flooded. It can also occur in well-drained areas following periods of frequent rainfall.
Treatment of Yellow Tuft
Fungicide treatments are available to control yellow tuft, however ensuring adequate drainage is the most effective way to prevent symptoms of yellow tuft. Water should be pumped off as soon as possible after flooding. Infected plants can be removed by verticutting. Topdressing will also help to improve drainage, minimise thatch and promote growth.
Where else can advice be obtained on Yellow Tuft?
Further advice on Yellow tuft can be obtained from the Sports Turf Research Institute, the UK's leading independent turf research organisation. Their contact details are STRI, St Ives Estate, Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16 1AU. Tel: 01274 565131 www.stri.co.uk.