Purple Spots on Your Ultradwarf Bermudagrass Putting Greens?

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Purple haze all on my bermudagrass putting greens. Lately, this turf just don’t seem the same. Actin’ funny like Pythium blight but I don’t know why. ‘Scuse me while I scream at the sky! Help me! (credit to Jimi H. and Jimmy K.).

Several folks are reaching out about ultradwarf bermudagrasses exhibiting purple spots and wondering if a disease is active. The disease in question is Pythium blight and while it could be active another issue to consider is cold stress. The latter is especially prevalent when the plants produce new shoots after some warm weather then the temperature suddenly drops overnight or over a few days.

If you have a macroscope or hand lens examine the newest leaf emerging from the whorl and you will see distinct purpling of that leaf tip. Remember that these new leaves are young, succulent, and easily fried by cold weather. With Pythium blight, the symptoms will not be as bright purple and the margins of the affected areas will be a slightly different color. With the cold stress, the entire affected area is purple, and non-affected areas are not.

Please view the photos below to better compare cold-weather purpling to Pythium blight.

Purpling of an ultradwarf bermudagrass putting green after cold weather.

Purpling of an ultradwarf bermudagrass putting green after cold weather.

Example of purpling at leaf tip as a result of cold weather.

Purpling of leaf tips and edges as a result of cold weather on ultradwarf bermudagrass putting green plants.

Symptoms of Pythium blight on an ultradwarf bermudagrass putting green. Note how the symptoms move with surface water.

Symptoms (black/brown lesions randomly on leaves) and signs (mycelium in foliage) of Pythium blight on an ultradwarf bermudagrass putting green sample.