UNLIKE the Beatles’ Strawberry Fields, the fungus infecting Baw Baw sporting grounds is all too real.
Trafalgar soccer field, Drouin Recreation Reserve and Western Park Warragul have been diagnosed with a variety of diseases, including red thread, cottony blight, fusarium and foliar blight.
The grass was originally believed to have been affected by the the abrupt transitioning from wet winter to hot summer, but it has become apparent that fungal infection is the cause of the damage.
Trafalgar soccer field is the worst afflicted, and is thought to be suffering from all four aforementioned ailments after increased watering failed to alleviate increased aridity prior to Christmas.
“The Trafalgar ground is currently having soil samples tested to establish an appropriate program of treatment,” Baw Baw spokesperson Liana Thompson, Director Community Care and Strengthening said.
“A timeframe won’t be available until we receive the results of the soil sample analysis and specialist advice.”
With soccer currently in its off-season, the ground can be rehabilitated without clashing with scheduled fixtures, however Trafalgar Victory has been advised to seek an alternative location for pre-season training.
Western Park’s outbreak of foliar blight is being treated, and while cricket will continue at the venue, pre-season football training has been relocated.
Foliar blight was also detected at Drouin Recreation Reservce in its early stages, and treatment should not affect use of the grounds.
Despite grass browning off on the surface, it is believed all three venues’ root systems will remain viable after treatment.
There have been no reports of skin irritation from contact with the grounds to date.