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Warm Season Turf Disease (Appearing in Late Spring, Summer, and Early Fall)
DiseaseConditions Favoring DiseaseSymptoms
Spring Dead Rot50 to 57 degree temperaturesSpring Dead Rot often appears in turf in late spring when coming out of dormancy. The infection results in large dead patches that merge together. Damage is usually done before the symptoms are noticeable.
Red Thread35 to 85 degree temperatures, wet weatherMainly a cosmetic disease, read thread appears as a red-threaded like fuzz on the tips of grass blades, with brown rings under it.
Brown Patch60 to 75 degree temperaturesBrown Patch affects all warm season grasses, crown and root rot are common. Severe infections well appear as patches of dead turf, several feet in diameter, with grey and white fungal growth often visible in the morning. It may look like a grey smoke ring.
Dollar Spot70 to 80 degree temperatures, prolonged turf moisture, once active, will continue through summer monthsDollar Spot affects most grass types. It appears as matted chaotic spots about 1 to 4 inches in diameter. Sometimes it looks like an hourglass shaped lesions in larger cut turf of dead grass.
Pythium Blight85 to 95 degree temperatures, warm nights and high humidityWith Pythium Blight, turf blades will appear wet or greasy, then turn bronze and die completely, looking like a gasoline burn.
Leaf Spot75 to 95 degree temperatures, wet conditionsLeaf Spot usually appears as purple lesions on grass blades that will eventually spread down the blade as the disease progresses, which then leads to dead patches of turf.
Rust70 to 80 degree temperatures, mostly seen in the fall with high humidityRust causes fungal spaces, usually mostly orange in color, appearing on the top of the turf. It will appear as an orange powdery substance on shoes and mowers.
Cool Season Turf Diseases (Appearing in Early spring, Late Fall and Winter Months)
DiseaseConditions Favoring DiseaseSymptoms
Grey Snow Mold (Typhula Blight)32 to 40 degree temperatures, snow cover requiredGrey Snow Mold shows up as patches of turf appearing pink, grey, black and various dark colors, several inches up to several feet in diameter.
Pink Snow Mold (Micro Docium)35 to 45 degree temperatures (can survive up to 60 degrees) Does not require snow fall, wet damp cold conditions anytime between fall and late springPink Snow Mold appears as blighted circular patches 1 to 3 feet in diameter, with a slimy appearance, pink or tan in color.
Red Thread35 to 85 degree temperatures, high humidityRed Thread affects most turf types, and is most common in moderate temperatures, just like in warm seasons. Grass blades appear with a reddish fuzz on the tips with 2 to 3 inch patches under it.
Dollar Spot70 to 80 degree temperatures, dry soil, heavy dewDollar Spot affects most grass types. It appears as matted chaotic spots about 1 to 4 inches in diameter. Sometimes it looks like an hourglass shaped lesions in larger cut turf of dead grass.
Brown Patch70 to 90 degree temperatures, wetBrown Patch affects all cool season grasses, crown and root rot are common. Severe infections well appear as patches of dead turf, several feet in diameter, with grey and white fungal growth often visible in the morning. It may look like a grey smoke ring. In cool seasons, low lying areas are more susceptible.
Powdery Mildew65 degree temperatures, low light areas, high humidityPowdery Mildew appears as a light frosting or powdered sugar on the tips of grass blades, sometimes further down the blade.
Smuts/Slime MoldsTemperatures above 60 degreesSmuts are only seen in the cool seasons. Slime molds can be seen in both warm and cool seasons. Both give a grey, dusty appearance to turf. Slime molds have a gooey look to them.
Turf Insect Infestations
InsectSymptoms
GrubsIf you are noticing a lot of Japanese Beetles in your trees and landscape as well as dead patches in your grass, you may have grubs, which are the larvae of a beetle. These insects feed on the root of the grass, which completely kills the turf. They work very quickly. The turf will pull back like a carpet with bad infestations. Damage usually starts in August and continues through October. The May or June beetle usually has a 3 year lifecycle, meaning it could damage your turf all season long by laying eggs. Some other symptoms you may see would be signs of digging in the turf, potentially by a raccoon or skunk that is looking to eat the grubs. Treatment is always recommended yearly to prevent the severe damage grubs can cause.
Chinch BugThe Chinch Bug produces 2 generations per year after over-wintering in the adult stage in your thatch. They mate when temps reach 70 degrees. Then, the female Chinch lays eggs on roots, stems and blades of grass. Over a two week period, one female can lay over 500 eggs. Newly hatched Chinch bugs feed by sucking juices from the roots of the grass, near the ground surface. The adult Chinch bug is shaped like a flattened black and white capsule and can fly. Chinch bugs do the greatest damage from mid-summer to early Fall. Chinch bug infestation is identified by brown areas of turf resembling heat stress with the insects visible by looking closely. Treatment is also recommended yearly.
Sod WebwormsThere are approximately 100 species of Sod Webworms throughout the United States alone. When a sod webworm reaches adult live cycles it becomes a Snout moth. Sod webworms primarily will feed on cool season grasses, but will also feed on warm season grasses. They feed from the top of the grass blade and work their way down, leaving the blade looking like a short stalk. With heavy infestation, the moths will infest damaged areas.
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