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March 2019 News From Fairway Green

Moss: Invading Lawns Around You Moss continues to be a major topic of discussion with property owners.  This is contributed to the above normal rainfall for the past two years along with other site conditions conducive for moss development.  Mosses generally do not kill grass, however, it will take over areas in the lawn where… Read more »

Moss: Invading Lawns Around You

moss filling gaps in a lawn
Moss filling void where turf is struggling

Moss continues to be a major topic of discussion with property owners.  This is contributed to the above normal rainfall for the past two years along with other site conditions conducive for moss development.  Mosses generally do not kill grass, however, it will take over areas in the lawn where turf is unable to flourish and grow properly.  Conditions that create moss are excessive shade, poor draining, compact soils, and excessive moisture not allowing the soil to dry properly. Conditions that create moss also create a poor growing environment for quality turf.

Moss is a non-vascular plant and is not controlled by regular weed controls. There is not a reasonable chemical control option to remove moss – it is controlled by eliminating the conditions that created it.

Pre-Emergent Crabgrass Control

crabgrass in bermuda grass
Crabgrass in Bermuda lawn that did not receive pre-emergent

Time is running out to control summer Crabgrass.  Crabgrass will usually start to germinate in late March or early April throughout the Transitional Zone.  Germination will occur when soil temperatures are between 53 to 58 degrees and 3 to 4 inches deep. Crabgrass germination will be seen first in bare spots with little desirable turf and in full sun.  January is the time of year when lawn care professionals will apply your first application of Pre-emergent Crabgrass control. It is imperative that this first application is applied by early March. The required second application of pre-emergent will usually follow in about 6 to 8 weeks.  

There are some reports of Crabgrass germination in bare full sun areas along walkways or roads. This is due to the unseasonably warm temperatures we saw in February and early March. This should not be a major issue but should be noted.

Large Patch Fungus

patchy zoysia grass
Large Patch Fungus on Zoysia

Large Patch fungus can be active on Zoysia, Bermuda, Centipede and St. Augustine in Spring and Fall. Fairway Green is seeing more cases of this disease every year in our area.  Large Patch Fungus is a damaging disease on Zoysia, Bermuda, Centipede and St. Augustine turf in the Fall and early Spring. This disease is similar to Brown Patch Fungus on Fescue.  Large Patch Fungus needs to be controlled with two applications of fungicide in the Spring and Fall when ground temperatures are between 50 and 70 degrees. Damage occurs before you are aware you have it and is not visible until green-up in the Spring. Preventative Fungicide in the Fall and early Spring is the only way to control this disease.

Why Do I Have Poa Annua (Annual Bluegrass)?

Poa annua (Annual Bluegrass) is an annual grass that is being noticed more this month due to the large amount of tan colored seed heads the plant is producing now.  It usually stands out in late April into May. The above normal ground temperatures we had a couple of weeks ago have caused it to produce a seed head on some plants earlier this year. Poa annua is a wild annual grass and can show up anywhere. However, it is a hardy plant and can grow in poor conditions where desirable turf will not.  This is why you often see it in compact areas of the lawn. For example; along roadways, Devil Strips (strips between sidewalk and roadways) and oddly enough along the sides of driveways where you often walk on turf to get in and out of the vehicle. These areas are often heavily compacted making it difficult for desirable turf to flourish.

poa annua along a road
Poa Annua (annual Bluegrass) in Fescue along roadway

Poa annua actually germinates in the Fall starting in late August through the winter; the same time you seed Fescue in this area.  This is why pre-emergent applications for Crabgrass in January, February and early Spring do not control Poa annua. Poa annua was too mature when the pre-emergent applications were applied so has no impact on control.  Poa annua will generally end its life cycle in Late May and June. It is a prolific seeder and seed is generally viable the following year. It typically grows in areas that have poor compact soil and where your desired turf is thin or nonexistent.  However, being that it is a common grassy weed in our area; it can be found anywhere, even in the middle of the yard.

We control about seventy percent of Poa annua in warm season (Bermuda, Zoysia and Centipede) turf by applying a product in the Fall.  We utilize a split application of this product which provides good control. Again, this split application will control roughly seventy to eighty percent, not one hundred.  We have a product that can be applied in November and again in December to control about seventy-five percent of Poa annua in Fescue. Both applications are required to get roughly seventy-five percent control.

When Will I Know If My Warm Season Turf Received Winter Damage?

centipede grass with winter damage
Centipede close up with winter damage

You will know if your Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede or St. Augustine received winter damage by end of May.  That is usually when you will know for sure. In the Transitional Zone, we do not consider a warm season turf completely out of dormancy and actively growing till the end of May. Sure some will look green or somewhat green before then but they are not actively growing yet. Several new varieties of Bermuda and Zoysia have the characteristics of breaking dormancy earlier and staying active longer into the fall. Centipede tries to break dormancy early and that is why Centipede turf is commonly damaged due to a late frost or cold spell in Spring. Ground temperatures in May are generally conducive for 24-hour plant growth and activity giving us a better picture of potential warm season turf injury.

There is something you can do before May if you are really concerned about a part of the lawn that just isn’t looking right.  Cut out a small piece of the lawn and bring it inside in front of a window that is getting at least six hours of sunlight. Be sure to dig at least 3” of soil with your sample.  Wait approximately two weeks and if you observe greening, the turf is probably fine. If no greening is observed by three weeks, turf is probably damaged.

Why Do My Weeds Look Like They Are Not Dying After Treatment?

A misconception with broadleaf weed control is that the weed should turn brown after treatment within a couple of days and die.  However, more times than not, this is not the case and most weed species may take a couple of weeks to show signs of control. In fact, signs of control may not even be seen with the plant turning brown.  More often the plant will just start to shrivel and disappear leaving a very small Skelton