Winter Injury and Damage on Warm Season Turf North Carolina is now seeing confirmed cases of winter injury/damage on all warm season turf types. As warm season turf starts to actively grow we can see the extent of damage on Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede and St. Augustine. However, once again, Centipede has received the heaviest damage…. Read more »
North Carolina is now seeing confirmed cases of winter injury/damage on all warm season turf types. As warm season turf starts to actively grow we can see the extent of damage on Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede and St. Augustine. However, once again, Centipede has received the heaviest damage. Centipede is the coldest intolerant of all warm season turf and tends to green up sooner than other warm season turf. All warm season turf will start actively growing through May and June.
Corrective action from any damage will depend on the extent of your damage. Bermuda and Zoysia will generally fill back in during the growing season on the proper fertility program damage is not severe. Bermuda and Zoysia spread much faster than Centipede. Sod may be the best approach on Centipede (or other turf types) if damage is extensive. Centipede spreads slowly and cannot be pushed with fertility to get it to spread faster.
Brown Patch Fungus on Fescue typically starts in May. However, we have seen a few cases of Brown Patch, Dollar Spot, Rust and Helminthosporium diseases in late April.
Brown Patch Fungus activates within a distinct set of climatic parameters. Brown Patch will activate when the temperatures are above 75 degrees with high atmospheric moisture. This moisture can be in the form of rainfall, irrigation or humidity. Brown Patch fungus can be devastating to the lawn.
Signs of Brown Patch will be an off-color similar to drought stress, lesions on the leaf blade, browning of the turf in circles or areas. The easiest way to identify Brown Patch is to stand away from the lawn and look for a shadowy appearance on the lawn. Once you identify the area of concern, look at the leaf blades of the plant for tan or brown lesions on the leaf blade. If you see these lesions, more than likely, you have Brown Patch. Drought stress can be mistaken for Brown Patch. Drought stress will make the leaves fold at the center giving the leaf blade a straw appearance.
Applying fungicides preventively offers better control and less turf damage vs. curative fungicide. We typically see Brown Patch starting in Fescue in mid-May through August.
White grubs are the larvae of Scarab beetles. There are several beetles that produce the grubs we see while digging in our lawns and natural areas. Grub species in North Carolina include Southern and Northern Chafer, Japanese, Asiatic, Green June and the May beetle. Grubs are identified by their cream off white colored body and off brown color hind part and head. Grubs have six legs and are from ¼ to 1½ inches. They are often seen in their C-shaped position in the soil.
White grubs create damage in turf by eating the root system of the host plant. Turf damage is usually observed in late spring through fall with an off-color wilting appearance. Many times it is misdiagnosed as disease, heat or dry stress. The lawn may have a spongy almost loose feel to the soil under the turf. In severe cases, the turf may roll up when tugged on from the lack of roots holding it to the soil. Activity from birds, raccoons, skunks and moles could indicate a grub infestation. To determine the extent of grub activity and the need for control, you will need to use a spade to remove the upper 3 inches of soil in a 12” x 12” area. Cut back the turf sample to count the number of grubs and inspect root damage. If nine or more grubs are observed, take immediate action utilizing proper products. All turf types are susceptible to grub feeding and damage.
Core aeration is a key management practice to help improve the overall quality of your turf and soil environment. Core aeration removes a small plug of thatch and soil and should be completed annually on Warm Season Turf (Bermuda, Zoysia and Centipede). Core aeration removes a small plug of thatch and soil. This service should be completed between June and early August.
Late May to Early June Starts the Warm Season Turf Core Aeration Season Core aeration removes a small plug of thatch and soil and should be completed annually on Warm Season Turf (Bermuda, Zoysia and Centipede). Core aeration removes a small plug of thatch and soil. This service should be completed between June and early August.
Core aeration will:
Prevention is Key to maintaining a safe and comfortable season
Empty standing water in areas that collect and promote mosquito growth and reproduction
Some areas to consider:
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Mowing season is underway (for cool season turf). Proper mowing height will help control weeds in the lawn.
Research has proven that maintaining a mowing height of 3½ – 4” on fescue drastically reduces the amount of crabgrass in the lawn. Mowing at this height will also help promote healthy turf and hold back broadleaf weeds.
Many warm season turf lawns struggle to strive due to improper mowing height. Mowing your type of warm season turf will drastically improve the overall quality and appearance of the lawn. Bermuda in a home lawn requires mowing every few days at 0.5” to 1.5”. Mowing at this height encourages denser turf and spreading. The lawn will look thin and grow upward if mowed above this height. In addition, it lowers the quality of the grass increasing the possibility of damage. Zoysia requires a mowing height between 1.5” and 2.5” based on your particular variety. A safe bet would be around 2”.
Centipede needs to be cut low around 1” to 1.75” to perform well. St Augustine requires a mowing height of 1.75” and 2.25”.
Yellow Nutsedge is a prolific and very difficult to control weed in many lawns and natural areas. Nutsedge is not a broadleaf weed or grassy weed but is in the sedge family. Yellow Nutsedge is a summer perennial that flourishes from April/May to around September/October. It reproduces from tubers (nutlets) under the soil and can spread from rhizomes. Each plant can produce hundreds of tubers during its growing season. These new tubers will be new plants in the years to come. Nutsedge will have a triangle stem and is easily felt when you twirl a stem between your thumb and forefinger. Yellow Nutsedge will grow much faster than the existing turf and will have a thin shiny appearance.
Post-emergent broadleaf weed controls for weeds like clover and dandelions will not control Nutsedge. There are limited products available for controlling Nutsedge and all of them require frequent applications over multiple years to offer acceptable control.