Turf Pest & Disease Control

  • Brown Patches in Your Lawn


    • Do you see brown patches (75mm to 600mm in diameter) in your turf?
    • Has your turf been soaked and very wet for a week or so?
    • Is the weather cool: 7-15°C (45-60°F)?

    If these conditions apply, then you might have a foliar fungus in your turf.

    General Description of foliar blights of turf

    In the U.K., foliar pathogens of turf are common-place. This is because the weather is often wet and cool for extended periods of time. Foliar pathogens are those fungi that attack and kill the leaves of turf. In general, they do not kill the entire plant, but they do cause the turf to look poor. Foliar pathogens are found in all parts of the U.K., and live in grass swards year round. Only when the weather is cool and wet are they capable of attacking the living grass leaves and killing them. The reason is that the fungi that cause these leaf blights must have long periods of time when the grass leaves are wet. There are many different fungi that can cause a foliar blight, but they all have similar requirements for their development. While a turfgrass pathologist can identify the particular fungus that is attacking grass, it is not necessary for the purpose of control. It may be of interest to know that some of the foliar blights have specific names, like Fusarium blight, dollar spot, Septoria spot, Curvularia blight, Drechslera blight, Helminthosporium blight and melting out. For the purpose of managing these diseases in fine turf, it is not necessary to determine exactly which leaf blight is causing brown patches in your turf.

    Turfgrasses with disease resistance

    All turfgrasses grown in the U.K. are attacked by foliar fungi, but some are more resistant than others. To learn which grasses are the most resistant, consult your Rolawn Depot Manager, a professional agronomist, or The Sports Turf Research Institute.

    Cultural practices for controlling foliar blights

    The best approach to preventing the development of brown patches in turf is proper turf care. In summary, the following suggestions should get you started:

    Mow your turf properly. Tall grass stays wet a long time each day, and this is ideal for disease development. If you have brown patches in your turf, try and mow the lawn when it is dry, not wet. This will reduce the spread of disease.

    Fertilise your turf properly. Brown patches caused by fungi will vary in terms of how they respond to fertiliser: some attack when fertiliser is low, and others when it is too high. The best recommendation is to fertilise your turf just enough to support good growth.

    Water your turf and make sure that it drains well. Fungi need water to attack your turf. The longer your turf is wet, the more brown patches will develop. Soil that does not drain well will stay wet longer and cause your turf to grow poorly. If your soil puddles for hours after a rainfall, it may be compacted.

    Can you use fungicides to eliminate brown patches?

    Yes, fungicides can be used to control the foliar diseases that cause brown patches. Fungicides are toxins, and should only be used when necessary.

    We also recommend that you obtain advice about chemical and non chemical products directly from the manufacturers.

    Remember: Brown patches in turf can be caused by problems other than disease. Make sure that your brown patches are, in fact, diseases before you try to control them.

  • Turf Diseases and Insects

    Turf pest & disease controlIdentification:
    1. Can you recognise a disease or insect damage in your turf?
    2. Did you know that there are many ways in which you can damage your turf?

    If you are interested in knowing about the problems that affect your turf, the Rolawn turf care advice can provide useful information.

    General Descriptions
    Turf diseases - Most turf diseases are caused by an imbalance or reaction in the natural fungi population present in all fine turf. For the most part, fungi do not cause disease. In fact, for most of their life they help degrade thatch. Fungi cause disease in turf when two events occur:

    1. The weather is conducive to disease.
    2. The plant is susceptible to infection.

    Each disease in turf, and there are many, develops under different conditions. Some diseases develop in the spring, some in the summer, and others in the winter months. Fortunately, diseases that can kill your turf are fairly rare and those that are more common are not very damaging. While there are many different diseases, the Rolawn Lawn Centre describes the most common or destructive ones. The best defence against disease development is to select those grass varieties with the greatest disease resistance. Rolawn takes great care and pride in selecting their turf seed. The next best action to minimise disease development is to take good care of your turf. Well managed turf will not only develop less disease, but it can recover from disease faster. While diseases in turf are not common, they are natural and will occasionally develop. The first and most important step to take is to identify which disease is attacking your turf. If you are not familiar with diseases, ask an expert. The Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) is the leading agronomy organisation in the UK you can visit their website www.stri.co.uk.

    Turf insects - There are many insects that feed on turf, but most do not cause great damage. Insect damage and identification of insects is usually a job for an expert. In general, insect damage will cause your turf to turn yellow and slow down in growth, but these same symptoms can be caused by other problems as well. Other insects simply live in the turf or soil and cause the turf little harm. If you think you have an insect problem, consult an expert before you take action.

    How you can damage turf
    It may surprise you to learn this, but humans cause more problems to turf than all the diseases and insects combined. For example, walking, running, sports, horses, dogs, and bicycles all cause wear to turf. When turf is worn, it becomes weak and more susceptible to disease and other forms of damage. Pavements, driveways, and buildings can have an effect on turf. These structures can cause turf to heat up, or they can collect a lot of water and salts (used to melt snow), which can reduce the growth of turf.

    Remember: Turf was developed to be beautiful to look at and fun to use, but to ensure these pleasures, you must take care of it. The London Lawn Turf Company can help you keep your turf beautiful and healthy.

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