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December 2010

Is It Really Lawn Disease

Is It Really Lawn Disease?

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The best time to assess your turf’s state of health is before mowing. As you pick up fallen twigs or remove other items from the lawn, you should take a careful look at any areas that appear wilted, off-color or stand out from their surroundings. If you do note changes, it might not be disease. For instance, brownout of a cool-season grass during high summer is likely just summer dormancy, which…

Identifying Diseases

Identifying Diseases

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Many diseases will leave bleached-out, dead turf. When this occurs you not only lose the grass, but you also lose the opportunity to determine what caused the problem. Diseases are progressive in nature, especially during hot, humid weather. It is important to check your lawn regularly if you want to spot disease symptoms early on. Look for spots or banding, color changes, or signs of decay on grass blades. When you…

There are approximately 10,000 grass species in the world. Only about 50 can make a good lawn!]

Choosing the Right Grass

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Do not buy seed on impulse! Choosing the right grass for your lawn can make the difference between having a low-maintenance, environmentally-friendly lawn versus one that is susceptible to diseases, pests, and weeds. The type of seed you choose depends on several factors: What do you want your lawn to look like? Grasses vary in color, leaf width, habit (characteristic appearance), and density.  Grass color and texture vary by species and…

Which Grass Where

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If you read the research reports from various grass institutes, the number of cultivars of grass species will astonish you.  When you add in the numerous characteristics of each grass, and how each grows under different conditions, the task of selecting the best for your location and intended use can seem daunting.  In addition, with ongoing research, there are always new and improved cultivars.  Avoid confusion by contacting your Cooperative…

Grass-plugs, sprigs

Warm-Season Grasses

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St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) Easily grown from sod, plugs, or sprigs, St. Augustinegrass produces a dense blue-green turf that has good shade and salt tolerance.  It is highly popular in coastal areas from Florida to California. Drawbacks:  Thick thatch if heavily fertilized and watered.  Vulnerable to chinch bugs and grubs. Recommendations: For USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 10.  According to the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP), look for slow-growing Amerishade, cold…

Cool-Season Grasses

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Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) For a deep green, fine-textured, attractive lawn, choose Kentucky bluegrass.  Bluegrass is able to withstand moisture and temperature extremes, is winter hardy, and will grow in full sun to light shade depending on cultivar and location.  Sown by seed and spread by rhizomes and tillers, it forms strong, dense sod that recovers well from injury.  Maintenance requirements for Kentucky bluegrass vary.  Older common cultivars require less…

Comparing Various Lawn Planting Methods

Comparing Various Lawn Planting Methods

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Before replanting, spread plastic over the area to let heat kill off old turf.  Seal the edges with boards or soil.  See Six Steps to Planting a new Lawn for further information. Find out the planting method that works best for you, whether you live North or South.

Common lawn weeds

Aboveground Pests

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Chinch Bugs Chinch bugs are the premier pest on St. Augustinegrass lawns, and will attack other grasses except those in the coldest climates.  Black, winged, and 1/5-inch long, they live and lay eggs in the thatch layer at the root line. Most damaging are the tiny red nymphs, which thrive on sap sucked from grass stems. The adult chinch bug is the scourge of southern grasses. The chinch bug nymph sucks on…

Underground pests - Japanese Beetle

Underground Pests

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White Grubs These root-eating larvae of the scarab beetle family include Japanese beetles, June bugs, rose chafers, and the black turfgrass ataenius.  Grub size and characteristics vary, but grubs are generally plump, whitish gray and C-shaped with brown heads, and three pairs of legs.  In the summer, you can identify adult Japanese beetles, metallic green with copper wings, and June bugs, reddish brown nocturnal fliers. Look for: Wilted, bluish-gray grass…

Identifying Clues

Visible Clues to Insects

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Knowing your local pests and their life cycles is the key to determining whether lawn damage is due to insects.  The rest is a matter of keeping your eyes open.  Most insects are large enough to be visible, so do not wait for your grass to start dying to find out there is a problem. The presence of sod webworms may become apparent one evening, when you see their adult…