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What kind of mites’ damage turfgrass?

Several species of spider mites can damage turfgrass in Colorado: clover mite, banks grass mite and brown wheat mite.

What is the best way to control mites?

Most damage occurs during early to midspring. Damage to turfgrass is primarily related to dry conditions and turfgrass stressed by drought. Base all control programs on adequate water to the site. This includes fall and winter watering as needed, since populations of the mites can build up during this period. Under conditions of drought, control of the mite is often unsatisfactory.

What is the best way to control Grubs?

The most important means of limiting grub injury is to grow a vigorous lawn. Healthy, well-watered lawns can tolerate grub feeding more easily than weakly growing lawns. White grubs, however, are among the most difficult soil insect pests to control.  

What is the best way to prevent disease?

To avoid disease, provide the best lawn care you can, giving the grass just the right amount of water and fertilizer and keeping the soil open and loose.

How does watering help prevent disease?

If grass blades are wet for long periods or you water daily so you soil never dries out, you lawn is more likely to be infected. Water properly (at least ½ inch twice a week) in the early morning so that the grass blades can dry during the day.

Does aeration help prevent disease?

Thatch is a breeding ground for pathogens. Aerate to reduce thatch, relieve compaction and improve drainage.

What is Necrotic Ring Spot?

Necrotic ring spot (NRS) is a perennial disease of Kentucky bluegrass. NRS results in circular or doughnut-shaped patches of dead grass. Symptoms often develop in late summer. NRS can be controlled by the use of resistant varieties (which are part of ScienTurfic Sod), good turf management practices and fungicide applications.

What is Leaf Blight?

Ascochyta leaf blight has become a common problem on Kentucky bluegrass lawns in Colorado. Large uniform areas of affected turf will turn straw-colored.    Leaves usually start dying back from the tips. Ascochyta can occur throughout the growing season, but is more prevalent in the spring when there are extended wet periods. The first line of defense against Ascochyta leaf blight is to manage the turf properly.

What is Dollar Spot?

Dollar spot, a major turfgrass disease in Colorado, often is confused with Ascochyta leaf blight. Turfgrass under stress is more susceptible to infection.    Proper lawn management, such as aeration, proper watering and fertilization, will reduce dollar spot problems. Use fungicides only in situations with recurrent dollar spot problems. Ensure nitrogen levels are sufficient to sustain a moderate rate of shoot growth.

What do I do about mushrooms?

Heavy rains, or prolonged rainy periods or excess watering often encourage the growth of mushrooms (toadstools) in home lawns and other turf areas. Most often, the mushrooms will appear randomly across a new lawn because of the extra water required to get the sod to root in. Once the moisture in the soil reduces the mushrooms should stop appearing.  Since young children and pets may be tempted to eat mushrooms, remove the obvious fungal structures by raking, mowing, or hand picking can avoid the possibility of poisoning or illness.

What are fairy rings?

Mushrooms may grow in a circle around grass, forming “fairy rings”. Construction debris, old tree roots and stumps encourage their growth. Spring and fall aeration along with several applications of a few ounces of dish washing soap dissolved in a gallon of water on the ring may make the ring less noticeable. No Fungicides control fairy rings.

What is snow mold?

Gray and Pink Snow mold appear as fluffy white to salmon pink mixture of fungal strands & Spores visible at the edge of the patch.  Usually 6-24” in diameter throughout the lawn or side by side. Turf grasses are very prone to diseases when snow or ice cover persists for long periods of time in the winter, thus trapping moisture and preventing sunlight in the turf. Lightly rake the matted turf. This will increase air circulation around the grass plants and allow the grass to grow and fill in. As soon as the soil begins to thaw out, it is a good idea to core-aerate the turf to encourage root and rhizome growth.

I see a powdery mildew on my turf grass?

Small to large areas of the lawn, especially in shady to partial shade locations, show symptoms of grass being dusted with flour or talc. As the disease progresses, turf grass blades wither and die. Powdery mildew is caused by a fungus. It is not considered to be serious disease on turf, more of an esthetic problem. Sever outbreaks tend to occur in shaded areas in late spring through fall. High humidity and temperature above 60 degrees favor this disease. Increase sunlight penetration by pruning trees and shrubs to allow more light to infected areas. Adjust water so that areas prone to the disease will stay drier. Fungicides can be applied as a preventative before the disease becomes established. Blades already infected will not benefit from chemical treatments.

What is Brown Patch?

Brown patch commonly starts as a small spot and can quickly spread outwards in a circular or horseshoe pattern up to a couple of feet wide. Often times, while expanding outwards, the inside of the circle will recover, leaving the brown areas resembling a smoke-ring.: The best prevention for brown patch is to aerate often, reduce shade to effected areas, and follow a fertilization schedule to help prevent fertilization with excess amounts of nitrogen.

I walk across my lawn and my shoes get an orange color.

Rust gets its name from the orange, "rusty" appearance it gives leaf blades. Rust tends to flourish in conditions of: morning dew, shade, high soil compaction, and low-fertility. The best way to check for rust problems is by taking a white tissue or paper towel and rubbing a few grass blades through it. If an orange color remains, then it's usually rust. The best prevention for rust is to aerate your lawn, water well in the morning hours, reduce shade to grass, mow more frequently while bagging the grass, and by following a fertilization schedule to help increase the amount of nitrogen levels in your lawn.

What is Red Thread?

Red thread is most common to Fescues, Ryegrasses, and Kentucky Bluegrasses during times of moist and cool weather. Red Thread gets its name from the pinkish-red threads that form around the leaf blades and bind them together. Eventually, the affected grass will turn brown and the red treads will be most visible when wet. The best prevention for red thread is to aerate often and remove thatch. Mowing to proper levels, reducing shade on lawn, and following a fertilization schedule can also help.

Why is it important to know basic anatomy of an insect?

It helps in the identification and control.

Do all turf insects have similar mouth parts?

Some insects having chewing, while others have piercing – sucking mouth parts. Understanding how the insect feeds will aid in determining what is the best control.

Why is it important to understand the life cycle of an insect?

Understanding the insect life cycle helps predict when damage can be expected and when the pests are vulnerable to control.

What are the stages of complete metamorphosis of an insect?

The stages are egg, larvae, nymph and adult.

What are some common insects with complete metamorphosis?

They include white grubs, billbugs, webworms and armyworms.

How do insects damage our lawns?

Insects usually damage a lawn by their method of feeding. Grubs eat roots; billbugs feed on the crown; and sod webworms feed on the blades.

Are there insects that suck the juices from the plant?

Green bugs and chinch bugs suck the juices from the plant.

What indirect ways may insects cause damage to our lawns?

Animals like skunks and raccoons dig up areas looking for insects.

How do you that lawn damage is not caused by drought or disease?

The best way to diagnose a problem is when you suspect insect damage is to get down on your hand and knees and examine the turf. Look for the insects or the signas they have been feeding on leaves, roots or the crown.

What are some mechanical ways to determine if insects are present?

Some ways include “flushing” with soapy water; apply excess water and “float’ insects to the surface or by setting traps.

What does it mean when you see a large flock of starlings feeding in you yard?

It is usually a sign that the birds are feeding on sod webworms.

What does it mean when you see moths “fluttering” over your lawn?

This probably means sod webworms, cut worms and army worms have developed to an adult stage.

Why is a healthy lawn important in insect control?

Although a healthy lawn provides extra food for the insects, they can endure a lot of insects feeding without showing much sign of the presence of the insects.

What is the most effective control of insect pests?

Insecticides are considered the most effective. Some help is given by bacteria and nemadoes.

What are some of the more common insecticides?

They include diazinon and sevein but are being in some cases replaced by pyrethrum.

On the southwestern side of a house after a long dry winter, there is a lot of dead grass. What is the cause?

It appears two things are happening. There is a lack of moisture due in part to the direct rays of the sun. This dryness encourages the invasion of mites that feed on the grass.

What is the best way to control mites?

Most damage occurs during early to mid-spring. Damage to turfgrass is primarily related to dry conditions when the turfgrass is stresses by drought. Base all control programs on adequate water to the site. This includes fall and winter watering.

Are insects bad for my yard?

No! A certain amount of the various insects are important to the lawn ecosystem. The problem arises when the numbers increase causing the ecosystem to be out of balance.

In examing an area of dead grass, one finds that the sod can be lifted easily. In removing the grass there are 10-12 white grubs per square foot. Is this the problem?

Yes. One or two per square foot is just part of the biotWhen the numbers increases, the real problem begins.