Keeping Your Grass Green During The Fall

Southern Sodgrass
Your Guide to Organic Compost
August 8, 2019

grass Southern SodgrassBrown Patch and Pythium Blight are fungi that develop on the turf grass during extended periods of hot, humid weather. It is a direct result from excessive moisture, high nitrogen levels and daily low/high temperatures exceeding
60’F and 90’F respectively.

It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that a fungicide be applied to your turf as preventative maintenance once your sod is installed and routinely applied as conditions are favorable for disease development (May thru September). Follow the directions on the label for the appropriate applications. 

In addition, follow the recommended watering schedule of deep and infrequent early morning irrigations, avoid applying nitrogen during this period, and avoid establishing sod in low areas that collect water. 

Southern Sodgrass and Landscape Supply cannot be held responsible for the performance of Fescue sod during these summer months as Fescue is a cool season grass and best performs when installed during cooler temperatures.  

For more info visit https://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/diseases-in-turf/brown-patch-in-turf/

 

Insect Activity                                 

Fall is the time of year in which many turf damaging insects may become active. Some of these insects, armyworms in worm Southern Sodrassparticular, can do serious damage to turf grasses. Armyworm moths seek out green foliage on or near which to lay their eggs. In about 10 days, the larva, or worms, hatch from the eggs and begin feeding on the foliage. These larvae can feed on many types of foliage but tend to seek out tender, lush turf. When in significant numbers, these turf-eating worms can do considerable damage in as little as a day or two.

Bermuda and Fescue are the most commonly affected grasses in our area. If infested, Bermuda grass will usually recover, given proper care. However, significant damage in non-stoloniferous  grasses like Fescue can be more permanent, particularly in newly sodded turf that has yet to get established. Therefore we recommend that all turf users be alert for the possibility for armyworm and related pest activity. Some of the signs to look for are:

  • High populations of moths around turf areas  
  • Unusually high bird activity around turf areas
  • Grass blades that have been chewed upon  
  • Visible armyworms

If any activity is noticed or suspected, treat immediately with an appropriate insecticide (Deltaguard, Diazinon, Sevin, to name a few). Armyworm larvae are relatively easy to kill. The trick is catching them before they can do significant damage.

worm Southern SodgrassAs a preventative measure at our farms, we are maintaining pesticide applications at regular intervals to guard against infestations in fields. However, be aware that residual effect of insecticides for foliage eating insects is limited (usually anywhere from 10 to 30 days depending upon the product, temperature, moisture, etc.). Consequently, our applications at the farm will not protect turf throughout the remainder of the season, once it has been transplanted.

Additionally, no insecticide provides control of the eggs. It is certainly possible that moths can lay eggs in the turf before it is harvested, as well as after it is installed. Therefore, new turf should be inspected daily. If you are not able to inspect the turf daily, a preventative application of an appropriate insecticide may be advisable after sod is installed. This application should protect the turf during the critical rooting period. Once turf is established, continue to be alert for the possibility of insect activity through fall. 

 

Armyworm Research

The following are two quotes from Dr. Rich Brandenburg of N.C. State University and Dr. Bert McCarty of Clemson University:

Dr. Rick Brandenburg: “Fall armyworms don’t typically lay a lot of eggs directly in the turf grass. Rather their eggs are laid on buildings, trees, sign posts, metal structures, etc. Then once the small caterpillars hatch, they begin their migration. The thought that a lot of eggs came in with the sod is probably not correct.” “One important consideration to keep in mind when sod is placed at any site is that most infestations probably originate at that site. Remember that the eggs are not commonly laid on the turf, but on objects nearby. Any infestation that begins to show up several weeks after the sod was laid most likely was the result of caterpillars moving into the area after they hatched from adjacent areas.”

Dr. Bert McCarty: “Since armyworm larvae and adults are so mobile, it is very difficult to ascertain the exact origin of an infestation. Sod farms treat for insects just like golf courses, as sod farms cannot afford damaged grass prior to harvest. It is most likely the armyworm moths you experienced were transported by weather, or eggs were already deposited on the property, or the larvae marched onto the property from adjacent turf areas and not from the sod you bought.” 

For more info visit https://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/insects/fall-armyworm-in-turf/

 

Southern Sodgrass and Landscape Supply can help you get the “greenest” lawn in your neighborhood. We serve most of central North Carolina, contact us today for more information about our sod products and to schedule a delivery day and time. You can reach us at (336) 996-4SOD that’s (336) 996-4763.

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