Spring Turfgrass Report

We’ve received several calls and emails recently expressing concern about poor turfgrass green-up conditions. We reached out to UGA Extension Specialist, Dr. Clint Waltz, for his opinion:

“Aeration and patience would be suggested. Over the past 7 to 10 days environmental conditions have finally become favorable for growth of warm-season species. Considering April 2018 was the coldest April since 1997 , delayed green-up is not a surprise. Looking at the forecast for the next 7 to 10 days, growth of warm-season grasses should be expected and now is a good time to consider aeration to stimulate stolons and rhizomes to initiate new growth.

I am aware of NCSU Dr. Grady Miller’s observations and comments regarding cold temperature damage in North Carolina. For lawns in Georgia, I have not observed or been notified (e.g. email, text, etc.) of similar widespread cold related injury. Even in coastal areas that had abnormal snowfall this past winter, St. Augustinegrass and centipedegrass are recovering, albeit slow. Relative to the previous 16 years I have been at UGA, I would consider the 2018 spring green-up in the Atlanta /North Georgia area as “normal”.

Disease (e.g. Large Patch) is common during spring green-up, especially for zoysiagrass, centipedegrass, and St. Augustinegrass. The cooler temperatures and wet conditions of March and April may have exacerbated incidences of disease this spring but disease is not “cold damage”.”

Dr. Waltz will continue to observe turfgrass the next few weeks and provide updates.

Contact Dr. Waltz @ cwaltz@uga.edu

Pest Alert: February Monitoring for Granulate Ambrosia Beetle

Granulate ambrosia beetle, Xylosandrus crassiusculus (Mot.) [Previously known as the Asian ambrosia beetle]

Introduction: Granulate ambrosia beetle (Fig. 1) is a serious pest of woody trees and shrubs in Georgia. These tiny beetles were first detected in South Carolina in the 1970’s and have spread across the southeastern US.

Host plants: Woody ornamental nursery plants and fruit trees are commonly affected. In spring or even in late winter (around mid-February), a large number of beetles can emerge and attack tree species, especially when they are young. Some highly susceptible tree species include Styrax, dogwood, redbud, maple, ornamental cherry, Japanese maple, crepe myrtle, pecan, peach, plum, persimmon, golden rain tree, sweet gum, Shumard oak, Chinese elm, magnolia, fig, and azalea.

Biology: The female beetles land on the bark of woody trees. Then, they bore through the soft wood and vascular tissues (xylem vessels and phloem) of the tree. They settle in the heartwood and begin making galleries. Eggs are laid in these galleries. Adults introduce a symbiotic fungi into the galleries as a food source for the developing larvae. Click here to read more.

How to Reduce Worm Castings In Your Lawn

Question: I’m having a bad problem with worm castings in my lawn. The turf is turning a lumpy, muddy mess. What can I do?

Of the more than 200 species of earthworms in North America, the common night crawler (Lumbricus terrestris) is most likely to be causing your problem. They are a dominant species in temperate regions and play a big role in the breakdown of organic matter and the development of soil.

Night crawlers produce deep vertical underground burrows and feed on organic matter mainly on the soil surface. As they excavate their burrows, these worms consume mineral soil and litter. They excrete their fecal matter, or casts, in mounds on the soil surface. Researchers estimate that earthworms carry 20 to 25 tons of soil per acre up to the surface each year. Click here to read more

Landscape conifers still suffering drought stress despite recent rains

Although Georgia has received rainfall over the past few weeks, most of the state is still in a drought. The rain has improved the situation, but whether the rainfall will continue is uncertain.

Many plants have sustained damage and died as a result of the continued dry conditions in the fall. Much of the state received little or no rain from early August until December. Read more

Aerification: Restoring Turfgrass Carbohydrate Reserves

Dr. Clint Waltz, Extension Turfgrass Specialist with the University of Georgia, reports that hot temperatures and low rainfall in the fall of 2016 likely sent warm-season turfgrasses into winter dormancy with depleted carbohydrate reserves. During “normal” circumstances warm-season turfgrasses accumulate and store carbohydrates from late summer through early fall.  Read more

Mosquito Control Treatments From Lawn Care and Pest Control Companies Are a Must to Help Halt the Spread of the Zika Virus

To date, there have been recorded cases of the Zika virus in all states except Alaska and Wyoming. While most cases are travel related, there have been 43 natively contracted cases reported in Florida. If the migration of infected Aedes species mosquitoes is not halted, that number is likely to increase, if not this season, then definitely next. Read more

Sustainability in the Landscape

Sustainability is arguably, one of the hottest buzz words being used today. By Wikipedia’s definition, sustainability is “the ability of an ecosystem to maintain ecological processes, functions, biodiversity and productivity into the future.” In the vernacular of the peasantry it means: do we have the ability to replenish our natural resources quicker than we use them?

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Managing the Growing Cost of Water

Water is critical to a healthy landscape but too much or ineffective distribution can be detrimental to plant material and turf or just be a waste of money and one of our most precious natural resources. Irrigation systems are a way to supplement natural rainfall but are not meant to completely take its place. With the ever increasing cost of water and the ever decreasing supply, it is imperative that we use it wisely.

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Landscaping In The “Dog Days”

It’s the time of year when you’re just about to give up on the yard. The heat is so oppressive that not only can you not stand to be outside but, your plants and grass can’t stand it either. The only thing that seems to thrive now is the weeds!

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