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Warm season turf has a difficult time in fall and spring making the transition from growing to dormant and back to actively growing again. We often see diseases in turf in spring and fall. Proper disease identification and control practices are important in managing turf disease. Here are some references that can help you with turf disease control.
Turfgrass Diseases in Georgia: Identification and Control - This publication is a comprehensive guide to identifying and controlling turfgrass diseases in Georgia.
Turfgrass Diseases: Quick Reference Guide - For eleven major diseases, this Guide lists:
- Causal agent
- Susceptible turfgrasses
- Conditions promoting disease
- Symptoms and Control
Guide to Turfgrass Fungicides - This publication is a guide to common turfgrass diseases and chemical controls. One of the tools in this publication is a chart on Efficacy of Turfgrass Fungicides which allows turf managers to select the fungicide which best controls each disease.
Abiotic Injuries and Disorders of Turfgrasses in Georgia - Turfgrass stands can be injured and damaged by biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) agents. Determining whether the condition is caused by a biotic or an abiotic agent can be challenging.
Identification and Control of Spring Dead Spot in Georgia
Ten Steps to a Healthier Home Lawn - The key to disease control is a healthy plant. These management practices will help achieve vigorous, healthy turf and reduce turfgrass disease problems.
Georgia Turf – This website has numerous resources for pest management and culture of all major turf types in Georgia.
Past Landscape Alerts on turf topics – Topics include turf diseases.
Turfgrass Pest Control Recommendations for Professionals – Find pesticide recommendations and other information.
Turfgrass Management Smartphone App - Turfgrass Management is a comprehensive application that contains pictures, information, and recommendations for managing turf weeds, diseases, and insects.
For further information contact your local County Extension Office – (800) ASK-UGA1!
Fall is time to fight fire ants, says a University of Georgia entomologist. “April and September are good times to apply baits, once at the start of the season and toward the end to help control before they come back in the spring,” said Will Hudson, a professor with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Fire ants are most active in warm weather. Fire ant season can last 10 to 11 months out of the year in the most southern areas of Georgia. Controlling ant colonies before they produce a mound is important. However, Hudson says that once a treatment program is in effect, timing is not all that important.
Baits and sprays
The general rule of thumb is if the area is one acre or less, don’t use baits. Re-infestation is more likely from colonies outside of the yard when baits are used.
One important thing to remember is the difference between ‘no mounds’ and ‘no ants.’ “There is a difference between eliminating ants and controlling them,” he said. “Baits do not eliminate ants because there is no residual control. A new colony can still come in and be unaffected by the bait laid down prior to their arrival.”
To eliminate mounds completely, apply baits every six months, Hudson said. “There will be invasion in the meantime, and you will still have fire ants, just not enough to create a new mound,” he said.
Hudson recommends treating lawns smaller than an acre with a registered insecticide in a liquid solution. This should rid the lawn of fire ants for one to three months. If you choose a granular product, measure carefully to be sure you apply the correct amount of material and get good, even coverage, he said.
The least effective treatment option for most people is individual mound treatments, according to Hudson. Treating mounds in general is going to be an exercise of frustration, and killing an entire colony by treating just the mound is a challenge, he said.
Baits are considered to have minimal environmental effects for those who chose not to use hazardous chemicals. Once the bait is out, there is hardly anytime for anything to come in contact with it before the ants get to it.
Nonchemical options include using steam or boiling water. “We recommend using boiling water to treat a mound near an area such as a well where you do not want any chemicals,” Hudson said. “Using hot water is very effective, but the problem is you are not always able to boil the water right next to the area you want treated.” Carrying the boiling water can inflict serious burns, so extreme caution should be used when treating with this method.
There are products on the market that are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and labeled as organic. Hudson says organic designation is a “slippery” definition. There is an official USDA certification and many states have their own set of regulations when labeling a product as organic. This labeling can mean the product is either a natural product or derived from a natural product. “While there are a few products that qualify as organic, with most baits the actual amount of pesticide applied is minimal,” he said.
Hudson says to be careful when choosing a product because the labels can be confusing, even deceptive, and it is difficult to make the right choice. For assistance in selecting a product, contact your local UGA Cooperative Extension agent.
“The most important thing to remember is that you need to be realistic in your expectations,” Hudson said. “If you are treating mounds, you need to be prepared. You are going to chase the mounds around the yard.”
For more information on selecting a control measure:
Image credit - Jake Farnum, Bugwood.org