Take-All Root Rot of St. Augustinegrass


  • Jeff Michel
  • Jacob G Price


Take-All Root Rot, Gaeumannomyces graminis var. graminis, has recently emerged as a destructive disease in Georgia. The disease is a problem in many other southern states as well. Take-All Root Rot is most common in St. Augustinegrass lawns, but affects all warm season turfgrasses.


The naturally occurring pathogen first causes root damage which leads to noticeable symptoms such as yellowing leaf blades and dark roots (fig.1). In advanced stages (fig.2) the turf severely thins and begins dying in an irregular pattern. When the first disease symptoms are observed, the disease has been active for weeks. Dark, threadlike strands called hyphae along with anchoring structures called hyphopodia (fig. 3) can be seen under a dissecting microscope on the stolons, roots, and rhizomes of warm season grasses. The disease is primarily observed in spring and fall and is associated with high levels of moisture due to rainfall or irrigation.

Cultural Controls

If rainfall is not adequate and irrigation is used, water infrequently but deeply. Mow the turf at the correct height and remove only 1/3rd of the leaf blade per mowing. Core aerate to reduce thatch and relieve soil compaction. Use slow release fertilizers with equal amounts of nitrogen and potassium. Avoid high nitrogen applications in the fall. Texas A&M and UGA research has shown some benefit from applying ¼”of sphagnum peat moss or 2 pounds per thousand square feet of Manganese Sulfate. Avoid liming as the pathogen prefers a pH above 6.5. Avoid activities that stress turf such as herbicide applications. If turfgrass is not stressed, foliar symptoms may not be present.

Chemical Controls

This Disease is difficult to control and once advanced, there is no silver bullet. If Take-All Disease is known to be present, preventive fungicide applications may be of benefit after cultural controls have been implemented. Fungicides applied in early spring and fall such as Rubigan (fenarimol), Heritage (azoxystrobin), Banner Max (propiconazole), Bayleton (triadimefon), Cleary’s 3336 (thiophanate methyl), and Insignia (pyraclostrobin), may help control Take-All Root Rot. Apply these fungicides with 2.5-3.0 gallons of water, per thousand square feet to reach the root system or lightly water in the fungicide.




Ellen Bauske, Program Coordinator, UGA Center for Urban Agriculture, The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Center Publication Number: 8

The Amaryllis Weevil

Source(s): Jacob G Price


The Amaryllis Weevil, (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), is an exotic and yet un-described weevil that was first found in Amaryllis plants in Tampa, Florida in 1989. The weevil was first documented in Amaryllis in Lowndes County, Georgia in 2006. The weevil has also been reported to have damaged Crinum Lilies and Spider Lilies in Lowndes County.

Life Cycle

The adults, (fig. 1), may live up to two years, are shiny black, and measure 4mm in length and 2mm in width. Adults feed on foliage, but the most damage is from the larvae. Amaryllis Weevils lay eggs on the leaves which hatch and tunnel their way towards the bulb. The Amaryllis Weevil larvae, (fig.2), destroy bulbs by their feeding activity which usually begins at the base of the leaves and extends into the bulb (fig.3). With severe infestations the larvae will hollow out and destroy the bulbs. Larvae are believed to pupate in the surrounding soil and emerge as adults.


Adult weevils are believed to be weak flyers and are most likely spread from the transport of bulbs. Use caution when introducing new plants to your garden. In situations where infestations are severe, products containing imidacloprid (Bayer Advanced Tree & Shrub or Merit), should help control infestations. Removing all susceptible Amaryllis, Crinum Lilies, and Spider Lilies, for two years will also benefit.


Insect Pests of Ornamental Plants


  • Ellen Bauske, UGA Center for Urban Agriculture, The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
  • Randy Drinkard, UGA Center for Urban Agriculture, The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Center Publication Number: 274

Twig Girdler (Oncideres cingulata)

Source(s): Jacob G Price

Twig girdlers are beetles that emerge from late September to October and girdle limbs from 6-18 mm in diameter. The cut encircles the twig and is seldom complete, leaving a jagged edge in the center upon breaking off. They also can remove large patches of bark while feeding. Preferred host trees are the pecan, hickory, persimmon, elms, and hackberry. If populations are high they attack oaks, and sometimes fruit trees.

Twig Girdler

Description: Cylindrical, longhorn beetle with grayish-brown body and a broad ash gray band across the elytra. Eggs are elongate to oval, 2.5 mm long, and white. Pupa are legless grubs that reach 16-25 mm at maturity.

Biology: In Autumn, females girdle branches to provide a suitable medium for larval growth. Females insert 3-8 eggs into the bark or slightly into the wood of each girdled twig. The eggs hatch in three weeks but grow little until spring. Larvae feed inside the twig and emerge in the fall. The adults live 6-10 weeks and females lay from 50- 200 eggs each.

Control: Remove fallen twigs and stems from the ground and burn them to destroy the larvae. Imidacloprid will control certain borers. Although less effective, permethrins can be applied every three weeks as a barrier.


Insect Pests of Ornamental Plants

Center Publication Number: 72


Source(s): Jacob G Price

Crickets belong to the insect order Orthoptera, which also includes grasshoppers and katydids.

House cricket
House cricket


House Cricket – About 3/4″ long with 3 dark bands on the head and long thin antennae. Body is yellowish-brown. Active at night; remaining hidden during the day. Eats and drinks almost anything that is available. Enters homes during July – September.

Field Cricket – Larger than the house cricket. Dark brown to gray or blackish in color. Feeds on soil and other material. Prefers to live outdoors where they feed on soft plant parts, but moves indoors when conditions are unfavorable (excess heat, cold or rainfall). Attracted to lighted areas at night.

Camel Cricket – An occasional indoor pest. Usually found in damp and dark basements which have a partial dirt floor.


Visual sighting. House cricket will chew and damage silk, woolens, (particularly if soiled), paper, fruit and vegetables.


  1. Remove feeding and breeding (debris and high grass) sites outdoors.
  2. Exclusion: tighten screens, windows and doors, seal openings near ground level. Caulk cracks and other points of entry.
  3. Apply an insecticide containing one of the active chemicals: cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, orthoboric acid, permethrin, propetamphos, tetramethrin, or tralomethrin. Read the manufacturer’s label to determine if product may be used outdoors only or both indoors and outdoors. Follow manufacturer’s use instructions. Look for these products at garden centers and feed and seed stores.
  4. Use sticky-traps in attics, basements and other indoor spaces.

Center Publication Number: 17

Crape Myrtles

Source(s): Jacob G Price

Crape myrtles are one of the most commonly planted small flowering trees in Georgia. There are numerous cultivars and flower colors available. These durable landscape plants are also known for having attractive bark, drought tolerance, and site adaptability.


Photographer: Karen Russ, Location: Athens, GA, UGA Botanical Garden


Crape myrtles flower from late spring until late July, depending on the cultivar. Cultivars that flower from mid to late July are Sioux, Yuma, Cherokee, Carolina Beauty, Choctaw, and Powhatan. A second flush of flowers may be achieved during the growing season by pruning old flower heads. Crape myrtles should be planted in full sun and watered during drought for best flowering. Damage from insects and disease can cause plants not to flower.


Crape myrtles should be pruned in late winter. Avoid pruning in early fall. Crapes are most commonly pruned for a tree form with a multiple or single trunk. If possible avoid pruning branches larger than your finger. Pruning large branches disfigures and weakens the trees. Suckers should be removed. Naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) applied to suckers after pruning prevents re-sprouting. Crape myrtles can be pruned back to 6 inches from the ground for a shrub effect.

Insects and Diseases

Powdery mildew is the most widespread and serious disease of crape myrtles and is most active in the spring and fall. Powdery mildew can cover leaves, shoots, and flower buds causing leaf distortion and lack of flowering. This disease should be controlled when first noticed. Products such as Banner Max, Bayleton, Heritage, and Systhane are systemic controls. FungAway, Funginex, and Immunox are available for homeowner use. Aphids are the most common insect problem of crape myrtles. These insects produce honeydew on which unsightly black sooty mold grows. Aphids can be controlled with products containing pyrethrins, imidacloprid, cyfluthrin or Insecticidal soaps.


Center Publication Number: 60


Source(s): Jacob G Price

There are several species of crabgrass that are common weeds in turfgrass. They include, Blanket Crabgrass, India Crabgrass, Smooth Crabgrass, Tropical Crabgrass, Large Crabgrass, and Hairy Crabgrass.



All crabgrasses in this factsheet are summer annuals except India crabgrass which can sometimes be a perennial. Both India and Blanket crabgrass are mat forming with creeping stolons. Leaves are crowded on creeping stems. Leaf blades are about 1 inch long. Blanket crabgrass has hairy leaves and sheaths whereas India crabgrass has smooth leaves and sheaths. Both reproduce by stolons and seeds.

Preemergence Control

Preemergent control is the best way to control crabgrass. Examples of preemergent herbicides that can be used on Centipede, St. Augustine, Bermuda, and Zoysia grasses to control crabgrass are, Surflan (oryzalin), Balan and Crabgrass Preventer (benefin), Pendulum and Halts (pendimethalin). Team (benefin+trifluralin), and XL (benefin+oryzalin) can also be used. Do not use Pendulum or Halts on turf that has been severely thinned by winter injury. Apply these herbicides from February 15 to March 5 for best control.

Postemergence Control

In Centipede, use Vantage (sethoxydim). In St. Augustine, the only option is Atrazine for fair control on young weeds. Crabgrass killer (MSMA) can be used in Bermuda and Zoysia turf for good control.
Refer to and follow label instructions before using any of the above herbicides.


Center Publication Number: 68


Source(s): Jacob G Price


Chamberbitter is a summer annual weed that is commonly found in turfgrass and ornamentals that emerges in great numbers in July. It is native to Asia but found throughout Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Texas. It is in the spurge family and reproduces by numerous seeds which are found in the fruit attached to the underside of the branch.



Chamberbitter is a small erect plant with angled or grooved stems. The leaves are thin and have smooth margins. Leaves are also oblong and arranged in alternating rows of two on the branch. It is easily identified by the small round fruit on the undersides of the stems.

Control: Turfgrass

For centipedegrass and St. Augustinegrass, Gallery and Atrazine are labeled as a preemergence control. Apply between April and May. For postemergence control use Atrazine at recommended rates on St. Augustinegrass and Centipedegrass. Apply two applications spread three weeks apart. As an alternative, “Prompt’ (BASF, contains atrazine + bentazon),may be used at recommended rates. Again, two applications spread three weeks apart.

Control: Ornamentals

Preemergence options are Ronstar 2G, Snapshot, Factor, and Gallery. Apply in March and re-apply 2-3 months later. This is a difficult weed to control in ornamentals, therefore two applications of one or more of the above products will be necessary. Pre-emergence herbicides will not be totally effective. There are no postemergence over-the-top controls in ornamentals. Direct applications of Roundup Pro or Finale (without contact of ornamental foliage) along with supplemental hand-weeding will control this weed. Additionally, research has shown that chamberbitter seeds require light in order to germinate. An adequate layer of mulch will block sunlight and help to limit the presence of this weed in ornamentals.


Center Publication Number: 67

Virginia Buttonweed, can be Difficult to Control in Lawn and Landscape

Source(s): Jacob G Price

Virginia buttonweed is a low-growing, spreading weed that is difficult to control in lawn and landscape situations. It commonly grows in moist sites, such as woods and marshes, but can be especially troublesome in turfgrass areas.


Virginia Buttonweed Description:

A spreading perennial weed with slightly hairy, branched stems. Leaves are opposite and lance shaped. Opposite leaves are joined across the stem by a membrane. Virginia buttonweed has white tubular flowers with four lobes that are found at each leaf axil along the stem. This plant produces a green fruit that is elliptical, hairy and ridged and is also found at each leaf axil. Virginia buttonweed reproduces by seed as well as root and stem pieces. Leaves often turn mottled yellow in summer as a result of a virus.

Virginia Buttonweed Control in Turf:


If only a few plants are present, spot treat with Roundup or physically remove by digging. Remove all plant parts and soil, and replace with weed-free soil.

Post emergence:

Most herbicides only offer fair control(70-79%) and repeat applications are usually needed. Products containing 2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba, such as Weed-B-Gon and Weed Stop, are available at most garden centers and nurseries for use on bermuda, zoysia, centipede and fescue lawns. In centipedegrass and St. Augustine grass, premergence applications of atrazine (Bonus S) will help to control Virginia buttonweed plants that arise from seed, but will not effectively control plants that regrow from the roots. Always read the label when using herbicides and follow all ‘Directions for Use’ instructions. Refer to labels for specific rates for each type of grass. Be sure to keep these products away from nearby ornamental plants and do not re-seed or re-sod for at least 3 weeks. Virginia buttonweed flourishes in wet conditions; therefore, try to control excess water. Provide good drainage to areas infested with this weed.


At this time, no pre-emergence controls have been effective.

Virginia Buttonweed Control in Ornamentals:

Roundup (glyphosate) provides good control(80-89%). Take special care to prevent drift of Roundup to nearby desirable plants and turf.


Georgia Turf
Weed Management

Center Publication Number: 96

Butt Rot of Palm Trees

Source(s): Jacob G Price

Mature palms are the primary host for Ganoderma zonatum. G. zonatum is a lethal fungal disease in which there are no labeled fungicides. Infected palms are found in all situations and environments. The fungus is an increasing problem in Florida and has occurred in Georgia and South Carolina.

butt butt2

Symptoms/Signs of Infection

First symptom is wilting of older leaves and light green or yellow new leaves. The only positive confirmation of Ganoderma is formation of conks as shown above. Cross section of the trunk at the soil line reveals decay that is widest at the base and travels up the center of the trunk no more than five feet. The presence of any conk on a palm is probably G. zonatum.

Disease Dissemination

G. zonatum is thought to be spread by spores from conks of infected trees.

Disease Management

No fungicides are recommended for the disease. Remove and incinerate conks and the infected portions of the palm along with the stump and roots. Avoid wetting the palm base and mounding mulch next to the trunk. Soil fumigation may help remove spores. Palms should be monitored every six months where no infection has been found and monthly where the disease is confirmed. The length of time between infection and conk formation is not known therefore imported palms may carry the fungus.


Do not plant a palm where an infected palm was removed. No other plant species are infected with G. zonatum so replacement with any other plant material is acceptable.

Resource(s): Common Landscape Diseases In Georgia

Center Publication Number: 117

Boxelder Bugs


  • William F. Lyon: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2106.html
  • Jacob G Price

Boxelder bugs feed primarily on the seed-bearing boxelder trees by sucking sap from the leaves, tender twigs and developing seeds.

box2 box3


Adult boxelder bugs are flat, about 1/2 inch long, 1/3 inch wide and dark brownish-black with three lengthwise red stripes on the pronotum (area behind the head). Wings are thick and leathery at the base and membranous at the tip. There are red veins in the wings; the abdomen is bright red under the wings. The nymphs resemble the adults in shape except they are smaller, wingless and bright red. Eggs are red.

What Do They Damage?

Boxelder bugs, Leptocoris trivittatus, may become a nuisance, especially during the cool autumn months when they first cluster in large numbers on the sides of trees, houses and other structures. However, they do not damage buildings, clothing or food products, but may bite if handled carelessly. Indoors they may stain walls and curtains and produce a foul odor when crushed.

Living Habits

During the autumn months, adult and large nymph boxelder bugs congregate in large numbers, primarily on the bark of boxelder maples (Acer negundo) and then begin migrating to a place for over wintering. Only adults over winter, moving to hibernation sites either by crawling or flying.

These bugs hide in cracks and crevices in walls, in door and window casings, around foundations, in stone piles, in tree holes and in other protected places. On warm days during winter and early spring, they sometimes appear on light painted surfaces outdoors on the south and west sides of the house, resting in the sun. Over wintering adults leave their hibernating quarters with the coming of warm weather and females begin laying eggs in crevices of tree bark and on other objects near host plants. Hatching occurs in 14 days, with nymphs appearing about the same time that new tree leaves develop. In July, new adults lay eggs that result in a second generation by early autumn.

Boxelder bugs feed primarily on the seed-bearing boxelder trees by sucking sap from the leaves, tender twigs and developing seeds. Occasionally, they have been observed feeding on maple, ash, plum, cherry, apple, peach and grape, causing some scarring or dimpling of fruits. However, boxelder bugs seldom develop in large enough numbers to become a nuisance unless able to feed on pod-bearing boxelder trees. Apparently, they do little feeding damage to boxelder trees.

  • Be sure to repair and close openings where boxelder bugs can enter the house such as around doors and windows and through the foundation.
  • Eliminate potential hiding places such as piles of boards, rocks, leaves, grass and other debris close to the house.

Because these bugs breed only on female boxelder trees, removal of these trees would eliminate nuisance populations. If boxelder trees are needed for shade, ornamental beauty or other purposes, nurserymen should propagate by taking cuttings only from male trees.

Water at 165 to 180 degrees F applied directly on clusters of bugs will kill them. Avoid killing grass and other desirable plants with hot water. If hot water is not available, use a garden hose to wash away from doorways, carports and decks.

Chemical Control

Limited spraying with an aerosol pesticide labeled for crawling insects may be useful. Apply spray to outside doorsills, window ledges and doorsteps. Before using any insecticide, read the label and follow directions.

Resource(s): Insect Pests of Ornamental Plants

Center Publication Number: 34