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 Turf Diseases and Pests

Fungal Diseases: There are basically 4 turf diseases which are may damage lawns in the Tulsa area—Spring dead spot in Bermuda, zoysia large patch, brown patch in tall fescue and dollar spot in several grasses. Each of these diseases are caused by separate fungi and have different appearances and times of development.

 

A fairly common contributing factor to all of these is that they tend to develop more often when turf is stressed. In addition to water and temperature factors,  fertilization of lawns at the wrong time, especially just before a period of dormancy, contributes to diseases. Chemical control is very complicated and many times requires the use of professional applicators who have access to the best fungicides.

 

EPP-7658: Dollar Spot of Turfgrass

EPP-7324: Large Patch (Zoysia Patch) of Warm-Season Turfgrasses

 

EPP-7665: Spring Dead Spot of Bermudagrass

 

Pest e-alert OSU: brown patch in fescue

 

Insects: There are a number of insect pests which may be problematic in homeowner lawns such as white grubs, grasshoppers, ticks and chiggers and many more. These are outlined in the reference below with suggested treatments.

 

Epp-7306: Ornamental and Lawn Pest Control (for Homeowners)

 

White grubs are larvae of several types of scarab beetles. These grubs can feed on the roots of grasses and cause significant damage. However, they rarely feed on Bermuda lawns; they prefer fescue. The problem seems to be worse in other parts of the country than the Tulsa area. OSU does not recommend the routine application of insecticides for grubs unless a problem is clearly documented or there is good reason to anticipate an infection from past experience. The OSU reference below discusses the criteria for white grub treatment along with the when and with what to use.

 

OSU Pest Management: White grubs

 

Moles: Moles are at the top of the pest list for homeowners. Their tunnels can be very unsightly and damaging to turf. Tunneling is the only damage they do, they do not eat any plants or their roots, they only eat insects. Over 90% of their diet is thought to be earthworms. They do eat some white grubs, but controlling grubs with insecticides will not control moles, as once thought. See the reference below for details of how to control with either traps or poison gel-worm baits. Moles are difficult to control.

 

"I've Got Moles, What Should I Do?

 

FSA-9095: Controlling the Eastern Mole

 

Gophers: Gophers, unlike moles, do eat plants—especially their roots. They can be very destructive as well as creating unsightly mounds of freshly dug soil. They have deep tunnels, but none that are visible. If you see mounds of soil with no tunnels, it's likely due to gophers. If you have visible tunnels in your lawn, you have moles. Several types of poison baits as well as traps are very effective for control.

NREM-9001: Controlling Pocket Gophers