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Southern Chinch Bug – The southern chinch bug is an insect pest of St. Augustinegrass turf throughout the southern United States. This tiny pest, rarely measuring over 6 mm in length, causes millions of dollars in damage per year, as homeowners seek to control chinch bug outbreaks by applying insecticides and replacing damaged grass. For this reason, much research has focused on the development of a more economic and effective mode of control, although pesticide application remains the most popular method today. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in383

Tropical Sod Webworm – Tropical sod webworm larvae are destructive pests of warm season turfgrasses in the southeastern US, especially on newly established sod, lawns, athletic fields, and golf courses. Larval feeding damage reduces turfgrass aesthetics, vigor, photosynthesis and density. The first sign of damage is often caused by differences in grass height in areas where larvae are feeding. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in968


Mole Cricket – There are three important species of mole crickets that are economically damaging. They are the tawny mole cricket, southern mole cricket, and short-winged mole cricket. The short-winged mole cricket is known to occur only in discrete areas of Florida, whereas tawny and southern mole crickets are found throughout the coastal southeast. Bahiagrass, centipedegrass and bermudagrass are the preferred host plants; however, St. Augustinegrass now sustains severe damage from the activity of tawny mole crickets. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1021

White Grub – When white grubs feed on grass roots, the grass gradually thins, yellows, and dies. This makes the grass feel soft and spongy. Scattered, irregular, brown patches of grass appear, which increase in size over time. The root injury reduces the turf’s ability to take up water and nutrients and withstand drought stress. Heavily infested grass pulls up easily. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh037


Large Patch/Brown Patch Fungus – All warm-season turfgrasses, especially St. Augustinegrass and zoysiagrass, can be affected. This disease is most likely to be observed from November through May when temperatures are below 80°F. It is normally not observed in the summer months. Infection is triggered by rainfall, excessive irrigation, or extended periods of high humidity resulting in the leaves being continuously wet for 48 hours or more. The fungus infects the leaf area closest to the soil, eventually killing the leaf. A soft, dark rot occurs at the base of the leaf and leaves can easily be pulled off the stem. The base of a pulled leaf has a rotted odor. Roots are not affected by this pathogen. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh044

Dollar Spot – Dollar spot is a fungal disease that affects turfgrasses in Florida. It starts by causing tan-colored lesions on individual leaf blades. As the disease progresses, it creates round, straw-colored patches in the grass that start out the size of silver dollars, but can spread up to six inches or more in diameter. Dollar spot is mainly a problem from fall through spring, especially in grasses that aren’t getting sufficient nitrogen. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ag145


Gray Leaf Spot Disease – The frequent warm, rainy periods common in Florida create favorable conditions for this fungal disease. This fungus slows grow-in, thins established stands, and can kill large areas of St. Augustinegrass turf. In Florida, St. Augustinegrass is the only warm season turfgrass affected by this important disease. The most diagnostic disease symptom is an oblong leaf spot. The center of the leaf spot may have a gray, felt-like growth of sporulation (formation of spores) after extended periods of warm, moist conditions. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh047

Rust – In the plant world, rust is the common name for several fungal diseases that affect turfgrasses like zoysia and St. Augustine. The first sign of a rust infection is typically small white, yellow or orange spots that appear on the leaves, typically during the cooler months. As the disease advances, the leaves may develop lesions that turn yellow, brown, or even black, and may eventually fall off.   https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh051


Slime Mold – Although black or white streaks are shocking when they appear on an otherwise healthy lawn, the incidence of slime mold is rarely harmful. Slime mold is actually caused by the small round fruiting bodies of a special type of fungi which are regularly present in the soil. It usually appears on warm humid days in late spring or early summer after extended periods of rain. —“Slime Mold: Only a Cosmetic Problem.”   https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_turf_diseases


Fairy Rings/Mushrooms – especially the mushrooms, are most commonly observed during the summer months. It is during this time of year when Florida receives the majority of its rainfall. Fairy rings occur when large quantities of organic matter, such as lumber, tree stumps, and logs, are naturally located or have been buried in a lawn. The fungi are nourished and develop on this material. The mushrooms, which can be all sizes and shapes, are the fruiting stages of these fungi. Mushrooms are normally produced during rainy weather. Some of the mushrooms are poisonous, so mushrooms should be removed or destroyed. Chopping them up with the mower is usually adequate. Further measures, such as collecting the mushrooms and disposing of them in the garbage, may be necessary if children or pets are present. All warm-season turfgrasses can be affected. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh046

Take-all Root Rot – With a summer full of rain, Florida homeowners need to be on the lookout for take-all root rot. This fungus naturally occurs on the roots of turf year-round in many lawns, but only becomes a problem with prolonged periods of rain or when a lawn is stressed. The initial symptoms appear on the roots, but you’re unlikely to notice them. If the turf is not being correctly watered, fertilized, or mowed, symptoms will begin to show above-ground as irregular yellow or light-green patches. Then the grass will begin to thin and die. By this time, the damage is done, so your best bet is prevention. Avoid overwatering and fertilizing too much or too often.  https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh079

Pythium Root Rot This is a root rot disease. The symptoms observed on the leaves are the result of fungal activity on the root system. The aboveground symptom is typically a nonspecific decline in turf quality. Small or large turf areas become a general yellow, light green, or brown color and display thinning—a gradual decrease in density. However, the turf seldom dies from Pythium root rot, so no distinct patches are observed. Roots appear thin with few root hairs and have a general discoloration. Roots do not appear black and rotted as they are with take-all root rot. Microscopic examination of affected roots can determine if Pythium spp. are associated with the symptoms. Symptoms may appear at any time of the year, but they are always associated with wet soil conditions. Pythium root rot is a persistent problem in areas that are poorly drained or over-irrigated. All warm-season turfgrasses can be affected. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh050

Mosaic Disease of St. Augustinegrass Caused by Sugarcane Mosaic Virus Mosaic disease of St. Augustinegrass was first reported in the 1960s in sugarcane producing areas of Florida (rural Palm Beach County). The disease was named for the distinct symptom it produced. Differences in susceptibility among St. Augustinegrass cultivars were noted, and resistance was used to minimize the impact of the disease over the last 50 years. The mildest cases of the disease produce symptoms that are easily overlooked and generally are not cause for concern. Survey efforts in the 1970s did not find the virus in St. Augustinegrass in central or north central Florida. In the 10 years prior to 2013, fewer than five samples with mild symptoms were brought to the attention of the Extension turfgrass pathologist at UF. Plant host resistance is the best management tool for viral diseases. The most severe symptoms in this recent epidemic have been observed on ‘Floratam’ St. Augustinegrass.https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pp313

Red Imported Fire Ant – Two species of fire ants are found in Florida. Most notorious is Solenopsis invicta Buren, the red imported fire ant (RIFA), followed by the much less common S. geminata(Fabricius), the tropical or native fire ant. When a mound is disturbed, ants emerge aggressively to bite and sting the intruder. A white pustule usually appears the next day at the site of the sting. Fire ants frequently invade home lawns, school yards, athletic fields, golf courses, parks and other recreational areas. Two approaches can be taken to effectively manage imported fire ants. Single mound treatments or area-wide broadcast applications usually manage red imported fire ant populations. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in352

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