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Turf disease and insects

Turf Disease & PestsIdentification

  1. Can you recognise a disease or insect damage in your turf?
  2. Did you know that there are many ways in which you can damage your turf?

If you are interested in knowing about the problems that affect your turf, the Rolawn Information Centre can provide useful information.

General Descriptions

Turf diseases - Most turf diseases are caused by an imbalance or reaction in the natural fungi population present in all fine turf. For the most part, fungi do not cause disease. In fact, for most of their life they help degrade thatch. Fungi cause disease in turf when two events occur:

  1. The weather is conducive to disease.
  2. The plant is susceptible to infection.

Each disease in turf, and there are many, develops under different conditions. Some diseases develop in the spring, some in the summer, and others in the winter months. Fortunately, diseases that can kill your turf are fairly rare and those that are more common are not very damaging. While there are many different diseases, the Turf Pest & Disease section describes the most common or destructive ones. The best defence against disease development is to select those grass varieties with the greatest disease resistance. Rolawn takes great care and pride in selecting their turf seed. The next best action to minimise disease development is to take good care of your turf. Well managed turf will not only develop less disease, but it can recover from disease faster. While diseases in turf are not common, they are natural and will occasionally develop. The first and most important step to take is to identify which disease is attacking your turf. If you are not familiar with diseases, ask an expert. The Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) is the leading agronomy organisation in the UK; you can visit their website at www.stri.co.uk.

Turf insects - There are many insects that feed on turf, but most do not cause great damage. Insect damage and identification of insects is usually a job for an expert. In general, insect damage will cause your turf to turn yellow and slow down in growth, but these same symptoms can be caused by other problems as well. Other insects simply live in the turf or soil and cause the turf little harm. If you think you have an insect problem, consult an expert before you take action.

How you can damage turf

It may surprise you to learn this, but humans cause more problems to turf than all the diseases and insects combined. For example, walking, running, sports, horses, dogs and bicycles all cause wear to turf. When turf is worn, it becomes weak and more susceptible to disease and other forms of damage. Pavements, driveways and buildings can have an effect on turf. These structures can cause turf to heat up, or they can collect a lot of water and salts (used to melt snow), which can reduce the growth of turf.

Remember: Turf was developed to be beautiful to look at and fun to use, but to ensure these pleasures, you must take care of it.