Centipedegrass Fungus – Effective Control

Q: What is the best thing I can do to control centipedegrass fungus effectively? This past summer was a nightmare. My lawn company tried to treat it with liquid fungicide and the fungus came right back. I got some granular fungicide and the grass survived through the summer. What can I do to avoid a repeat performance?

A: The key is to correctly identify the fungus and to be absolutely SURE the problem is caused by a fungus, not overwatering or mowing too high. In my experience, centipedegrass rarely needs irrigation and it is often mowed higher than the recommended one and one-half inches. Either of these can cause centipede decline.

Lawn fungicides are not equal; some chemicals control some diseases and some products control others. If your company mis diagnosed your problem (do any of the employees have a plant pathology background?) that could explain why their treatment failed.

I can sometimes identify fungal problems by their described symptoms. Occasionally, though, symptoms are confused with problems caused by environmental conditions that no amount of fungicide can fix.
Your best bet is to closely follow the centipedegrass maintenance instructions at the University of Georgia’s Centipede Lawn page. Wait until the first disease symptoms occur next year, then take a sample to your local Extension office ((404) 897-6261) to be sent to the UGA plant pathology lab.

I know this seems like a lot of trouble, but if you want to get to the bottom of the situation, it’s the course you have to follow.

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