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12 Jan 2018

Gray Leaf Spot: Keep your St. Augustine Sod Healthy & Beautiful

Gray leaf spot on turfgrass

By Jim Kerns, Ph.D.

Gray leaf spot (GLS) is caused by the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae and is a destructive disease of St. Augustinegrass, perennial ryegrass, kikuyugrass, and tall fescue. The disease was problematic in the late 1990s and early 2000s, especially in the northern transition zone and Mid-Atlantic US. The disease seems to be increasing in incidence in recent years, especially on newly planted tall fescue and perennial ryegrass swards. Research demonstrated that seedlings are most susceptible to gray leaf spot 4 to 5 weeks after emergence, thus the disease has been a challenge for those that overseed with perennial ryegrass or in tall fescue sod production.

The disease is most severe when temperatures are between 82 and 90 degrees F, so the disease could potentially develop in any area of the US if conditions are conducive. Typically, gray leaf spot is prevalent south of Interstate 80. Conditions favoring disease development are warm, humid weather. Specifically only 9 hours of continual leaf wetness when air temperatures are between 82 and 90 degrees. When temperatures are lower (68 to 75 F) 21 to 36 hours of leaf wetness is required for infection. Basically fungal infection is strictly tied to humidity especially in the eastern US. For example, in North Carolina the disease is first observed in July on tall fescue and the disease may continue even into October if conditions remain favorable for infection. Gray leaf spot subsides after a heavy frost.

Symptoms on warm-season hosts such as St. Augustinegrass and kikuyugrass initially develop as small brown spots on leaves and stems. The spots can enlarge rapidly into round or oblong spots and lesions. Spots can extend across the entire leaf and leaves with numerous spots often die. The spots are tan to gray and have a purple or brown margin. As the disease progresses, stand symptoms appear as a general thinning or scorched similar to drought stress.

In perennial ryegrass and tall fescue, symptoms initially appear as small water-soaked spots that quickly turn necrotic. The spots vary in color, size and shape, but are regularly gray to light brown in the center of the spot surrounded by a purple to dark brown boarder. The spots are often oblong in shape and old spots may have a yellow halo. As the disease progresses, entire leaves are blighted and may have a fish hook appearance. Stand symptoms typically develop as small patches and may resemble dollar spot or Pythium blight. Mycelium will not be present with gray leaf spot during dew formation in the morning. The small patches can rapidly expand under favorable conditions and can be confused with brown patch. Under intense disease pressure, large swards of turf maybe killed leaving behind resistant plants or weeds. Gray leaf spot stand symptoms in perennial ryegrass and tall fescue may also mimic heat or drought stress. Gray leaf spot is difficult to diagnose in the field. If GLS is suspected consider submitting a sample to a diagnostic lab for confirmation.

How to manage

Gray leaf spot can be managed using a number of factors. Many perennial ryegrass varieties have some resistance to gray leaf spot. Consult the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program website (http://www.ntep.org/) or with your local turfgrass extension specialist to determine what variety might be best suited to your environment. Minimizing leaf wetness is another critical management strategy for gray leaf spot. Relative humidity and leaf wetness are necessary for infection; therefore irrigating during the morning is paramount for disease management. Mowing to remove excess leaf tissue can limit the spread of the disease as will clipping collection. Fertilization should be maintained to promote vigorous growth. The gray leaf spot fungus produces a lot of spores and a healthy, growing plant is the best way to combat this disease.

Fungicides are also effective and in many cases necessary to fend off gray leaf spot. The QoIs (Heritage, Insignia, Compass and Disarm) are effective when the fungal population has not developed resistance. Sadly, most populations have already developed resistance to this class of chemistry rendering them ineffective. Other effective products include thiophanate-methyl, chlorothalonil and combination products such as Headway, Concert, Lexicon and Armada.

In a recent trial conducted in NC, we demonstrated that thiophanate-methyl successfully controlled gray leaf spot under intense disease pressure. Unfortunately in our trial, the QoIs failed to control GLS and some of the other products struggled to suppress GLS. Given the propensity for resistance with this fungus, a rotation of products is warranted. It is also important to note that chlorothalonil cannot be used in residential lawns. In tall fescue, brown patch is still the major limiting factor therefore applications of QoIs are needed to suppress it. As temperatures increase and relative humidity increases, mixing thiophanate methyl in with brown patch applications may be necessary to limit GLS development. In severe cases of the disease applications every 7 to 14 days maybe necessary and fungicide rotations are critical when fungicides are applied at this frequency.

Jim Kerns, PhD, is Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University.

09 Sep 2016

What’s New in Landscaping

Houzz.com recently released their 2016 landscaping study. The study highlights emerging trends in residential landscaping and some of the motivating factors that influence homeowner’s choices. We thought we would share some of the more interesting statistics that may give you some ideas for your own landscape.

Lawns are getting smaller. 47% of outdoor renovators are reducing the size of their lawn or removing it altogether. The main motivators for this are to update their outdoor design and reduce maintenance. The top products that are replacing lawn space are hardscapes, like walkways and patios, garden beds, ground cover and mulch.

82% of homeowners report upgrading outdoor systems, like irrigation and lighting. Many are embracing the new high-tech systems available such as motion-sensitive lighting, perception-sensitive irrigation and even connected plant sensors. Outdoor lighting is of particular interest. LED lighting is rising in popularity and, while many choose to illuminate the architecture of their home, the main reason given for outdoor lighting is ambiance and creating an enjoyable space.

52% of homeowners enlisted the help of a landscape contractor and/or landscape architect for their outdoor projects. Homeowners prioritize style, comfort, and beauty in outdoor design. A trusted landscape architect like Indigo Landscaping & Construction can help you create the perfect outdoor space while improving the value of your home. The best thing is we take care of all the details, from design to construction to outdoor systems, so your whole space works together.

About Indigo Landscaping and Construction
Indigo Landscaping & Construction, Inc. is a full service, design/build-landscaping company located in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Led by President and co-founder, Robert Steuer, a landscape architect with more than 30 years experience, their capabilities include site planning, soil quality, storm water management, recreation planning and landscape design that integrates “hard” (build) and “soft” (planted) materials. The company has extensive experience along the Grand Strand in residential, commercial, and governmental landscape projects.
For more information about Indigo Landscaping and Construction visit them online at http://www.indigolandscapingsc.com or call (843) 235-0824.

19 Aug 2016

Fall Is A Great Time For Landscaping

While most of us grew up learning that spring is the time to plant, there are several reasons why fall is the better planting season.  Roots grow best when the soil is between 55 and 75 degrees.  Here in the Grand Strand area we are fortunate to enjoy warm or pleasant temperatures for most of the year.  September and October provide ideal temperatures to give trees, shrubs and perennials plenty of time to grow before winter.  Fall is also the season when the rate of water loss from trees and shrubs is at a minimum.

 

Even in the winter season, coastal South Carolina temperatures are generally mild compared to the Northern states.  As temperatures begin to slowly cool, our plants will begin to go dormant, however our climate is still warm enough that our plants continue to produce energy to send to their roots.  By summer they have had months to establish healthy growth and be ready for the hot and dry days to follow.

Spring planted foliage, particularly perennials, can take two or three seasons to reach their full size while those planted in the fall can reach full size the first year.

 

Sometimes the challenge of deciding which plants to put where can seem a little daunting.  A professional landscaper can help you with the design of your outdoor space.  They know which plants will thrive best in the sun or the shade, which trees will grow to provide shade, and which bushes will work best out in the yard to screen a neighbor or small and trim to enhance a walkway.  A good landscaper can take away the stress and confusion of making all those decisions.
So as the days grow shorter and the cool breezes float in, pick up your shovel, grab your gardening gloves and update your landscaping.  Or give Indigo Landscaping & Construction a call and we’ll take care of it for you.  Either way, come spring you will have a beautiful surprise.

12 Aug 2016

Choose the Landscape Architect that is Right for You

You choose the professionals you work with carefully: your banker, your attorney, and your accountant – even your hairdresser. It only makes sense that you would choose your landscape architect just as mindfully.

With years of education and hands-on experience, the landscape architect is equipped to transform your outdoor living space into an outdoor oasis. Not only do they make your home more livable today, but also statistics show that homes that have been professionally landscaped generate between 15-20 percent more at the time of sale. That’s a significant difference.

So how do you choose a landscape architect?

• Do your homework

Look around your immediate area for properties that you find aesthetically pleasing. Chances are, a landscape architect was the mastermind. Ask the homeowner or property owner for the name of the professional that was responsible. Dig deeper. Is the professional listed on Houzz? Do they have a bio on Linked In? Take time to visit their website. Here you will find their credentials, project examples, before and after photos, and if they are really good, videos of their work

• Schedule an initial consultation

If you like what you see from your preliminary research, you are ready to move forward with an initial consultation. This is a great opportunity for you to really get to know the person you will work with. Since you are establishing an on-going relationship, it is important that you choose someone you can talk to, and even more importantly, someone who listens. If you have ideas, jot them down. If you have questions about how the job will be done, the timeline or even the price, don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t however expect an on-the-spot proposal and don’t assume that the initial consultation is free. Ask before making the appointment. Many professionals charge a minimum fee that is applied to future services. Keep in mind that the real purpose of this first meeting is to establish a dialogue and discuss the scope of the work to be performed.

• Check references

During your initial meeting, share ideas about how you would like your landscaping to look. Ask to see examples of similar projects, but understand that no two projects are alike. Be sure to ask for references. It is by talking with other homeowners that you can get a true indication of the individual’s dependability and professionalism.

• Start early

It’s never too early to start planning your landscape. In fact, fall and winter are two of the more favorable seasons. Here along the coast, that’s especially true. Our temperate climate will allow you, along with your landscape architect time to review plans, prepare the soil, and select plants to ensure that you are ready when spring rolls around. A beautiful lawn doesn’t just happen. It takes planning and it takes time.


About Indigo Landscaping and Construction
Indigo Landscaping & Construction, Inc. is a full service, design/build-landscaping company located in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Led by President and co-founder, Robert Steuer, a landscape architect with more than 30 years experience, their capabilities include site planning, soil quality, storm water management, recreation planning and landscape design that integrates “hard” (build) and “soft” (planted) materials. The company has extensive experience along the Grand Strand in residential, commercial, and governmental landscape projects.
For more information about Indigo Landscaping and Construction visit them online at http://www.indigolandscapingsc.com or call (843) 235-0824.

12 Aug 2016

A Landscape Architect – Not Your Average ‘Yard Guy’

We’re all familiar with the yard guy who pulls up with a truck full of equipment and sets to work mowing, pruning and sometimes even planting and fertilizing. What then is the difference between your yard guy and a landscape architect? In one word, ‘design’.

With years of education and hands-on experience under his belt, the landscape architect is equipped to transform an outdoor space into an outdoor oasis. From the palmettos to the pool, it all starts with a vision that comes to fruition through knowledge of the soil, weather conditions and irrigation along with spatial limitations.

The landscape architect works hand in hand with the homeowner to make the vision come to life. It’s important to understand the ‘landscape’’ before the ‘landscaping’ actually begins. In new construction, the landscape architect is invaluable, working with your contractor to potentially save you thousands of dollars and years of heartache. The key is to involve him/her early in the process–long before the pool is installed and trees are randomly planted.

As in anything else, planning is key. Important considerations before breaking out the sketchpad include:

Defining your needs

  • Enhancing your enjoyment of the property
  • Providing a safe and user-friendly environment for children and pets
  • Saving resources such as energy and/or water
  • Increasing the value of your property

Landscape that will support your outdoor activities

  • A place to entertain friends and family
  • A play area for children
  • Nurturing your green thumb with a vegetable or flower garden
  • A quiet spot to seek repose

Features you want to include

  • Outdoor kitchen
  • Water feature
  • Pool/spa
  • BBQ console
  • Fire pit

Materials you would like to incorporate

  • Brick/stone/tile
  • Stained concrete
  • Sod or artificial turf
  • Wood/wrought iron/or other

Themes for you outdoor living area

  • English garden
  • Mediterranean villa
  • Urban oasis
  • Tropical paradise

A landscape architect is uniquely trained to help you answer these questions and to provide a realistic budget. Like any professional, their services are not free but well worth the investment. Just how much should you spend? A good rule of thumb is to allocate between 10 and 20 percent of your home’s value on landscaping.

Statistics show that homes that have been professionally landscaped generate between 15-20 percent more at the time of sale than those lacking landscaping, and that homeowners are able to recoup between 100 and 200 percent of their expenditure. Now that’s what we call a beautiful investment.

About Indigo Landscaping and Construction
Indigo Landscaping & Construction, Inc. is a full service, design/build-landscaping company located in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Led by President and co-founder, Robert Steuer, a landscape architect with more than 30 years experience, their capabilities include site planning, soil quality, storm water management, recreation planning and landscape design that integrates “hard” (build) and “soft” (planted) materials. The company has extensive experience along the Grand Strand in residential, commercial, and governmental landscape projects.

For more information about Indigo Landscaping and Construction visit them online at http://www.indigolandscapingsc.com or call (843) 235-0824.