THE OLD SIGN PHILOSOPHER, THOUGHT FOR THE DAY!

Gardening requires lots of water ....
mostly perspiration

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WHY SPRING GRASS IS YELLOW

Many calls and samples came in this past week concerning the yellowing of grass. There are many reasons for this and no simple reason in most cases. Historically there are more strange patterns and unusual symptoms of yellowing and uneven greening of turf in the early spring, than at any other time of the year! The following are some factors to look for and consider.

- Poa annua spring green up, many different weather conditions, along with the genetic variability of this turf, lead to uneven green up and variable growth. The more annual types may be more vulnerable to winter kill/damage and leaf tip yellowing from fluctuating spring temperatures and frost. It would be advised to carefully examine the crowns of individual plants to see alive and healthy.

- Basal Rot Anthracnose, this disease has been seen on at least one sample BUT was just one of several factors present. This is a problem from the past and not a disease that just started this year. It there was a problem with anthracnose last year it will overwintered in infested plants and can invade weakened plants if predisposed by various stress factors. If present, aggressive management procedures should be initiated immediately. This would include both cultural practices and fungicide applications.

- Multi colored turf, rapid fluctuating temperatures and wide swings in temperatures can result in many different colors of tissue. Such as a darkening of the turf leaves, yellowing, tip die back, reddening or purple leaf blades - leaf tips - leaf margins - and seed heads, etc. The red or purple color is often associated with nutritional deficiencies but is more likely to be a temperature response at this time of year. Also during cold spells, fertilizer response is slower. Frost on lush spring turf may result in strange color patterns. Genetic variability is often the reason why there are patches or circular patterns on off colored turf.

- Fusarium Patch / Pink Snow Mold, this disease can rapidly become active and cause yellowing of turf, especially Poa annua, during cool wet conditions. Often damage is short term.

- Warm Season Grass Greenup. Zoysia and Bermuda grass has not come out of dormancy and many people thought the grass was dead. Patience is a virtue for warm season grass. Wait til mid May to expect sufficient greenup. Refrain from fertilizing until the grass has completely come out of dormancy.

Greenscape Gardens takes pride by informing the St. Louis gardeining public about the best possible gardening and landscape advice. Check out our recommended cool season lawn care program.