King Ranch Turfgrass Fights Gray Leaf Spot

When it comes to diseases that can potentially damage your new King Ranch Turfgrass, Gray Leaf Spot is one of the more common threats. All of our varieties of turfgrass are resistant to this disease, but some do the job even more effective than others.

What is Gray Leaf Spot?

Gray Leaf Spot is caused by a fungal pathogen (Pyricularia grisea) and initially appears as spots on the leaves that are round or oval, tan in color, and have a dark brown border. The humid climate of Florida helps the spores grow. The experts at North Carolina State University tell us that the disease is most severe in newly established turfgrass stands. The disease is typically most severe in the first year of establishment, but then gradually becomes less damaging as the turf matures.

How to Fight It

Early recognition and intervention are the keys to fighting Gray Leaf Spot. Fungicides are the most common response to the disease and there are several that can be effective. Most experts recommend the professional application of the fungicides if it is more than just a trouble spot.

The efficacy, however, depends on a few factors. First, timing is important. If the outbreak is in an advanced state, it is unlikely that the treatments will give you the desired results. It’s also important to change your irrigation. The ideal condition for the fungus is 14 hours of continuous moisture. Avoid watering in the late afternoon or early evening if there is a suspected outbreak. Instead, water in the early morning, just before sunrise. Also, prune or remove trees and shrubs to increase air movement and exposure to sunlight. Lastly, be careful with your fertilizer. Excessive nitrogen makes the grass more vulnerable.

Resistant Varieties

All of the varieties of turfgrass we grow at King Ranch Florida score at least a 4-star rating for resistance to Gray Leaf Spot. These varieties, however, score 5 stars for resistance to Gray Leaf Spot.

·       Citra Blue St. Augustine– This variety is popular on golf courses, due in part to its fast grow-in rate and weed resistance. Citra Blue has a distinctive blue-green color and thrives in sandy soils.

·       Empire Zoysia– Empire is a hearty, lower-maintenance grass that doesn’t require a lot of fertilizing. This deep-rooted grass feels soft, wears very well and is very tolerant of herbicides used for weed control.

·       Latitude 36 Bermudagrass– This grass is extremely tolerant of high amounts of traffic but still remains soft to the touch. It has high tensile strength and is resistant to many diseases.

·       Zorro Zoysia– Zorro is America’s #1 ranked zoysia grass for a lot of reasons. It is very salt resistant, greens early and stays green longer than other varieties. It has a high traffic tolerance and a rapid recovery ability.

King Ranch Florida Turfgrass is a full-cycle operation. We not only grow and harvest our different varieties of grass, but we will deliver and install your new grass as well. King Ranch Florida Turfgrass is proud of the environmentally-conscious “best management practices” farming policies it has implemented throughout its Florida operations.  Contact us if you have questions about which variety of turfgrass will meet your needs.