North Carolina residents and turf managers have recently reported leaf tip burn or “yellow spotting” symptoms in tall fescue. The North Carolina State University Turf Team’s online resource, www.turffiles.ncsu.edu is the go-to for professionals across the state to reference for turf pests, disease, damage and more.
On this tall fescue damage, Dr. Grady Miller, Professor and Extension Specialist reports, “These symptoms seem to be the result of the sharp temperature drop experienced during the weekend of the 13th (March), not disease. The spotting was caused by walking/traffic on the cold-stressed turfgrass. The symptoms seem to be worse on well-fertilized turfgrass areas and may be present in other cool-season turfgrasses such as ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass. These symptoms should be less apparent as temperatures continue to warm in the coming weeks. With new growth and mowing, turfgrass appearance will be improve1.”
This issue highlights the importance of being diligent in the early stages of active growth of turfgrass. Weather conditions, previous disease or pest pressure, traffic and injury can manifest through many symptoms. Having a trusted resource for reference in these situations can be beneficial for homeowners and professionals alike. In this situation, jumping to treat for disease could be injurious to turf and become a waste of time and resources. Always be thoughtful and informed when diagnosing and treating issues with your turfgrass, and be sure to identify the experts you trust.