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K-State Turfgrass

Declining turf? Look below the surface

Each year we get samples into the lab where there is turf decline and people think there is a disease problem, but the culprit is thatch. The photo above is from a sample that came in this week.

Any time you have a turf problem, take a soil probe, pocket knife, or trowel, and take a look underground. I’m saying 100% of the time. Not 90%. E-V-E-R-Y time. You never know what you might find down there.

We see a lot of decline from thatch-related desiccation in the heat of summer, but we also see it in spring after thatchy turf gets the moisture sucked out of it by dry winter winds.

Here are a few others from prior years:

 

 

In this one, the turf had thick thatch and got very desiccated over winter and was not able to green up in spring:

 

At this site, they also had grub problems. They had applied an insecticide, but as you probably know, pesticides can get pretty tied up in thatch which makes it hard for them to do their jobs.

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