I saw some brown patch recently – in late September/early October!
In the meantime, our warm-season grasses are slowing down, and all the cool, cloudy, rainy weather this week may trigger some large patch in zoysiagrass.
Pathogens will take advantage of conducive conditions whenever they occur. Here are some great updates from my excellent turf pathology colleague Dr. Lee Miller, next door in Missouri:
The leaves are starting to fall. What to do with all that biomass? Don’t send it to the trash pile!
Many municipalities have local composting options. Another option is using a mower to mulch those leaves back down into the turf. Commercial landscape companies – as you work with homeowners for fall lawn/leaf services have you talked to your clients about these options?
For more information:
Here is a video:
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Many plant pathogens like to survive the winter in infected crop debris. One example is iris leaf spot.
Here is a zoom – the black spots are structures where the fungus produces spores:
So what can we do? Here are some tips from the Horticulture News (http://www.ksuhortnewsletter.org/):
Iris are known for a couple of common problems: a fungus disease known as iris leaf spot and an insect named iris borer. Though both cause problems in the spring, now is the time to start control measures. Both the fungus and eggs of the borer overwinter on old, dead leaves. Remove dead leaves and cut back healthy leaves by ½ this fall to reduce populations of these pests. Also remove other garden debris from the iris bed. This can significantly cut down on problems next spring. (Ward Upham)
Another disease that lurks over the winter is peony leaf blotch (also known as red spot or measles) and you can find info on that disease here on the Common Plant Problems website.
(Photos by Megan Kennelly)
(Ward Upham, KSU Horticulture & Natural Resources. Original source: http://www.ksuhortnewsletter.org/)
Pruning in August can stimulate new growth that is less hardy during the winter. But what about pruning at this time of year?
Woody plants move sugars and other materials from the leaves to storage places in the woody portions of the plant just prior to leaf fall and we would like to maximize those stored energy reserves. Even pruning later in the fall can cause a problem by reducing the cold hardiness of woody plants. Dr. Rich Marini at Penn State Extension has written , “Based on everything that has been published we can conclude that woody plants do not attain maximum cold hardiness when they are pruned in the fall. Trees are affected more by heavy pruning than light pruning.” However, this does not mean that woody plants pruned in the fall will necessarily suffer winter damage. In most cases, I think you can get away with the old adage of “prune whenever your pruners are sharp.” However, damage can occur if we have a sharp drop in temperature before plants are completely hardened off. Also, marginally hardy plants are more susceptible to winter damage, especially if pruned in the fall. Though light pruning and removal of dead wood are fine this time of year, you may want to delay severe pruning until spring.
Consider pruning to be “light” if 10% of less of the plant is removed. Dead wood does not count in this calculation. Keep in mind that even light pruning of spring-blooming shrubs such as lilac and forsythia will reduce flowers for next year. We normally recommend that spring-bloomers be pruned after flowering.
Shrubs differ in how severely they can be cutback. Junipers do not break bud from within the plant and therefore should be trimmed lightly if you wish to keep the full shape. Overgrown junipers should be removed. On the other hand, there are certain shrubs that can be pruned back severely during the spring. Rejuvenation is the most severe type of pruning and may be used on multi-stem shrubs that have become too large with too many old branches to justify saving the younger canes. All stems are cut back to 3- to 5-inch stubs. This works well for spirea, forsythia, pyracantha, ninebark, Russian almond, sweet mock orange, shrub roses, and flowering quince. Just remember that spring is the correct time to do this, not now.
Kansas Turf Conference in conjunction with KNLA
December 4, 5 & 6, 2018
Kansas Expocentre, Topeka
Mark the date to attend the Kansas Turfgrass Conference in conjunction with KNLA on December 4, 5 & 6 in Topeka.
The conference is an excellent way to learn about turf, nursery and landscape management, visit with old friends, network with new ones, and see all the latest equipment and supplies from local and national vendors.
The conference has been approved for Commercial pesticide recertification hours:
- 1 Core hour
- 3A – 7 hrs
- 3B – 7 hrs
- International Society of Arboriculture CEUs and GCSAA education points will also be available by attending the conference.
Download a copy of the program, get exhibitor information, or register online