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Damaging Insects & Diseases

Aphids

Aphids

Aphids, also called plant lice, are small (up to ¼ inch), soft bodied insects that will infest most garden plants. Aphids can cause severe distortion and stunting on a plant.

Armyworm

Armyworm

The armyworm is a sporadic, but occasionally severe pest of turfgrass. They feed as a group, devouring the grass in roughly circular patches before moving on to the next available food. Every bit of green leaf and stem may be stripped by the horde of larvae.
Bagworm

Bagworm

Bagworms are the larvae of moths. The characteristic brown bags are often seen attached to twigs. The bags are up to two inches long and composed of interwoven bits of dead foliage, twigs and silk. At first it drags the bag around as it feeds on leaves, enlarging the bag as it grows. By late August, the caterpillar finishes its feeding and attaches the bag to a twig. In severe infestations, the entire plant is defoliated and there are bags hanging on many of the twigs.
Billbug

Billbug

Billbugs are small weevils, 1/3 inch long, with long, downward-pointing snouts and elbowed and clubbed antennae. Often seen walking on paved areas, they first feed on the inside of turfgrass stems and crowns, then move to feed on roots. The affected area appears brown, thin and dead in small irregular spots.
Blight

Blight

Blight refers to a specific symptom affecting plants in response to infection by a pathogenic organism. It is simply a rapid and complete chlorosis, browning, and then death of plant tissues such as leaves, branches, twigs or floral organs.
Brown Patch

Brown Patch

Brown Patch initially appears as circular-shaped patches with a diameter of one to five inches. The patches develop quickly up to two feet in diameter and fade to a light brown color. It typically starts to appear during a period of high temperature and high humidity in early summer, and may continue to develop until very late summer.
Buckshot

Buckshot

Buckshot is a fungal disease which leaves telltale signs of illness on leaves through unsightly leaf spots, holes, rusts and mildews.
Canker

Canker

Cankers are a fungus disease caused by a number of different pathogens and attack many varieties of trees. Cankers involve both bark and cambium, girdle twigs and branches causing die back. The fungus may then move down into larger stems and cause perennial cankers possibly girdling the tree trunk causing premature yellowing of leaves, premature leaf drop and possible death. Canker diseases are most often spread in the spring and are most apt to attack those trees and ornamentals growing in infertile soil, weakened by insects and drought, or wounded plants.
Chinch

Chinch

These very small pests are often associated with open, sunny areas and may be as numerous as 150 to 200 insects per square foot. They actively feed on turfgrass with thick thatch that is exposed to full sunlight during periods of hot, dry weather from early July through late August.
Cutworm

Cutworm

Cutworms are really caterpillars, moth larvae that hide under the soil during the day, coming out in the dark to feed on plants. Typically, they attack the stem of the plant, often of a seedling, consequently cutting it down.
Decline

Decline

Turfgrass decline is a take-all root rot disease. Its initial symptom is a yellow patch ranging from six inches to three feet in diameter. There are no visible lesions on the leaves. A majority of the roots under the patch are lost. The patches may become bare and join together to form larger, irregular-shaped areas. It typically appears in late summer through late fall, especially in the southeastern United States. It is most severe during periods with intense rainfall.
Dollar Spot

Dollar Spot

Dollar spot symptoms are typically small, circular, sunken, straw-colored patches of one to two inches in diameter. With severe attacks, the individual spots may join together to form larger, irregular-shaped patches. Lesions may be seen on infected leaves. They typically have a reddish-brown to tan margin and will enlarge across the full width of the leaf blade. Also, multiple lesions may occur on individual blades which cause blighting of the entire leaf.
Fairy Ring

Fairy Ring

Fairy rings are caused by many different soilin habiting fungi of the class Basidiomycetes. These fungi can cause the development of rings or arcs of deep green grass as well as unthrifty or dead grass. Fairy ring fungi do not attack grass directly, but break down organic matter in the soil. As a result, nitrogen is released which the grass uses, causing it to grow and develop a contrasting green ring. The mushrooms that appear after rainfall are the fruiting bodies of the fungus.
Fire Ant

Fire Ant

Fire ants usually reveal themselves by their sandy earthy mounds, which are usually more visible after recent rainfall. They nest in the ground looking for food sources: plant seeds, insects, earthworms, ticks, spiders, arthropod eggs and other sweets.
Grub

Grub

Grubs are the most widespread and destructive pests of turf grasses in the cool -season and transition zones. They damage turf grasses by chewing off the roots near the soil surface. Early symptoms include gradual thinning, yellowing and wilting in spite of adequate soil moisture, as well as the appearance of scattered, irregular dead patches. Infested turf feels spongy underfoot because of the grubs having churned up the underlying soil.

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