Lawn Problem (Zoysia)

pat_inmygardenMay 31, 2009

I am blessed to live on the same land my mother grew her daylilies on, and over 25 years she amended the hard red clay into some beautiful garden soil. But I am plagued with weeds (same good soil) and Black Grasshoppers, which I HATE.

Neither of these is the source of my lawn problem. In the past few years, a patch of lawn in the front, Zoysia section of my property has deteriorated, getting worse every year. I have tried feeding it, using grub control, and finally today (got some dry weather) I tried a fungicide.

The Zoysia grass has just started to disappear. There are bare patches the size of a dinner plate in an overall roughly circular area about 8 feet across.

And most recently, I'm seeing little holes appear in the area - like a squirrel was digging up acorns or pecans. But it is not squirrels. I've dug up test patches over the past and never really found any grubs, but I'm beginning to think it is some sort of caterpillar or grub or cutworm that I'm just not able to visualize.

Anyone have a sweet solution to this problem? Or have you run into a similar problem and did your lawn survive? I don't want to slice the top layer off and put down new sod which may run into the exact same problems as the old sod, because the problem is still there.

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I forgot to mention I have also innoculated the area with Milky Spore. No improvement.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 12:39AM
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Is it brown patch? Very common here. If so, fertilizing actually aggravates it, in that new tender growth is it's favorite thing to attack.

It's a tough one.

Here is a link to read more about it/ see a picture.

Here is a link that might be useful: brown patch info

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 11:21AM
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Here is a link with info plant diagnostic lab on Auburn.

Here is a link that might be useful: Plant diagnostic lab Auburn

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 11:31AM
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catbird(z7 AL)

Your page doesn't give any indication of where you live, but you might want to call the Master Gardener help line for your area, if there is one. They may be able to furnish you with information and/or put you in touch with the local extension agent. Check the thread linked below for information on calling them.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 1:08PM
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catbird(z7 AL)

Sorry. Forgot to paste the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to Call Master Gardener Helpline

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 1:11PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Hopefully, the Master Gardeners have been schooled into educating you how to scout for soil-borne insects. It's relatively easy to locate the critters, given a few 'tricks-of-the-trade'. You should be able to locate grubs, caterpillars of various kinds, mole crickets (depending upon where you live), and other critters.

By the way, the 'holes' you've been observing could be from the emergence of adult beetles from their 'grub-hood', bird excavation holes (I see that a lot in my yard), among other things.

If the folks at the plant diagnostic lab think that brown patch disease (fairly common in zoysia) is a possibility, they will instruct you as to how to take a helpful sample to send to them for testing. In most instances, lab testing is the only way to determine plant diseases with certainty.

They may suggest that you have a nematode assay done, as well. Nematode problems occur more often than suspected, even here in N. Alabama where I live. These diagnostic tests will be well worth the small investment.

I'll suggest that you stop with treatments of any kind until you get some concrete answers. There's no sense in wasting your valuable time and money on solutions that might be useless.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 11:14AM
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I came to the same conclusion. Stop messing with the lawn until I'm sure what is wrong. I'll call the master gardener hotline tomorrow. Thanks for that link! It is probably brown patch. The holes are probably due to emerging beetles, I agree. No Japanese beetles yet (crossed fingers) on my roses - Maybe the milky spore is doing its trick on them at least.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 10:32PM
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Just wondering what ever came of contacting the master gardener hotline. My zoysia lawn continues to deteriorate year after year due to brown patch to the point where I'm debating on just starting from scratch.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 2:21PM
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