No. 16/September 20, 2016

Summer Patch in Lawns
The Plant Clinic has received a lot of turf samples this year, and recently many of them have been diagnosed with Summer Patch, a root rot caused by the fungus Magnaporthe poae. Kentucky bluegrass and fescues are the most commonly-affected types of lawn grass affected by this pathogen. As the name implies, Summer Patch usually becomes noticeable between June through September.

Aeration of Turf
September and early October is an ideal time to rejuvenate lawns, whether you want to work on a small area or a large acreage. As cool weather starts to become more common, the cool-season bluegrasses, ryegrasses and fescues will recover and start to fill in. Aeration is one of the best things to do if the soil is hard and compacted such as a suburban clay soil, or filled with lots of cracks due to the heat. Under those conditions, grass roots won't grow quickly. Turf just kinds of sits there and doesn't do much even with fertilizing.

Ragweed vs. Goldenrod
With ideal growing conditions, ragweed is in full bloom this autumn.  That means those with allergies will be suffering tremendously. There are two main forms of ragweed in Illinois:  common and giant.  Both carry the scientific genus of Ambrosia, which is somewhat odd concerning the historic Greek nature of the word.  Most allergy sufferers would say the plant is far from the food of the Gods

Carpenter Ants in Trees
Carpenter ants normally do not need to be controlled in trees because they usually cause little or no damage to the tree. They are very numerous. I commonly say that if you stare at the trunk of an older tree for at least 30 seconds during the growing season and don't see a carpenter ant climbing up or down, you probably have your eyes shut.

Chinch Bug
Chinch bug damage is being found in NE IL as reported by Harold Enger, Spring-Green Lawn Care. Numbers of chinch bugs build under drier conditions, allowing bugs to survive which would be killed by fungal disease under higher rainfall. Thatchy turf allows the bugs to escape fungus attack by living in the thatch, not coming into contact with the soil where the fungus is living, and waiting.