Turfgrass Problems: Picture Clues and Management Options

Publication Number: NRAES-125
Cost: $35.00
Length: 210 pages
Published: 2001
ISBN: 0-935817-62-X
Authors: Eva Gussack and Frank S. Rossi, both of the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University

Describes 80 cool-season turfgrass problems, including damage, diseases, insects, and weeds. Each description includes photos and nonchemical management strategies. Useful to turf managers, homeowners, agronomists, IPM  specialists, educators, golf course superintendents, lawn care professionals, and park managers.

Got Turf Problems? You Need This Book!

Insects, diseases, weeds, and other problems can wreak havoc on a lush, healthy stand of turfgrass. Identifying the cause of a turfgrass problem can be an exercise in frustration for homeowners, golf course superintendents, and park and sports field managers who take great pride in their lawns, greens, parks, and fields. A new pocket guide, Turfgrass Problems: Picture Clues and Management Options (214 pages; June 2001), can help turf managers and lawn care aficionados identify problems and implement appropriate management strategies to achieve and maintain healthy plants.

Turfgrass Problems: Picture Clues and Management Options is loaded with over 130 color photos of problems that affect cool-season turfgrasses (which include creeping and colonial bentgrasses, Kentucky and annual bluegrasses, fine-leaf and tall fescues, and perennial ryegrasses). The compact, spiral-bound guide will be an invaluable reference for anyone with a serious interest in turfgrass health -- including homeowners, IPM specialists, lawn care professionals, golf course superintendents, agronomists, park managers, extension educators, and students.

The guide covers four types of problems: abiotic problems, diseases, insects, and weeds. (Abiotic problems are caused by "nonliving" factors, such as weather, poor soil structure, or improper nutrient levels.) Each problem discussion includes photos, a complete description of the problem's appearance and the conditions under which it tends to occur, and nonchemical management strategies. Color-coded tabs on each page help readers flip to a particular chapter quickly. If the problem cannot be identified from the photos and descriptions in the guide, a chapter on scouting and sampling procedures will help readers take further action.

A unique feature of the guide is the timelines chapter, which includes three symptom timelines that tell when a certain disease, insect, or weed is likely to emerge. The timelines are based on average climate conditions in the northern United States, but detailed instructions are included for refining the timelines for a specific locale using growing degree days. A glossary, conversion factors, and references are included as well.

Turfgrass Problems: Picture Clues and Management Options was written by Eva Gussack, Extension Associate, and Frank S. Rossi, Assistant Professor of Turfgrass Science and Extension Turfgrass Specialist, both of the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University. It was published by the Natural Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering Service (NRAES). The guide was inspired by the now out-of-print Picture Clues to Turfgrass Problems, which was published by Cornell Cooperative Extension in 1982 and written by A. Martin Petrovic, Maria T. Cinque, Richard W. Smiley, and Haruo Tashiro.

How to Use This Guide

About This Guide
Eliminate Abiotic Problems First
Consult the Timelines: The Gateway to Biotic Problems
Sample for Further Testing
Don't Give Up!

Chapter 1: Timelines

Timeline for Disease Symptoms
Timeline for Insects
Timeline for Weeds
Growing Degree Days -- Refining the Timelines

Chapter 2: On-Site Sampling Procedures for Successful Problem Solving

Chapter 3: Abiotic Problems

Black Layer
Dog Spots and Salts
Dull Mower Leaf Blade Injury

Fertilizer Burns
Frost Damage
Ice Damage
Localized Dry Spots
Moss and Algae

Nutrient Deficiencies
Pesticide and Chemical Injury
Scalding/Flood Damage

Shallow Soil
Winter Desiccation

Chapter 4: Diseases

Late Fall to Early Spring

Pink Snow Mold
Typhula Blight/Gray Snow Mold

Spring And Fall

Basal Rot Anthracnose
Cool-Season Pythium Root and Crown Rot
Dollar Spot
Fairy Rings
Necrotic Ring Spot

Pink Patch
Powdery Mildew
Red Thread
Spring/Fall Leaf Blight
Spring/Fall Leaf Spots and Melting Out

Yellow Patch
Yellow Tuft (Downy Mildew)


Brown Patch
Dollar Spot
Foliar Anthracnose
Gray Leaf Spot
Necrotic Ring Spot

Pythium Blight
Stripe Smut
Summer Leaf Spots
Summer Patch

Take-All Patch

Chapter 5: Insects


Annual Bluegrass Weevil (Formerly Hyperodes)
Bluegrass Billbug
Hairy Chinch Bug
Sod Webworm Complex


Raster Patterns of White Grubs
Asiatic Garden Beetle
Black Cutworm
Black Turfgrass Ataenius
European Chafer

Green June Beetle
Japanese Beetle
May or June Beetles
Northern Masked Chafer
Oriental Beetle

Chapter 6: Weeds

Perennial, Broadleaf

Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago major)
Buckhorn Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)
Common Blue Violet (Viola papilionacea)
Creeping or Slender Speedwell (Veronica filiformis)
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea)
Hawkweed (Hieracium species)
Mouse-Ear Chickweed (Cerastium vulgatum)
Red or Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella)
White Clover (Trifolium repens)

Yellow Woodsorrel (Oxalis stricta)

Perennial, Grasses or Grasslike

Annual Bluegrass (Poa annua)
Nimblewill (Muhlenbergia schreberi)
Quackgrass (Agropyron repens)
Yellow Nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus)

Annual, Winter

Annual Bluegrass (Poa annua)
Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)
Corn Speedwell (Veronica arvensis)
Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule)

Annual, Summer

Barnyardgrass (Echinochloa crus-galli)
Black Medic (Medicago lupulina)
Goosegrass (Eleusine indica)
Knotweed (Polygonum aviculare)
Large Crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis)

Prostrate Spurge (Euphorbia supina)
Smooth Crabgrass (Digitaria ischaemum)


Conversion Factors


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