Larry Williams, UF/IFAS Extension Agent for Okaloosa County, offers lawn and garden advice specific to Northwest Florida.
689-5850 or 729-1400, Ext. 5850
Are you dissatisfied with your centipedegrass lawn this spring? Do you have dead areas within your lawn that failed to turn green or areas that are weak, open and thinning with intermingled yellow grass blades? If so, youíre dealing with a very common problem. Itís called centipedegrass decline.
This condition involves a complex of incorrect management practices and sometimes involves nematodes (microscopic worms in the root area), ground pearls (scale-like insects in the root area)
Iíve seen people use herbicides to control weeds in an old, declining lawn. Then, with all the weeds gone, the lawnís owner suddenly realized that he or she had no lawn left.
Sometimes the best solution is to start over. Many older, thinning, declining, weedy lawns need to be reestablished. As lawns decline and thin, the weeds move in. When you reach the point where there is less than sixty percent desirable cover, reestablishment should be considered.
In the process
Every time we have an extended dry period in spring or summer, I get those predictable calls about some mysterious pest that's playing havoc in lawns.
Without realizing it, the caller describes dry spots thinking he/she is describing a lawn pest.
These dry spots are the result of imperfections in an irrigation system. Theyíre revealed during extended dry weather. During times of adequate rainfall, rain masks the irrigation systemís imperfections. This is a common problem.
Spring dead spots in home lawns are a very common occurrence in our area. As a matter of fact, if you talk to an Extension Agent or Master Gardener that works in the area of horticulture anywhere in North Florida, they will tell you that they are overwhelmed by phone calls, walk in visits and emails from the public concerning spring lawn problems.
As these questions begin, a typical caller may say, "Last summer my lawn looked good; however, this spring I have dead areas in my