A number of key pests can impact turfgrass in Maryland. Being able to identify these key pests and understanding the biology is important to effectively preventing or controlling outbreaks. Once detected, documentation should include mapping on an area map and recording the date of the outbreak. Though pest pressure will often exist when conditions are favorable, the severity is often greatly reduced by using cultural, biological, and genetic techniques. As a rule, healthy, well-managed turf better withstands pest outbreaks and recovers more rapidly than unhealthy turf. See Diagnosing Common Lawn and Athletic Field Diseases (2003, University of Maryland) as a reference to turf diseases in Maryland.
Best Management Practices
- Identify key pests on key plants.
- Determine the pest’s life cycle and know which life stage to target (e.g. for insect pests, whether it is an egg, larva/nymph, pupa, or adult).
- For diseases, correctly identify the disease pathogen. This often involves sending samples to diagnostic clinics.
- Identify weeds accurately.
- Consider site-specific pest control measures rather than blanket applications of pesticides.