Bermudagrass hayfields in parts of Mississippi are being heavily infested with leaf spot disease, according to a recent post on Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension’s “Mississippi Forages” Facebook page.
Leaf spot, caused by a fungus that enjoys moderate to cool temperatures and abundant moisture, can especially damage stressed grasses. Nitrogen and potassium imbalances, as well as soil compaction, heavy thatch and water stress, appear to make bermudagrass susceptible to the fungus, writes MSU forage specialist Rocky Lemus. Fungicides, he adds, cannot be used on the forage grasses.
He suggests burning the infected biomass, cutting it for hay or grazing it. Leaf spot has also made fields susceptible to damage from bermudagrass stem maggot.
Paying attention to soil fertility levels, especially potassium, might be the best option to keep plants healthy, more resistant to changes in environmental conditions and reduce disease incidents, says Lemus.
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