Many diseases occur on the different turfgrasses that are grown in North Carolina. In total, there are over 100 diseases that affect turfgrasses. Just like a human illness, each turfgrass disease has its own unique prescription that should be followed for its control. Accurate diagnosis of diseases is, therefore, a critical first step in their management. Fortunately, there are only about 26 diseases that develop in turfgrasses year after year. Learning how to diagnose and manage these most common diseases will prepare you to meet most problems that arise. Diagnostic services are also available at NC State University, through the Turf Diagnostics Lab.

Three factors are required for a disease to develop: a susceptible plant, a pathogen, and an environment that is favorable for pathogen growth. Disease will not develop unless all of these factors are present for at least several consecutive days. Because turfgrasses are perennial, the host plant is always present. The pathogens are always present as well, laying dormant in the thatch and soil when they are not causing disease. Therefore, it is the environment that triggers disease development. Weather conditions, management practices, and microclimate are the environmental variables that have the greatest impact on disease development.

Sports Turf App

Whether you’re a professional superintendent for a pro team or a local high school athletic field director, the NCSU Sports Turf App contains sports turf specific information to help improve your fields.