Tests can get to the root of the problem

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published May 16, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated May 15, 2013 at 10:19 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Rusty Hubbard

Hank Chaney points out areas of fungus in Bermuda grass outside the Natural Resource Center in Conway.

Faulkner County residents are seeing spots — in their yards.

The Faulkner County Extension Service is getting an elevated number of calls this spring about lawn-care problems in the area.

Kami Marsh, a county agriculture agent for the Faulkner County Extension Service, said her office sees plant samples from residents in the area. Marsh said up to 500 samples arrive in her office every year.

“If someone has a lawn issue, they can email me pictures, text me pictures or bring samples in,” Marsh said. “If we can’t figure it out, we send them to the plant diagnostic lab in Fayetteville.”

The lab then determines what is wrong with the grass or plant and comes up with a solution to the problem.

Marsh said the numerous calls have given her the chance to see all of the different turf issues in the area.

“Because of the weather, we’ve had a lot more diseases show up in lawns [in Faulkner County], even if [residents] don’t have a lawn-care service,” Marsh said.

She has worked along with various lawn-care- service providers in the area to identify problems, but said diseases are hard to distinguish.

“The hard thing with turf diseases is that they are all circular,” Marsh said. “I can take a sample and take it out to the lab and test it, but a lot of them are very similar.”

If a resident suspects a turf disease is taking over his yard, Marsh said to take two circular samples of grass, about the size of a CD from both good and bad areas.

Once the samples are taken to the extension service or sent to the plant diagnostic lab, results take about a week to get back to the resident.

When a diagnosis is determined — whether it is dead spot, take all disease or large patch — a treatment plan is put into action, Marsh said.

“[Fixing the problem] is not instantaneous,” Marsh said. “It also depends on what disease you have. You have to first kill the disease.”

Killing the disease could take a whole season, Marsh said. Then residents can go about fertilizing their yards and moving forward with getting their lawns back to normal.

The Faulkner County Extension Service’s plant diagnostic lab services are free. The Extension Office has fact sheets available that address all of the turf diseases that residents could potentially see and how to manage them.

The fact sheets can be picked up at the Faulkner County Natural Resource Center, 110 S. Amity in Conway, or accessed at www.uaex.edu.

Marsh said residents who have questions or are concerned about their lawns may contact her at (501) 329-8344 or kmarsh@uaex.edu.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501)244-43078 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online News Editor Lisa Burnett can be reached at lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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