Seeing patches on your bermudagrass? It may be Microdochium patch.

We have been getting many calls this past week about odd patches showing up on semi-dormant bermudagrass putting greens.  Microdochium patch (formerly Fusarium patch) is a foliar disease caused by Microdochium nivale.  This fungus also is the causal agent of pink snow mold.  The covers used to protect bermudagrass greens create the same environment as snow cover, which is a perfect environment to activate the fungus.  When environmental conditions become moderate (50s to 60s) and rainfall is plenty, M. nivale begins to infect the leaves of the bermudagrass. DSC00429The fungus is spread via small spores (see image on left) that move in the water film associated with the turf canopy.  When conditions become dry, the spread of disease slows down.


So, what can you do to prevent or reduce disease pressure?
Make a note of Microdochium patch occurrence so you can be ready next year.  Prior to covering the greens, you may apply a DMI or a strobilurin fungicide.  If the disease is active such as now, a penetrant fungicide labeled for Microchochium patch should be effective.  This is a late winter disease that may also occur in the spring if excessive precipitation and moderate temperatures occur.  However, it is strictly a foliar disease, causing reduced aesthetic quality to the bermudagrass putting greens.  The turf will recover and grow out of the disease symptoms as spring green-up progresses.  If your situation allows, let mother nature take its course.


Not sure what those crazy symptoms are on the greens?  A disease diagnosis is an important step in disease management.  For confirmation of a disease, send a sample to your friendly diagnostician. With a disease diagnosis, you can develop an effective cultural and chemical management approach to reduce or prevent further damage to the turfgrass.

Got questions? Consult with your Mississippi State University Turfgrass Team!





Buckhorn Plantain

by Michael D. Denney, Dylan Botelyr, and Wes Dyer

Greenhouse pics (1) (Small)

Identification: Buckhorn Plantain is a rosette-forming perennial herb with leafless, hairy flower stems. The fruit is composed of egg shaped capsules 1/6” long containing either one or two seeds per flower. Leaves are football shaped and stand between three and 10 inches long with short hairs that spiral around the stem. The stalks grow upwards of 2 to 2.5 inches and have a dominant, strong taproot.

Characteristics: Buckhorn Plantain is characterized as being drought tolerant. Typically, the plant reproduces via seed and disseminated through airborne carriers or water. The seeds are oblong shaped and brown with one side having a glossy, light brown stripe.

Habitat: Environmental conditions favoring the growth of Buckhorn Plantain are vineyards, orchards, gardens, urban areas, turf, foot paths, and crop fields in general. Typically, Buckhorn Plantain prefers areas that have been plowed or disturbed in any manner.

San Marcos Dr. (1) (Small)Control: Control of Buckhorn Plantain consists of two measures, either pre-emergence or post-emergence herbicides. For pre-emergence control, Isoxaben is a good choice for minimizing germination.  Post-emergence control includes 2,4-D, Triclopyr, MCPA, and MCCP. Typically, 2,4-D has good activity on Buckhorn Plantain, while Triclopyr, MCPA and MCCP reduces plant vigor.  Buckhorn Plantain can be a difficult weed to control, but combining cultural practices, such as hand pulling, and herbicide use is the best approach for control.



Star of Bethlehem

by Ashley Averitt, Justin Hickman, and Kyle Grider

About Star-of-Bethlehem:

Star-of-Bethlehem belongs to the Lily family (Liliaceae), which is closely related to wild garlic and wild onion. It has origins as a cool season perennial ornamental plant, but it has grown into an aggravating weed in home lawns, golf courses, and athletic fields.  This plant spreads by seeds and underground bulbs.  It emerges in the winter to early spring and flowers as temperatures increase, but once summer arrives the plant will enter dormancy.  This plant may be poisonous to grazing animals because it contains high levels of cardiac glycosides, especially in the bulbs.


Often confused with wild onion and wild garlic, Star-of-Bethlehem can be distinguished by darker green leaves, a pale green to white mid-rid, and is covered with a waxy coating.  When Star-of-Bethlehem is crushed or mowed it does not produce a strong odor.  Leaves are narrow and linear and will blossom a white, six petal flower with distinct green stripe underneath the petals in the spring.  Star-of-Bethlehem mainly produces from bulbs and rarely from seeds.  The bulb of Star-of-Bethlehem is noticeably larger than that of wild onion and wild garlic.

How to control Star-of-Bethlehem?

Cultural Practices:

  • Mowing:  prevents flowering and seed production. Come winter, be sure to raise the height at least 2 inches.
  • Hand picking, constantly, but make sure you pull out the entire bulb and bulblets.

Chemical Control

The following postemergence herbicides are available:

Dismiss and products containing Sulfentrazone have been shown to act more rapidly than other products.

Residential applications:

  • Dismiss (active ingredient (a.i.)sulfentrazone)

Rate/acre = 8-12 oz/A

  • Q-4 (sulfentrazone + quinclorac + 2,4-D + dicamba)

Rate/acre = 7-8 pints/A

  • RoundUp Pro (glyphosate) + Mowing (in dormant turf)

Professional Applicators:

Rate/acre = 2.1 oz/A

  • Surge (a.i.’s, sulfentrazone + 2,4-D + MCPP + dicamba)

Rate/acre = 3 to 4 pints/A

Non Residential Turf:

Rate/acre = 1-2 pints/A (2EC) or 0.5-1.0 pint/A (4EC)



Common Chickweed MSU GC (5) (Medium) (2)







by Ethan Flournoy, Doug Martin, and Dustin Miller


Chickweed (Stellaria media) is a member of the pink or carnation family (Caryophyllaceae). Chickweed is typically 3 to 8 inches tall and can form a mat up to 16 inches in diameter. Leaves are pointed and oval shaped, with entire leaf margins that will grow in pairs from a half of an inch to one inch long. Small white star-like flowers occur in clusters with five deeply lobed petals that can grow up to an eighth of an inch in diameter. These flowers will develop into capsule-like fruits that contain seeds.


Chickweed prefers moist soils, but it can be found in open sunny areas as well as shaded areas. Chickweed can be found worldwide in any type of climate; however, in Mississippi, it is considered to be a winter annual. It is commonly found near buildings, trees or in landscape beds. Chickweed propogates by seed. It can produce as many as 15,000 seeds per plant.


There are three types of control for chickweed: cultural, biological, and chemical.

Cultural control can include hand weeding; however, this is most effective while the weed is in its juvenile state. If hand pulled when mature, it can cause significant seed dispersal. In a landscape environment, a two inch layer of mulch can suppress new weeds. In maintained turf, the best prevention is to monitor irrigation and fertilizer applications in order to maximize turf health and competitiveness.

For biological control, grazing has been reported as an effective tool.

Chemical control requires both pre- and post-emergence herbicides. Balan, dimension, and barricade are preemergence herbicides that have good activity on chickweed. Dicamba, Trimec, Surge, and Speedzone are selective post-emergent herbicides often used to control chickweed.

View current weed control guidelines for Mississippi at

Turf Weeds Blog Project

Wix Site

Christian Baldwin and I sat down during my first week at Starkville and talked about a project that combined three main objectives:

Primarily, it introduces turf students to a range of weeds they’ll encounter in the turf industry.

Secondly, it reinforces writing and composition. These skills are critical for all professional turf managers.

Finally, it uses blogging and social media as a means of communicating meaningful information.

To complete the project, we enlisted the help of colleagues in Ag communications and set out to analyze our progress. We took before data, like: have you blogged before? Do you follow any blogs? And questions about social media.Finally, the project incorporates blogging and social media.

Now student contributors are actively creating content for our Mississippi Turfgrass Site.