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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - March 05, 2009

From: Wichita, KS
Region: Midwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Curvularia blight in buffalograss in Kansas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Our buffalo grass is infected with a fungus called curvularia. How can we treat it?

ANSWER:

Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) is a warm season grass native to the American prairie, including Kansas. Curvularia mold or curvularia blight is found in turfgrasses, and infection usually enters the plant through cut tips of grass blades. It is found in grasses that have been subjected to very warm soil and drought. However, it also can be a result of overwatering. This University of California Integrated Pest Management Curvularia Blight in Turfgrass does not mention buffalograss, but does list several non-native turf grasses that have been infected with curvularia.  That website also lists some fungicide treatments which can only be applied by personnel licensed and trained to do so. 

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center recommends neither for nor against the use of pesticides, but if you do wish to treat the problem chemically, we urge you to seek expert help in doing so. It would appear, from the information we could find, that careful irrigation practices, in which neither over- nor under-watering occurs, will help prevent the spread of infection. We suggest you contact the Kansas State University Extension office for Sedgewick County. Contact information is on their Home Page and also on their Lawn and Garden page. It's likely that yours is not an isolated incident, and the Extension office should have information and help.

Pictures of curvularia-infected grasses. 


Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides
 

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