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For The Garden

Why is my Bermuda grass dying in patches?

Author: Kelly Young
Issue: July, 2017, Page 105

ASK THE EXPERTS

Q - My Bermuda grass lawn is dying in patches. The dead patches are getting as much water as the green, healthy areas. I don’t have dogs or any other pets. What could it be?

A - You ruled out two very likely culprits: inefficient irrigation and dog urine. You might want to check for pearl scale, also known as ground pearls (Margarodes meridionalis), an insect that gets its common name from the pearly, waxy covering it secretes. Dig up soil and roots in the area where the dead patches meet the green lawn and look for small, round pearls that are white, tan, or yellow clinging to the roots. Some people say pearl scale looks like slow-release fertilizer pellets. Unfortunately, that waxy coating makes available insecticides ineffective against pearl scale. Your best bet is to entirely remove the affected sod, along with several inches of surrounding healthy turf and roots.
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