Gibberella ear rot is caused by the fungus Gibberella zeae (also known as Fusarium graminearum), the same pathogen that causes stalk rot of corn and head scab of wheat. The fungus typically infects via the silk channel, causing a pinkish-white mold to develop at the tip of the ear (fig. 1). Cool, wet weather (rainfall or high relative humidity) during and after silking (R1 growth stage) provides optimal conditions for the development of ear rot.
Dollar spot occurs on essentially all cultivated turfgrass species worldwide. In Ohio, it is primarily a concern on creeping bentgrass on golf courses and may be prevalent on bluegrass lawns. Dollar spot occurs from late spring to late fall and is most prominent after cool, moist weather.
Slime molds may be found on all cultivated and weedy grasses. They are most prevalent following prolonged periods of leaf wetness and may be observed from late spring to late fall. Although not directly damaged by slime molds, the aesthetic quality of a turfgrass stand may be affected by their presence. Plant vigor may be slightly reduced in severely colonized turf due to excessive growth of the fungus on leaves causing a shading of the leaf surface and leading to a reduction in photosynthesis. Slime molds may reoccur in the same location each year.
Powdery mildew fungi are found on many native plants, cultivated crops, ornamentals, and turfgrass species. In general, it is not considered to be a serious disease on turf. Powdery mildew occurs on a wide variety of turfgrass species wherever turfgrasses are grown. In Ohio, it is primarily a concern on Kentucky bluegrass, although it may also occur to a lesser degree on various fescues. Severe outbreaks on Kentucky bluegrass tend to occur on turf growing in shaded areas during spring to fall when moderate temperatures and high relative humidity prevail.
Gray leaf spot is a disease of increasing importance in the turfgrass industry in the United States. It has been a chronic disease in St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) for many years. Recently, gray leaf spot has caused serious problems in common cool season grasses, especially annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne; Figure 1). Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) has been damaged by this disease in the southeastern United States. The same fungus causes blast on rice.
Rhizoctonia solani causes unsightly patches of blighted turfgrass (Figure 1) and is capable of infecting and killing most cultivated turfgrass species. This disease is very damaging to young immature grass seedlings. During long periods of hot, wet, and humid conditions, brown patch can develop so that a large blighted area can occur within 24–48 hours. Preventative and curative fungicide applications are made for managing the disease on highly cultivated turfgrass such as golf course greens, tees, and fairways.
Ohio residents are quite familiar with the distinctive “honking” voices from above as a flock of Canada geese fly by in v-formation overhead. To some, Canada geese represent one of nature’s more pleasing visual sights, while pond owners, golf club managers, and park district employees often view them as problematic. Prior to the 1960s, Canada geese were present in Ohio only during spring and fall migration, and they rarely nested.
Boxelder bugs (family: Rhopalidae) and leaffooted bugs (family: Coreidae) are larger species of true bugs that may invade buildings, especially during the warm days of autumn, to seek sheltered sites for overwintering. Large populations are often correlated with long, hot, dry summers. During the fall, they are attracted to buildings and occasionally to night-lights. They may fly through open doors and windows, but they most commonly enter homes and buildings through cracks and crevices around doors, windows, and roof soffits.
Earwigs are a relatively small group of insect that belong to the Order Dermaptera. Earwigs often upset people when discovered indoors. Their forceplike tail appendages make them look dangerous, but they are quite harmless. Earwigs run rapidly around baseboards, and they may emit a foul-smelling, yellowish-brown liquid from their scent glands when disturbed or crushed. Earwigs are mainly active at night, usually hiding during the daytime. They're often found in clusters hiding in dark crevices like door or window frames.
Clover mites sometimes invade homes and buildings in enormous numbers, in the early spring and late autumn. They can creep and gather in clusters on walls, drapes, window sills, and furniture; occasionally, they even get into beds and clothing. They may become troublesome in hospitals, nursing homes, apartments, food processing facilities, etc. If crushed, they leave a green stain with red-orange marks, which is quite noticeable on linens, curtains, walls, and woodwork.