Shrub of the Week: Loropetalum

20170627_092846Im going to try something different and present a different shrub each week. The first one I’m bringing up is one of my favorites, the Loropetalum. There are several different varieties of this plant, most being a nice purple color when properly maintained (as you can see pictured above and below)

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This plant is not native to North America, and was actually brought over from China and Japan. Its a pretty hardy plant and can survive in temperatures down to 0 degrees fahrenheit without severe damage. In severe heat and dry periods the plant will start to become discolored. In spring is will produce a right pink flower with much thinner leaves. New growth will have a greener color to it, but will turn purple.

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It will do best in full Sun the partial shade. So make sure when planting to keep this in mind in order to ensure the plant stays healthy and full. I’ve witnessed too many times people putting this in areas with too much shade, and the plant eventually thins out and dies. I also recommend checking the pH of the soil before planting. Loropetalums prefer a slightly more acidic soil. If the soil is too alkaline if will become discolored and appear like the picture below. If you notice your plant start to look like this I recommend fertilizing it with 21-0-0. This is an Ammonium Sulfate based fertilized which will help raise the acidity of the soil. We will discuss this more in detail later.

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The most common issue you will find with the Loropetalum will be either micronutrient or copper deficiencies. You want to make sure that your loropetalums have the proper amounts of Copper, Zinc, and Manganese. Copper is the most important of these. If it is lacking Copper I recommend applying a Soluble Copper. You can also try applying Tecmangam, a Manganese Sulfate, to the shrub to improve the color if other options have not worked. Be careful using this product, it will stain very easy. Whatever you decide to use remember, THE LABEL IS THE LAW! Make sure any products your use, you apply at the rates listed on the label of the bottle. I highly recommend contacting your local Lawn Care Professional when having any issues with your shrubs. They will have the proper products and equipment to take care of your lawn and shrub issues.

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Slime Mold

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I want to briefly touch on one more fungus since I’ve been getting a lot of calls on this one. The picture above is one of a disease called Slime Mold. Unlike the Grey leaf spot fungus and Dollar spot fungus, this one is very easy to deal with.

Slime Mold will suddenly appear in the  lawn during the wet summer months. Small little black patches will appear only a few inches big. Ive had a lot of homeowners seeing this and freaking out  asking if their lawn is going to die. I have a lot of people calling me thinking its some kind of insect eggs all over their lawn. If you see this in the lawn, there is no need to panic.

There is absolutely no need to treat Slime Mold with any kind of product. It is purely cosmetic and will not cause any damage to the turn. After mowing it will clear up. If you need a quick fix and want to gone immediately, a strong jet of water will knock it off.

Dollar Spot Fungus

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Continuing with our talk about Fungus, we have to discuss Dollar Spot Fungus. Just like the Grey Leaf spot we talked about previously, we are seeing a lot of dollar spot fungus out there in lawns. As you can see pictured above, dollar spot fungus will appear scattered throughout the affected area of the lawn with no pattern. Where Grey leaf spot will be spread out in an area, dollar spot will be more concentrated to a smaller more condensed area.

 

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Upon close inspection, you will see that the entire grass blade will be discolored straw colored blades, unlike the Grey Leaf Spot where there will be small oblong spots on the grass blades. Affected areas will start out in small silver dollar size (hence the name), but can spread up to 6 inches in the right conditions.

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Dollar Spot Fungus is most common in areas with dry soil but wet air. So when we went a couple months without rain here in Florida, followed by a week straight of heavy rains, it created the perfect storm for this disease to thrive. The high level of humidity in Florida is also a contributing factor of dollar spot. The best way to prevent this disease (barring extreme conditions from Mother Nature), would be to irrigate properly. are sure you water long enough to keep the soil moist. Keeping the lawn from going in and out of drought is key (to this and many other issues.) Also make sure the lawn received the proper amount of nitrogen during the growing season.

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Now, how do we treat this disease. With this type of fungus, there are no spores, so it will not spread as easily as other fungi. You can add some supplemental nitrogen fertilizer to push out new growth and follow proper mowing practices. If you want a faster recovery, I recommend using a contact fungicide. Brands such as Eagle, Strobe,  or T-Methyl all work really well. There are many other options that will work as well.

As always, I highly recommend hiring a trained lawn professional to handle these issues in the lawn. They will have to proper equipment and products to handle any issues in your lawn. If you decided to take it on yourself, remember to always read the label of any product you use and apply it at the proper rate. THE LABEL IS THE LAW, and must always be followed word for word. Over applying a product will not lead to better or faster results.

Grey Leaf Spot Disease

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This is a major issue we are seeing currently, especially here in Central Florida. Our weather went from one extreme to the other. We had months without a drop of rain, and now we are getting too much rain too quickly. And the temperatures have been climbing as well. The combination of this results in the disease pictured above. Grey Leaf Spot.

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When we get excessive rains causing the grass blades to stay wet for 12 hour straight or longer, and temperatures in the 80s and 90s, it will cause this disease. Symptoms will continue to get worse as the lawn gets more and more wet. But it doesn’t have to just be constant rain for this to occur. If the humidity is over 95% for long periods of time, it will also trigger this disease to rear its ugly head.

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Many people will make the mistake of thinking this is just a weak spot in the lawn and try to use a nitrogen fertilizer to push new growth. Never use nitrogen based fertilizer on an area of fungus. This will only ignite the disease and cause it to melt out and magnify the damage.

The best management practice for this is to use a fungicide labeled for control of this disease. Remember, the LABEL IS THE LAW! It is illegal to use any product outside the perimeters of what is stated on provided label. So make sure to read carefully before you use anything, and make sure to apply at the correct rate. Over applying will not solve your issue any better or quicker. That being said, the most effective fungicides for this certain disease are Strobilurin based, such as Heritage, Strobe, or Insignia. Ive tried other types before, but have had the most success using these. I highly recommend that you seek help from a professional lawn company when trying to deal with Grey Leaf Spot. They will have the proper equipment and products to take care of it effectively and efficiently.

Welcome to Sodify

Thank you for so much for checking out my blog! I’m an experienced Lawn and Ornamental Technician in the Central Florida area and the head trainer for my company. If you are seeking advice on anything related to your lawn and shrubs you have come to the right place! Wether you are a professional or a homeowner trying to figure it out, you will find what you need here. I will be posting multiple times a week with common issues that you will find in your garden this time of year. It could be insects, diseases, cultural conditions, or just common facts about different types of plants! With all issues, I highly recommend seeking the help of your local Lawn Care Professional to help you resolve. They will have the proper equipment to take care of your issues effectively and efficiently. If you are located in the Central Florida are, I can recommend the right professional for you. If you have a specific question that you don’t see on here. please feel free to ask and I will have a response for you as soon as I can! Again thank you, and check back weekly for new posts.