Stripe Smut

Ustilago striiformis

Stripe Smut is a lawn disease that occurs during cooler weather and is more common in the northern parts of the country during the spring and fall. Caused by the lawn fungus Ustilago striiformis, this lawn disease may also show up in southern states during parts of the summer or anywhere during long periods of cool weather in the spring or fall.

Identify

Foliar

Foliar

Common signs of Stripe Smut include stunted grass that may appear light green or yellow. The grass blades infected with this lawn disease will display yellow-green streaks in the early stages of infection that later become gray. Shortly afterward, the leaf tissue over the gray streaks ruptures and black spore masses are exposed. Toward the end of the Stripe Smut disease infection cycle, leaves may become shredded and point downward if the infection is severe enough. Additionally, damage caused in April through May will often not be seen until June through August.

Life Cycle

A Stripe Smut infection can occur only if all of the following conditions are present: 1. Pathogen: Ustilago striiformis lawn fungus 2. Host: Poa Annua, Bentgrasses, Kentucky Bluegrass or Perennial Ryegrass 3. Environment: Warm, dry climates with temperatures ranging from 50°–60°F

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Control

Because you can't change your environment, the best way to control Stripe Smut is to create conditions that will foster a healthy lawn. Not only will this make your yard unfavorable for Stripe Smut growth, but it will also lower your risk of extensive damage should the lawn disease develop—plus you'll have the type of lawn you'll want to live on. For Stripe Smut control and lawn fungus treatment, TruGreen® recommends the following cultural control tips: • Avoid fertilizers with high levels of nitrogen, especially during the summer months • Maintain a balanced fertility level • Irrigate as needed to prevent drought stress • Plant disease-resistant turf grass

Diagram

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