South Africa Turf Disease Guide - Spring Dead Spot

Disease and Insect Control
Sping Dead Spot - Turf Disease Guide

Causal Agent:

Ophiosphaerella korrae, Ophiosphaerella sp. formerly known as Leptosphaeria sp.

Susceptible Turfgrass:

Ultra-Dwarf Bermuda, Bermudagrass, Buffalograss, Kikuyu


Infected Bermudagrass shows disease symptoms as it emerges from Winter dormancy. Spring Dead Spot appears as bleached, straw-coloured, circular patches that measure up to several feet in diameter. The roots of affected plants turn dark brown to black.

Conditions Favouring Disease:

Spring Dead Spot favours cool, wet weather in Autumn and daily temperatures, of less than 16°C in May. Symptoms are usually seen in Spring. This disease is typically found where thatch
is more than 1.2 cm thick and in locations with poor drainage and low potash levels. Heavy applications of nitrogen in late Summer often increase disease severity the following Spring. Spring Dead Spot is more severe on Bermudagrass that is over three years old and in locations with long dormancy and cold temperatures.

South Africa Turf Disease Guide - Spring Dead Spot

Integrated Turf Management Tips:

  1. Treat in Autumn and do a follow up application 21 days later. Also do a Spring application. Best to spike prior to applying fungicide and water in immediately for a few minutes.
  2. Avoid late Summer or Autumn applications of nitrogen fertilizers which may enhance disease severity
  3. Use ammonium sources of nitrogen combined with potassium for fertilizer from Spring through early August
  4. Control weeds in affected turf to enhance recovery from Spring Dead Spot
  5. Apply moderate to high levels of phosphorous, potash, and minor elements
  6. Improve drainage of turf
  7. Reduce thatch
  8. Convert from common varieties to hybrid Bermudagrass with good Winter hardiness
  9. Use preventive fungicide applications in late September or October

Just tap the links below to read about other turf diseases. Or download the full free guide at the bottom.

  1. Anthracnose
  2. Brown Patch 
  3. Brown Ring Patch (Waitea Patch) 
  4. Dollar Spot 
  5. Fairy Ring 
  6. Superficial Fairy Ring 
  7. Grey Leaf Spot 
  8. Large Patch 
  9. Microdochium Patch 
  10. Powdery Mildew 
  11. Pythium Blight 
  12. Pythium Root Rot (Root Dysfunction) 
  13. Red Thread 
  14. Rhizoctonia Zeae (Rhizoctonia leaf and sheath spot) 
  15. Rusts: Crown, Leaf and Stem 
  16. Spring Dead Spot 
  17. Summer Patch 
  18. Take-all Patch  and
  19. Take-all Root Rot 

If you would like to have a complete copy with all the turf diseases, you can download it on the link below.

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Download the full guide here (14.41 MB).