Seashore paspalum has critical and distinct irrigation requirements, unique herbicide tolerances and requirements, a higher salinity tolerance, and varied disease and insect pressures than bermudagrass. While seashore paspalum is not necessarily difficult to manage, its management requirements are different than that of bermudagrass — even though both grass families are warm-season, fine-textured turfgrassess used on golf courses, sports fields and lawns. For best results, forget what you know about managing bermudagrass. When it comes to seashore paspalum management, treat paspalum like paspalum. The following section offers a comprehensive library of best practices for seashore paspalum management.
Disease Identifications & Management
Seashore paspalum turfgrass swards will grow at the top of their genetic potential as long as nutrients, moisture, light and favorable temperatures are provided. Diseases on these turfgrass species are the exception and not the rule. However, turfgrass stands can be injured and damaged by biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) agents. Pathogenic diseases can be caused by differ classes of pathogens such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, phytoplasma, mollicutes, and nematodes. In order to have a pathogenic disease, three factors must always be present: (1) a susceptible host, (2) a parasitic organism, (3) environmental conditions that are favorable to the pathogen. If a susceptible host and organism are present, a disease will develop only if moisture and temperature conditions are favorable for that organism to infect. Disease management is based on the elimination of any one of these factors. Utilizing a resistant cultivar (host), using chemicals to destroy the pathogen, or altering the environment will result in disease control.
Proper disease diagnosis and management requires thorough examination of the site, knowledge of relevant past and present environmental conditions, in-depth knowledge of plant species biology, site management history, pathogen life cycles and epidemiology, and an orderly series of tests to determine possible causes.
Agronomic considerations in seashore paspalum vary from other warm-season grasses—especially bermudagrass. When growing and maintaining seashore paspalum, it’s important to understand the differences in requirements for fertility, irrigation, mowing, thatch management and verticutting. This section offers recommendations, tips and best practices.
Herbicides & Weed Control
Weeds are the major pests on many turfgrass sites. Weeds compete with turfgrasses for growing space, sunlight, soil moisture, and plant nutrients. Additionally, weeds detract from the natural beauty of turfgrasses due to differences in color, size, shape, and growth habit. Weeds species such as lawn burweed (Soliva pterosperma) and khakiweed (Alternanthera pungens) produce fruit with sharp-tipped spines and can cause injuries to humans. On golf courses, goosegrass (Eleusine indica) and other weeds disrupt the uniform surface of putting greens and interfere with ball roll.
There are several types of insects that seem to like paspalum in particular, and left untreated, can cause significant damage. If you detect an insect infestation you will need to spray your seashore paspalum with an insecticide. Fortunately, there are a number of products that can be used for this. Once the insects are controlled, the grass will grow back.