Organic Endophyte Enhanced Grass Uses
The presence of fungi in one's lawn can be undesirable. This is because fungi can cause lawn diseases, including brown patch, gray snow mold, and dollar spot. These diseases usually result in patches and discoloration. However, not all fungi will ruin a lawn's appearance.
Endophytes are fungi that live within grass plants. These fungi populate all parts of a plant-except for its roots. They're not detrimental to grass plants, but are actually beneficial to the plants. Although endophyte-enhanced grass is helpful for turfgrass, it can be harmful to any livestock living in pastures. This is because consuming endophyte-infected pasture grass prevents livestock from gaining weight. It can also cause "livestock staggers" and delirium.
Endophytes don't reside in every type of grass; however, they commonly live within tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, and fall fescues. Lawns containing these grass types can benefit from having endophytes because they produce a natural insecticide.
It's important to note that if the endophyte-infected seeds are not stored properly, they may lose their usefulness. Endophytes are best suited for cool, dry conditions.
Advantages of Endophyte Enhanced Grasses
There are a slew of benefits associated with endophyte-enhanced grasses. These grasses increase insect resistance, particularly against billbugs, chinch bugs, sod webworm, fall army worms, and argentine stem weevils. These grasses are also more drought tolerant than non-infected plants. Endophyte-infected grasses more easily out-compete weeds for water and vital nutrients, and require less irrigation and fertilizer than other turfgrasses. This means less money and time spent on maintenance.
Endophyte-enhanced grasses can also be used as a part of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which is a lawn care plan that may be able to remove pests from one's lawn without the use of harsh chemicals. Grasses containing these fungi are also only temporarily affected by fungicides.
How Do You Find Endophyte Grass Seed?
This type of fungi is only available in grass seed. Fortunately, you can buy endophyte-enhanced grass seed online and in stores. Since the fungus doesn't live for long periods of time when the grass isn't growing, it's important to find out when the grass seed was shelved before purchasing it.
Although endophytes can be beneficial to your lawn, you may want to talk with a lawn care expert before using endophyte-containing grass seeds.