North Carolina’s shopping center developers often choose to plant creeping bentgrass on their properties for one simple reason. It can really hold up well in high traffic areas. Unfortunately, it is also susceptible to a variety of ailments, including red leaf spot. Caused by a particularly prolific fungus, red leaf spot traditionally starts to rear its ugly head in April. So, now is the time for shopping center maintenance crews to think proactively. Otherwise, their properties’ landscapes could go from looking like luscious green paradises to sickly, reddish-brown messes.
When a shopping center’s landscape includes creeping bentgrass, irrigation and storm water management are two of the keys to keeping red leaf spot at bay. That’s because the fungus that causes the disease to occur thrives in wet, sheltered, warm and shaded environments. Consequently, drip irrigation systems and a variety of stormwater management practices should be put into place. Examples include, but are not restricted to green parking lot design, permeable pavement or pavers, tree box filters, stormwater planters and inlet protection devices. Of course it is also important to lay out a shopping center’s landscape in a way that exposes the creeping bentgrass to wind and sunshine at least part of the time. That way, Mother Nature can help do her part in keeping red leaf spot at bay.
It should be noted that the fungus loves to attack turf that has been weakened by drought, a nitrogen imbalance or improper lawn mowing techniques as well. So, a comprehensive, shopping center maintenance plan should include aggressive thatch removal, hedge trimming, mowing, tree pruning or removal, turf fertilization and fungicide application as needed. To learn more about creating a shopping center maintenance plan that will effectively address red leaf spot problems, please contact us at Long Brothers Landscaping today. We service shopping centers in areas like Raleigh, Durham and Cary.