According to the University of Georgia Forage Extension Team, they’ve had a number of calls from both growers and agents over the past week or so concerned that they should be spraying for Bermudagrass Stem Maggot (BSM). Even in the southern part of the state, the flies are just now starting to show up.
According to a release, the Forage Team said you might be able to find some damaged stems, but most of the widespread browning of the grass is probably due to the extreme heat and dry weather following an unusually cool and wet spring. BSM damage kills just the last 2 leaves, and does not turn the tips of the leaves brown.
They noted even in their well-watered research plots in Tifton, they are only seeing 10-20% damage in the most susceptible varieties.
And while some fields may have seen a little rain this past weekend, the drought situation many producers have been experiencing has caused a bit delay in hay harvest. That means there is more mature bermudagrass than usual.
So the Forage Team notes there is really no need to spray for BSM just yet, but growers should be alert and be ready to spray after the next cutting if there is a noticeable amount of damage.
To learn more, contact your local Extension office.