Full identification of phytophagous turfgrass mite species (TU13021)
What was it all about?
This project sought to identify the mite species impacting on warm season turfgrasses in Australia, to improve pest management and facilitate the future registration of chemicals to offer growers more effective, targeted control options.
Phytophagous mites cause significant production losses by distorting grass growth and reducing turf strength, so that it breaks or tears during harvest. Anecdotally, the loss of harvested product can reach 30 per cent or more.
Managers of turf facilities (sports fields, parks, golf courses, bowls greens, race tracks) also face two major issues in the event of a mite outbreak. The first is reduced use due to poor resistance to wear and slow recovery from wear, and the second is distortion and thinning of turf surfaces.
Mites were first identified as a problem in Australia 80 years ago, but prior to this project it was still unclear which mite species caused damage in which turfgrass species - although there was an assumption that mites from the Eriophyidae family were the main cause of damage.
Following on from a nationwide survey funded under a previous industry project during the 2010/11 growing season, this project identified two eriophyid and one tenuipalpid species in relation to mite damage on bermudagrass.
Researchers also identified a new tarsonemid mite species found extensively on both turf and pasture plantings of kikuyu grass, while grass-webbing tetranychid mites were found to occasionally affect these and a wide range of other warm season grasses non-selectively.
Based on the findings from this project, researchers developed a detailed description of the origin, distribution, symptoms and implications of these mite species for turf producers and turf facility managers.
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation
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