In the past week, we have received multiple turf samples showing symptoms of zoysiagrass mite damage. Mite feeding causes the leaf to roll in on itself, protecting the mites underneath. As the leaf continues to roll, it can catch both older and newer growth, causing a large section of the plant to bend over creating an arch-like appearance.
Zoysiagrass mites are an occasional pest of zoysiagrass, although the varieties “Royal”, “Emerald” and “El Toro” are somewhat resistant to mite attack so damage may not be too severe. As with bermudagrass mites, cultural control options are the best way to minimize the damage seen with mite populations. Making sure the turf is properly irrigated and applying lime and fertilizer applications according to soil test recommendations- be sure to get soil tested prior to making an application; excessive nitrogen levels are associated with increased mite damage. Most chemical control options are not very effective (5-10% control) and repeat applications are often necessary. If making an application, it is often recommended to combine with a fertilizer to improve appearance of the grass while reducing the mite population.
For additional info on zoysiagrass mites check out our factsheet on Turffiles and Oklahoma State’s factsheet on bermudagrass and zoysiagrass mites.