Every Fall just about the time we change our clocks from daylight saving time weird camouflage patterns often appear across the canopy of many lawns, especially thick dense bermudagrass lawns. If you have already seen or will see this happening to your lawn in the next few weeks don’t become alarmed that some horrible disease, terrible insects, or perhaps even the military has invaded your lawn. There is nothing to worry about and the changes of your clocks only helps remind us that much cooler weather will soon be here. This phenomenon is simply the results of the first light frost or two of fall. Heat is absorbed into the soil during the day and radiates off at night through the dense canopy of leaf blades, stolons, etc. in these somewhat zigzag patterns. The small difference in temperatures is enough for frost to develop and kill leaf tissue in spots where the temperature has dropped low enough but not in others. Generally the denser and thicker the turf canopies the more likely for this phenomenon to occur. Once there is a hard freeze with a widespread heavy killing frost the camouflage patterns will disappear into a typical brown winter colored turf and your lawn will return to a healthy green next spring.
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. firstname.lastname@example.org