Turfgrass injury and damage is caused by either abiotic or biotic factors. Some examples of abiotic factors or stressors include extreme weather/temperatures, soil compaction, nutrients/light, excess or deficient water, and adverse cultural practices. On the flipside, biotic stressors include living factors such as fungi, bacteria, viruses and pests.
Though the differentiation between the two stressors may seem evident, the damage caused by both categories can often look very similar. Due to this, even when symptoms are closely observed an accurate diagnosis can be difficult.
So What Are Some Differentiating Characteristics of Abiotic & Biotic Stressors?
- Abiotic damage occurs on numerous plant species while biotic disease problems are more limited to a specific species.
- Abiotic damage does not spread to other plants over time, while biotic diseases can spread throughout a single plant and neighboring plants of the same species.
- Abiotic diseases do not show presence of disease signs whereas biotic diseases sometimes show physical signs of a pathogen, like fungal growth, nematode cysts, or the presence of insects.
Take a Step-by-Step Approach to Diagnosing
In order to accurately diagnose problems on your turf, experts at the University of Georgia Extension say it’s important to take a step-by-step approach to separate abiotic and biotic causes. (see steps below)
Within our portfolio of products, we have a multitude of products that can help work against three of the most common reasons for abiotic disorders or diseases on turfgrass: nutrients deficiencies, temperature extremes and moisture extremes.
Products in our water management line, such as Zipline and Aqueduct Flex, help to combat the latter of those two reasons by helping to evenly distribute water throughout the soil profile and providing increased protection against localized dry spot.
If you are looking to tackle biotic stressors on your turf, our active ingredient line can also provide solutions.
To learn more about all of our product lines and how they can help you address abiotic or biotic problems on your turf, visit our product pages.