Scientists don’t know why the disease suddenly morphed and began spreading in Palm Beach and Pinellas counties. The main target of the virus appears to be Floratam St. Augustine lawns. And so far lawn care pros there have no tools to stop it, other than cleaning lawn equipment or replacing sod with more resilient varieties, said Phil Harmon, a plant pathologist with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
"At this point we don’t know what the outcome will be, so we’re being proactive and trying to get the word out," Harmon said.
The disease first appeared in sugarcane and sod growing near cane fields in the 1960s, Harmon said. To control the disease, growers developed resistant sugarcane. The virus virtually disappeared, only appearing sporadically in grass near cane fields and only causing yellowing.
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