There is a Potentially Devastating Lawn Virus in St. Petersburg

Mosaic Sugarcane Virus has been found in the Bayway Isles neighborhood.  The virus is mainly affecting Floratam lawns.  The outbreak began in the fall of 2013 showing blotchy patterns of yellow and green on the grass blades.  It progressed into a full necrosis and die-back and continued into the spring.  Some of the lawns recovered but only to suffer the same fate this fall.  Only time will tell if these lawns will recover again.

One of  biggest issues is trying to contain the virus; the virus is spreading from lawn mowers and line trimmers.  The only way to minimize this is to sanitize equipment between properties.  To do this, remove any plant material from the equipment and spray down parts with diluted bleach, quaternary ammonia (Greenshield), alcohol, or other sanitizing solution according to directions.  Fungicides and pesticides are ineffective and cannot stop the development or spread of Mosaic Sugarcane Virus and at this point there are no known chemical treatments.


When re-sodding lawns with mosaic disease, UF/IFAS recommends a variety other than Floratam.  Empire Zoysia is not known to be a host of this disease and Bitter Blue and Palmetto St. Augustine Grasses are less susceptible varieties.