A wide range of insect pests spanning several orders and many genera infest tall fescue. None of these insects specifically utilizes tall fescue as its host but most are generalist feeders on gramineous plants. Tall fescue can be regarded as a resilient plant that is tolerant of insect attack, both above and below ground. Nevertheless pest damage can impinge on its productivity and ability to persist, particularly in unfavorable environmental conditions.
Options for insect control are dictated by cost benefits and environmental considerations. In forage systems selection of control methods is limited by economics to cultural, management, or biological methods, which reduce insect populations or alleviate damage and are easily accommodated within usual farm practices (see Chapter 6 and Chapter 7). For turf tall fescue the aesthetic value of the turf demands a much lower threshold for insect damage than for fescue under grazing, since turfgrass management and economics allow a wider selection of methods for pest control (see Chapter 26).
Any decisions regarding control of pests of tall fescue and perennial ryegrass (L. perenne L.) should give consideration first to the effects that infection by Neotyphodium endophytes have on the insect concerned. These endophytes can protect their host from a wide range of insects, providing a simple, perpetual method of control. Endophyte infection can almost eliminate damage from some insects, but has only subtle or no effects on others. For this reason the present state of our knowledge on the effect of Neotyphodium infection on each group of insects is outlined, and some information is given on alternative methods of control.
More details on the insects and their control in turfgrasses are available in some excellent reviews (e.g., Tashiro, 1987; Potter and Braman, 1991; Brandenburg and Villani, 1995; Vittum et al., 1999). There are also several reviews on the interactions among plants, endophytes, and insects (e.g., Clement et al., 1994; Rowan and Latch, 1994; Breen, 1994; Popay and Rowan, 1994; Popay and Bonos, 2005).
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