Palm Beach County, Florida
Lethal Viral Necrosis of Floratam St. Augustinegrass (sometimes called LVN, Sugarcane Mosaic Virus or SCMV) was first verified in Palm Beach County, Florida via laboratory analysis in November 2014, although it was likely here earlier. It is now found in a few other areas of Florida, and was originally seen on the southern end of St. Petersburg in the Tampa Bay area. Earlier research indicated that two viruses were involved. However, the latest research has clarified that only one virus, sugarcane mosaic virus is the causal pathogen.
The virus usually kills Floratam cultivar of St. Augustinegrass within 3 years, or less. Other St. Augustinegrass cultivars and most warm season turfgrasses (excluding Zoysiagrass) can harbor the virus, but are not killed by it. Symptoms on these non-Floratam cultivar grasses are called
mosaic. But again, the “lethal necrosis" is only known to occur in Floratam St. Augustinegrass cultivar.
Losses to LVN in Palm Beach County have been substantial, and are likely to spread because Floratam cultivar of St. Augustinegrass is so widely used in our landscapes. This Floratam disease is not treatable with any fungicides or pesticides. Avoidance through sanitation, and replacement with turf cultivars or species other than Floratam are currently the only turf options. The following links provide additional information including details about what you can do.