Lawn disease or fungus, such as Brown Patch and Take All Root Rot plague lawns during this time of year because of increased moisture and decreased temperatures (especially at night). These issues are more prevalent in St. Augustine, and Zoysia lawns, and are not usually an issue for Bermuda. Bermuda can deal with other issues throughout the year, like Dollar Spot Fungus, although it is much less likely.
WHAT IS BROWN PATCH AND TAKE ALL ROOT ROT, AND HOW ARE THEY TREATED?
Brown Patch is a common turf grass disease that is found in many warm season turf grasses. It is usually identified by:
- Discoloration in the turf that is yellow or brown in hue
- Typically begins as circular patterns throughout the lawn, that can potentially spread into large patches
- Blades of the grass can be easily separated from the stolons of the grass, with a rotted appearance at the base of the detached leaves
To combat Brown Patch, a timely application of fungicide is the key to suppression and treatment, as well as cutting back from the high demands of summer watering. It is extremely important not to overwater your lawn, or water at night (always water in morning, as close to sunrise as possible), as excessive moisture will exacerbate fungal activity.
Take All Root Rot, also known as TARR for short, is a fungal disease caused by a soil borne pathogen that is commonly found in St. Augustine lawns in our general region in the great state of Texas. You can take samples of a lawn that is healthy and green, and take samples from a lawn that shows clear signs of fungus and disease, and both soil tests will come back that TARR is present. It lives in the soil in our area, but the difference is that its symptoms are more visible in certain conditions than it is in others.
Favorable conditions that cause symptoms of TARR include:
- Excessive rain during cool periods of the year
- Compacted soils (especially soils with lots of clay)
- Nighttime irrigation schedules
- Septic spray heads
- Excessive shade
- Poor drainage
When symptoms are visible in the lawn, you will notice a lime green coloration on the blades, and a very visible browning (rotting, hence the name) at the base of the stem where the roots begin. Similar to Brown Patch, fungicide and cutting back on watering cycles can help with managing the symptoms of TARR, as well as putting out sphagnum peat moss (call our office for a recommendation) in infected areas. While we don’t apply sphagnum peat moss, it is a very simple and cost-effective solution when performed in tandem with other treatments.
The most helpful tip is to AVOID WATERING YOUR LAWN AT NIGHT! Watering in the afternoon, evening, or wee hours of the morning allow excess water to rest on the thatch layer of the lawn, where fungus lives and breeds. Watering as close to sun-up will allow plenty of time between waterings for the lawn to dry out.
To help with either disease, we also recommend applying our N-Ext Air-8 liquid aeration treatment to your lawn. This uses a biological spray that penetrates the soil to have long lasting effects that allow compacted soils to absorb more air, water, and nutrients deeper down into the soil profile. This new pore space will help with surface tension, as well as encourage growth in thinner and bare areas in the lawn. Consequently, the root systems in your lawn are encouraged to grow deeper down into the soil profile, helping your lawn stay healthy, and making it stronger against drought stress in the absence of rain. This method has long term benefit!
If you are currently on our St. Augustine Plus Program, we have you covered for Brown Patch suppression and prevention with our Fall Brown Patch treatments. If you are not, or currently do not have a treatment plan at all, CONTACT OUR OFFICE at Aggieland Green, and we will be happy to help!
The Team at Aggieland Green