Monday, September 24, 2018

Rain Bad for the Lawn??? Fungal Issues a Major Concern Right Now

Who would have every guessed that rain could be bad for your lawn?  Well, too much rain in combination with other factors can actually cause issues in the turf and we are starting to see this all over the San Antonio area.

Typical Brown Patch Damage.  Photo by Matthew Rogers 

Brown Patch is a fungus typically seen in the fall in warm season grasses such as St. Augustine, Bermuda and Zoysia.  St. Augustine, Raleigh variety is extremely susceptible to Brown Patch, well above and beyond any other type of turf.

Brown Patch arises in susceptible varieties when we have intense rains, high humidity cloudy days, poor soil drainage, compacted soils and over watering.  You've seen it all over town... it just rained for days and sprinklers are still on!  We have extremely saturated soils, so drainage is near impossible, and days and days without sun leads to a perfect storm for Brown Patch to thrive!

What Brown Patch is NOT:
Grubs - its too late in the year for grubs to be actively feeding.  They are fat and happy and full and either already pupa (which do not eat) or getting ready to become pupa.
Chinch Bugs - its far too wet and cool for chinch bugs to have any sort of population that would lead to insect issues.

Here's what you can do as a homeowner when you see Brown Patch:

  1. Get it diagnosed by a certified nursery professional or turf specialist
  2. F-Stop Granules by Fertilome.  Found at any nursery or feed store.  There are two application rates on the label.  Use the higher application rate on the bad areas of the grass and lower rate on the rest of the lawn to prevent spread.
  3. Two weeks after you treat with the fungicide, core aerate the lawn.  This will allow for better air circulation, reduce soil compaction, and assist with better drainage.  Be careful with in ground sprinkler systems.
  4. At the end of October, winterize your lawn with an 18:6:12 fertilizer formulation.

Don't forget!  TURN OFF ALL SPRINKERS!!!  We have enough deep moisture to established plants through to March.  Unless we have a a super dry winter, no need to water anymore!  If we do have a super dry winter (no moisture at all, warmer than normal, etc.) water once a month. 

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