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Entries in brown patch fungus (2)

Thursday
Jul192012

Summer Lawn Care

We are full swing into Brown Patch fungus season as well as Nutsedge weed growth. We've had a good amount of rainfall this summer in the form of afternoon thunderstorms producing a large quanity of water on the turf at once. And thats exactly what makes those 2 lawn issues thrive!

For treatment of Brown Patch we are rotating between Armada and Disarm fungicides. We get about 30 days control after each treatment and using different active ingredients will reduce disease tolerance in the lawn.

We are using a combination of products for weed control treatment during the summer. Drive is an excellent control of crabgrass and a few other grassy/broadleaf weeds. Dismiss is used for nutsedge control as well as some broadleaf. And then we will use Momentum for control of more aggressive broadleaf weeds such as buttonweed and spurge. As always, we must be very careful when spraying herbicides during the heat of the summer. Some of these products can stress out the fescue grass if its too hot, and rain or irrigation within 24 hours will reduce effectiveness.

Wednesday
May302012

Brown Patch Fungus In Charlotte NC

This is a turf disease that we see every year around the beginning of Summer. Every fescue lawn has it to a degree, the extent of damage to the turf depends on the specific conditions on your property. The fungus actually lays dormant at the soil level until conditions are right for it to infect the leaves of fescue turf. If the conditions are perfect it can really thrive and do some severe damage.

Conditions for Brown Patch: Typically the circular brown patches in the lawn will start to form when temperatures stay above 65 at night and get into the upper 80s and 90s during the day. When we reach this temperature range, a series of afternoon/evening thunderstorms that keep the grass wet overnite will really accelerate brown patch development. Fescue lawns that are fertilized too heavily with nitrogen, or cut too short will usually see rapid disease development. Areas that are shady in the afternoon or have poor drainage are also prime areas for brown patch.

 

Symptoms of Brown Patch: It starts out by forming small brown lesions bordered by a dark brown band on the individual turf blades (figure 1). If you look closely at your lawn you can pick out the infected grass plants. This quickly browns out the entire grass blade and creates circular brown spots in the lawn that can be anywhere from 6” to a couple feet in diameter.

Treatment of Brown Patch: A fungicide treatment is the strongest line of defense to prevent and control brown patch fungus.  However, there are a few limitations to relying on fungicides; the products are expensive, a treatment only has a 30 day residual, and the disease can build up a resistance if using the same product over and over again. This means that we have to switch up the products we use with a round 2 fungicide treatment to introduce a new ingredient to avoid resistance. Of course, if your on the Whitehouse Premium Lawn Care Program full disease protection is included in your plan. For those that pay extra for disease treatments, I have a strategy that will keep your costs down as much as possible. The first fungicide treatment will be a “wall-to-wall” application over the entire lawn to wipe out all of the existing fungus present in the lawn. After the 30 day residual is over, I will be monitoring your property and can spot spray any new fungus areas that come up later in the summer, hopefully for a much smaller cost. I think this is the best way to keep the fungus in check during the entire season while not hitting you hard with big charges on your invoice.

What YOU can do to minimize Brown Patch: Water management is the key to minimizing brown patch. We know that water sitting on the grass overnite activates the fungus, so you definitely do not want to water the lawn in late afternoon or night. Early to mid morning is the best watering time to allow the grass to dry quickly during the day. I can't stress enough the importance of auditing your irrigation system this time of year. We should be on the lookout for drainage problems in the yard and avoid over-watering. I will let you know if we see any areas that need improved drainage so we can come up with a solution.

On our side, we raise the mowing height on our mowers a little bit and keep the blades sharp every week. The lawn care treatment program and products I use are designed to provide the right amount of balanced nutrients to your lawn. I also make sure our spreaders and sprayers are calibrated to put out the right amount of product. We use premium grass seed when we overseed in the fall that has increased resistance to brown patch and mix in organic products to allow turf to recover quickly from any stress. Many lawn care companies will go with cheaper, quick release fertilizers to get a quick green up (especially the big national companies). They might get impressive short-term results but this always causes disease problems and stress on the lawn at some point.

I prefer to take into account the long-term impact of lawn treatments as well as getting results right away. I also do my best to keep prices as low as possible. Sometimes this means using premium products that last longer to prevent future costs.

Please let me know if you have any questions about lawn care. Coming up next month we will address Japanese Beetles and white grubs.