Preventing Brown Patch in Your Lawn

In Fall on June 24, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Written by green-admin

The summer weather is heating up around St. Louis which means that your lawn is more susceptible to brown patch.  Brown patch, or Rhizoctonia blight, is a lawn disease caused by the Rhizoctonia solani fungus that attacks turf in hot weather.  It can attack any type of grass but most commonly affects tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, creeping bentgrass, and annual bluegrass.

Brown patch appears on lawns as brown, circular patches that can vary in size from just a few inches to a few feet in diameter.  Affected areas may also show a fungal growth of mycelium that resembles strands of cobweb in the morning dew.  Areas affected by brown patch will discolor and if no action is taken and the grass will die.  Brown patch is most active when the temperature and humidity are at relatively high levels with the highest activity occurring once the temperature reaches 85 degrees during the day and remains above 60 degrees over night.  Periods of high moisture, rain, or overcast skies in combination with high temperatures form favorable conditions for brown patch.

While the weather is a major determinant in the formation of brown patch, these other factors can also contribute to its occurrence:

  • Overwatering
  • Late afternoon watering
  • Mowing in the evening, when the lawn is wet, or with a dull blade
  • Poor drainage and air movement in the soil
  • Thatch build up
  • Shaded areas

Brown patch can effectively be prevented by a healthy lawn with a strong root system.  The slow release, granular fertilizer applied by Green T contributes to a strong root system that can fight off common lawn diseases when healthy.  Spring and fall aeration can also help as it loosens the soil to improve drainage and reduce thatch.  However, if your lawn shows symptoms of brown patch, the following actions can help:

  • Do not water affected areas until the soil is dry
  • Water thoroughly and infrequently rather than watering lightly more frequently
  • Only water in the mornings so that the soil and grass can dry before sun down
  • Mow frequently with a sharp blade at the highest setting

If brown patch persists in your lawn after trying these techniques, notify a Green T technician.  We offer fungicide applications that can help eliminate fungal lawn diseases like brown patch.  We also offer granular fertilizer applications throughout the season to promote a healthy root system as well as fall and spring aerations.  Enjoy your lawn this summer by keeping it free from brown patch.

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Controlling Leaf Blight in Your Lawn

In Fall on June 10, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Written by green-admin

The weather in the St. Louis area is warming up but the wet conditions along with the heat create the right environment for leaf blight.  This fungal disease attacks Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue during warm, damp or humid weather that is typical of late spring and late summer.  Leaf blight causes large patches of a lawn to become discolored which many homeowners wrongly diagnose as chemical burn or heat stress.  It is important to be able to identify leaf blight damage in order to control the situation.

Identification:

The main warning sign of leaf blight is bleached, straw-colored turf in uniform patches that can vary greatly in size.  Damage from leaf blight can be distinguished from heat stress or chemical burn by the bleached leaf tips of the grass blades.  Leaf blight causes grass blades to die or wilt from the tip down and can even leave hour glass shaped lesions on the blades.

Causes:

Leaf blight thrives in warm, moist weather typical of the late spring and early fall, but it can also be a problem through the summer as well if humidity levels are high.  The fungus that causes leaf blight is the most active at temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees.  While the weather is undoubtedly a factor in the occurrence of leaf blight, these actions may also contribute to its development:

  • Excessive watering
  • Mowing when the lawn is wet
  • Mowing with dull blades which tears the grass

Control:

Dry weather conditions are usually enough to cause leaf blight to disappear but it will leave the lawn substantially thinner.  If prolonged periods of humidity or wet conditions persist, then leaf blight may last further into the summer and require action to alleviate the problem.  Here are the three best strategies for controlling leaf blight:

  • Aeration: Removing excess thatch and reducing soil compaction through aerations can help prevent the disease.
  • Fertilization: A healthy, strong root system is a lawn’s best defense against all diseases and proper fertilization is the best way to maintain a strong root system.  Fertilizer with adequate nitrogen levels can help damaged lawns recover from thinning caused by leaf blight.
  • Proper Mowing and Watering: Practicing good mowing and watering techniques will minimize turf stress and leave your lawn less vulnerable to diseases.  Watering should only be done in the morning hours if the rain fall is insufficient and mowing should be done when the grass is dry with a sharp mower blade.
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