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View Full Version : Brown Patch? Cinch Bugs? ????????


Grassrootz
06-08-2004, 04:03 PM
I have an area on one of my properties where the grass is dying. The grass is St. Augustine and it is dying in a circle... large over 10 feet, with the center of it appears to be sinking.

What could this be, and how do you treat it?

Thanks...

MrBarefoot
06-08-2004, 04:41 PM
Do you have any pictures to share with us. It would help a lot.

Ric
06-08-2004, 04:49 PM
Originally posted by Grassrootz
I have an area on one of my properties where the grass is dying. The grass is St. Augustine and it is dying in a circle... large over 10 feet, with the center of it appears to be sinking.

What could this be, and how do you treat it?

Thanks...

Grassrootz

It should be too hot for Brown Patch so look for Chinch bugs in the good grass just out side the circle.

sjj14
06-08-2004, 09:16 PM
Is the outer edge of the ring brighter green than the existing turf?

Aproct
06-08-2004, 09:41 PM
Grassrootz,

Try this. If you think you have chinch bugs, take a coffee can and cut each end so you can look through it. Drive the can down into the ground in your area that you think you have the bugs. Fill the can up with water and watch, when the water goes down refill. Look and see if any of the adults float to the top. I had a problem on a lawn recently, I look and did see any thing, but upon closer examination, I had fungus. The fungus effect the grass the same as the chinch bugs, in a circle pattern. So, if you don't see anything in the thatch and nothing rises to the top of the can, than turn the fungus......

Grassrootz
06-09-2004, 03:11 PM
Thanks thus far... i will take a picture and post!

Thanks...GR

Green Dreams
06-09-2004, 04:14 PM
For a surf report I'll help you out....

This is obviously brown patch. The circle gives it away. It is most likely in a low area that gets watered alot. And it has rained quite a bit here lately. Rake it out and monitor the watering. I have yet to water here in Katy this year. Save your fungicide. It will recover as it dries out. If it stays wet, no chemical will help you anyway. Hollah at me if I can help again. While you are downthere, TURN OFF THE WIND AND BRING ME SOME GREEN WATER! LOL Drew

lawnguy26
06-09-2004, 09:17 PM
probably too hot for brown patch, if it is brown patch over a 10 foot area, it probably would be recovering in the center giving it a donut like appearance. Also if it's bpf the blades will pull from the sheaths very easily, will be rotten at the base and may have a fish like smell. It's probably drought or chinchbugs. Although I don't know what your temps. or rainfall has been there. Here, it's very hot and very dry. Good Luck.

Grassrootz
06-10-2004, 08:31 PM
attached are some pictures of the areas...

Thanks for your feedback.

MrBarefoot
06-10-2004, 09:05 PM
There is shade on the brown spot. Does part of the spot stay shady for most of the day. If that is the case, then I would say that chinchbugs are not likely your problem. I will write more later after my favorite TV show is over.

Green Dreams
06-10-2004, 09:42 PM
It's hard to tell, but it looks like take all patch. Can you get me some close ups of the edges? If it is... aerate the crap out of it, thrown down some sulfur granules and throw down a high rate of bayleton granules. Water deeply. Then sift in some peat moss over the area to promote recovery. Some may say that is more than it needs, but too much can't hurt here....Drew

Grassrootz
06-11-2004, 08:34 AM
MrBarefoot,
This area does stay in the shade most of the day, and the brown areas are real dead like it is rotten. It appears the roots are being attacked first.

Would it be a problem if I treated for both patch and cinch bugs? If this was a fungal problem what would you say it is?

gator-town
06-11-2004, 08:52 AM
judging by the pics the area in question is on a ridge, and in between two trees exposed to direct sunlight ... if that is the case then the rain water runs off quickly prior to percolating down into the roots ... compounding the problem is stress created by direct sun light ... Chinch bugs love stressed St Augustine grass and have no mercy ... treat with dish soap, dethatch, the plug, or resod ... St Augustine runners will grow back over covered area but plugging or resodding will ensure a fast recovery ...

Ric
06-11-2004, 09:38 AM
Originally posted by Grassrootz
MrBarefoot,
This area does stay in the shade most of the day, and the brown areas are real dead like it is rotten. It appears the roots are being attacked first.

Would it be a problem if I treated for both patch and cinch bugs? If this was a fungal problem what would you say it is?

Although It is too hot for Brown Patch, it could have been stressed by Brown Patch in early spring. Was May, 2004 as dry in Texas as it was in Florida? Take all Root Rot is caused by mismanagement and stress. Heavy herbicide use will help to enhance Take All Root Rot (Gaeumannomyces graminus graminus). Their are about 5 fungus that effect St Augustine, but Take All Root Rot and Brown Patch are the big ones.

Do a internet search under Gaeumannomyces graminus graminus and try and find the U of F website dealing with it. To my knowledge they are the only ones to of studied Gaeumannomyces graminus graminus on St Augustine.

Now Nematodes can be a possibility also but they would be spread out more. I still want to think it is Chinch Bugs.

MrBarefoot
06-11-2004, 10:13 AM
Originally posted by Grassrootz

...It appears the roots are being attacked first.

Would it be a problem if I treated for both patch and cinch bugs?

If this was a fungal problem what would you say it is?

First let me say that I operate in Michigan and I don't see any St. Augustine up here. So I don't know if various symptoms present the same way on our blues and ryes as they do your St. Augustine. Furthermore, I don't see some of the diseases that affect only those types of lawns. And I don't know if the seasonal patterns for various turf damaging insects are the same down there as they are up here.

You have the advantage of actually being able to see the patch and pull on the grass. Since you say "It appears the roots are being attacked first" that would give further evidence that Chinchbugs are not causing this damage.

Taking a closer look at the pictures, and reading your words, a few things looked interesting.

1. The grass is totally destroyed, down to the dirt.

2. There are no weeds growing in the bare dirt, doesn't even look like anything is starting. Up here a bare spot of dirt will get weeds growing in it.

3. The damage traverses an area that stays shaded.

4. The rest of the lawn looks well cared for an maintained.

I will be blunt and say that this damage does not look like any disease I have seen up here. This damage has the closest resemblance to grub damage.

If this was my lawn, I would try to rule out a few things.

I would ask the homeowner if they did anything on that spot this season, like empty some containers, pile something or park a vehicle (even for a short time). The goal here is to rule out anything environmental, situational or conditional that may have unintentionally damaged the lawn.

I would also check for grubs, and do the coffee can water test and see what floats up.

Seed the area with grass seeds and put some tacky mulch on it and see if the grass grows. Make sure the homeowner takes care of the seeds to ensure a typical germination. This test will show if the soil is still able to support grass. The absence of weeds, and the scale of turf damage is making me question it, and also makes me suspect human influence as the cause of the damage.

And finally, if you can have a soil test done, do it.

I would not apply an insect control without some indication of a turf damage insect, given the contraindications of chinchbugs, let your coffee can test be the guiding factor here.

I also think that "Take-all-patch" is a suspect, and I agree with Green-Dreams' approach. If you want to post some close ups, that would be worth looking at.

In closing, I know my advice is not in line with some other people. This is my opinion and I am not trying to start a fight.

Ric
06-11-2004, 11:03 AM
MrBarefoot

The most important think you said was that you DON"T KNOW ST AUGUSTINE. St Augustine grows from runners not seed and Grubs are not actively eating this time of year. This spot as you have observed is in sun between two trees that offer shade to keep in moisture. Full sun and lack of moisture will stress any turf. The damage I see looks like chinch bugs to me. However this guy is inexperienced and does really know what or where to look. Therefore I can only take an educated guess that it is Chinch Bugs.

Green Dreams
06-11-2004, 12:19 PM
This will solve it... call Frank the commercial sales guy at Tru Green in your area. Tell him you need a bid and want him to check out this one bad spot. He'll probably know what it is. Then treat accordingly. I still say Take All and have learned the agronomics greatly vary here. SA, Austin, Dallas and Houston are like 3 different regions. I have seen lots of lawns here in 16 years. Take All is always the one that stumps everyone.

I appreciate this board and all the different views. Y'all keep me on my toes and motivate me with your insight.

Drew

scweedman
06-11-2004, 12:41 PM
Looks like brown patch. I've seen chinch bugs wipe out a lawn
in a 2 days. I use Prostar on brown patch the best stuff
for the money period.

scweedman
06-11-2004, 12:53 PM
Is this new, was the area fine last year?
Does it hold water? Are the circles spreading
and edges yellow? If this is a fungus don't
fertilize it. It will make the fungus worse.

MrBarefoot
06-11-2004, 01:29 PM
Ric,

"The most important think you said was that you DON"T KNOW ST AUGUSTINE."

I didn't say that, what I said was...

"...I don't see any St. Augustine up here." and "...I don't know if various symptoms present the same way on our blues and ryes as they do your St. Augustine."

Do you see the difference?

For the record I do know something about St. Augustine, but I do know a lot more about the Rye's and Blue grass's I work with daily.

You also stated:

"Grubs are not actively eating this time of year." I grant you that.

Have you ever seen a case where grub damage didn't present itself until several weeks after feeding, when other stresses started being felt? I have on our grasses up here.

Additionally, I didn't say it was grubs, I said:

"This damage has the closest resemblance to grub damage." And the context was about the visual appearance of the damage, in comparison to what I have seen up here.

We do have Chinchbugs up here in the Enchanted Mitten, some of the things that point to Chinchbugs are.

1. Damage in the sunniest parts of the lawn.
2. A darker blueish color on the edge of the damage pattern.
3. Damaged grass has a copperish color to it.
4. No damage in the shadier parts of the lawn.

Perhaps the higher temperatures of Texas counter the sunlight specific symptoms we get here in Michigan, and the color differences I mention may be different among grass varieties, I don't know. That is why I suggested the coffee can test.

Regardless, I gave my opinion based on what I know. And I tempered that opinion by pointing out the difference operating here (in Michigan) and there (Texas), and by admitting that I don't see St. Augustine up here.

I can offer an educated guess also. The person who asked the question in the first place gave me the impression that they would benefit from some problem solving advice which is why I offered the other steps. It doesn't hurt to be through, especially since I was asked to diagnose a problem in an unfamiliar grass.

After reading your post to me, I sensed some hostility. I would be happy if you told me I am wrong about that.

Ric
06-11-2004, 09:44 PM
Mr. Barefoot

Don't get your bowels in an up roar, I meant no harm. I would not know Fescue from Blue grass if I saw it. I can quote the problem of said turf from a book but that doesn't mean I know it. By the same token I am sure you are not an expert on C-4 Turf.

Given the information I looked to the most common problem first. If I was actually looking at the problem I can diagnose it on St Augustine fairly well. If I was not totally sure a lab sample would tell the tale. However in most cases if you don't treat right away you have lost more turf than you can save. If in fact this is Gaeumannomyces graminus graminus then mycelium will be growing on the surface in the early morning and there will be physical evident for that disease.

Grassrootz
06-11-2004, 10:30 PM
If this helps at all, I picked up the account a while back and they were not interested in fixing it, due to money... we are dealing with a townhome complex with many elderly on the homeowners board. This problem has been here for over 5 months and there has not been anything growing in it during the entire period. I will post a close up next week and also do the coffee can trick. Thanks...GR

Ric
06-11-2004, 11:06 PM
Originally posted by Grassrootz
If this helps at all, I picked up the account a while back and they were not interested in fixing it, due to money... we are dealing with a townhome complex with many elderly on the homeowners board. This problem has been here for over 5 months and there has not been anything growing in it during the entire period. I will post a close up next week and also do the coffee can trick. Thanks...GR

Grassrootz

After 5 months it is hard to tell what caused it. Maybe it was grubs, but they are not active this time of year. Maybe it was Brown patch, but it is now too hot for it. Maybe is was Chinch Bugs but a heavy rain drown them. Maybe it is time to tell your customer They need new sod and a regular pest control service if they what nice grass.

grassguy_
06-13-2004, 09:04 AM
Judging by the pics you have here and the climate and conditions your area goes through, I would strongly beleive that excessive water may be the culprit. Long standing water in an area will especially do this type damage to an area even long after the water visibly has percolated through. If this were chinchbug you would obviously see them doing the shuffle along the sidewalk area and more than likely have damage to the other side of the walk. It could be some disease activity as well but again some of the otrher areas around would probably have symptoms as well which doesn't appear the case. ANother thing to work at ruling out is any kind of water main or gas line leak in the vicinity. I have actually seen a natural gas line leak where it had contaminated the surrounding soil to a point the grass died completely near the sidewalk. Needless to say the gas company was happy to find the leak as well as the homeowner.

Green Dreams
06-13-2004, 10:11 AM
You can see in the pics that there is a slope that lets the water drain. Sure looks like Take All. It's been there for 5 months? Take All. Good luck to you, GR. Let us all know if you can get someone to diagnose it for you...Drew

Ric
06-13-2004, 10:44 AM
Originally posted by Ric
If in fact this is Gaeumannomyces graminus graminus then mycelium will be growing on the surface in the early morning and there will be physical evident for that disease.