View Full Version : Lawn Care

07-03-2004, 09:52 AM
I purchased my home 2 months ago, 1 of the items that made me fall in love was the lawn. The prior owner took great care, he had Bitter Blue brought in and all admires it. Myself I followed his lead, but something is wrong. I am from Vt so Bitter Blue and this hot sun is new. I mow every 3 to 4 days (at evening) & (as needed) I was watering as he had, until rain season kicked in. I do still use the sprinkler system when needed. The problem is, it is turning brownish is so many areas, parts seem to look like they are dying, Also in areas it looks as if someone has tore up parts in between rows. I was raking daily in the early am to get the pine needles off, as some days looks like trucks loads were dumped. Other than mow & raking it gets no traffic.
Some are saying Not enough Water- others says To Much and also saying to much raking.
I sure don't want to loose my great lawn so please for any help I sure would be Thankful from you in here.
I surfed the net and found your site and here I am.
I took pictures if you think you need to see.
Thank You for being here for lost people like me.
JustLearning :confused:

07-03-2004, 10:34 AM
Please post the pictures. They will go a long way in helping us help you.

You can also call a local lawn service company and ask them to do a free lawn analysis. That way you will get some answers fast. The downside of calling a lawn company is that they will want to sell you stuff.

07-03-2004, 10:40 AM
sounds like it is either a fungus or chinch bugs a picture would help

07-03-2004, 02:13 PM
I will post the pictures I took,(just how to see to do so) I also kept the same Lawn Spray service, who comes every other month. I in fact called them at the start of this, they said Not Enough Water and had me up to 1 hr each zone. they said that is the only problem, so why with the rain season here and sprinkler in between Is It Growing Worse?

07-03-2004, 02:51 PM
I have some pictures, hope they posted okay for you to see & check out

07-03-2004, 02:53 PM
Here is another

07-03-2004, 03:06 PM
this is the one that looks like a road for small critters

07-03-2004, 05:35 PM
Thank for putting those up.

I don't think its over watering, or chinchbugs.

Turf disease is the most likely cause, Here are some links for you, check these out and see if they look like what you have.



Good Luck

07-04-2004, 01:53 AM
Just Learning

We are all still learning and hopefully we will never stop learning. Bitter Blue is the Oldest Culivar of St Augustine developed in the Caroline's in the 1930's. It Has a great cold tolerance as well as Shade Tolerance. It has a course texture and is hard to tell apart from Floratan. However Bitter Blue has a deeper blue green color than Floratan and generally cost a little more than Floratan from the sod growers. It makes a better turf than Floratan (the most common St Augustine turf in Florida). Now the reason most people now use Floratan is its chinch bug resistants.

I disagree with Mr Barefoot on Take All root Rot (Gaeumannomyces graminis, graminis). However the pictures are hard to really tell from. If in fact your St Augustine Lawn has Take All Root Rot, you can see the Mycelium (fruiting bodies of the fungus) growing in the early morning. However you could of had Brown Patch (rhizoctonia solani). Once the temperature reaches 85 and above it goes domain until late fall. Next winter it will raise it's ugly head again.

I think that because of the Late rainy season and a long hot dry season this spring and the fact the sky was cloudless You might of had chinch bugs. Bitter Blue has no resistance to chinch bugs. The fact that you have raked out much of the thatch, it makes the diagnosis harder from a picture. If this happens again please do not rake out the dead grass or thatch. It serves a proposes of helping the turf to recover. By raking it out you open up niches for the germination of weeds. Sometime we can over care or kill our grass with kindness.

I suggest you let this turf grow back in, and watch for weeds. Have your professional Lawn Care company treat any weeds as they appear and pray you don't get any Bermuda grass weeds. If you get Bermuda Grass weeds, Roundup the area and have it re sod-ed. In Late September or early October have a fungicide put down at preventive rate. BTW if you had not raked the yard and it looked like it does, I would have guessed Brown Patch. Take All Root Rot is very uncommon on St Augustine.

Greg Amann
07-04-2004, 02:25 PM
Your right on Ric!
And if you don't mind me adding to it.
We are 30 miles west of Orlando and I have seen this problem wide spread. What we have found is in most cases, is that the irrigation system is usually inefficient in areas that show up like this. We call them hot spots. If we go without rain for a week the soil in these areas become hydrophobic. We have our customers apply dry laundry powder at about 1 lb. per 1,000 sq. ft. and run the irrigation behind it. If the grass is just rolled up to conserve energy and reduce transpiration it will green up in a couple of days. If it has already turned brown you will need to help the area fill back in by applying a top dressing of milorganite and sand. The milorganite will encourage growth into these areas and the sand will provide a rooting medium as well as being white, will not heat up and stress the new tender growth on 95 degree days.

07-04-2004, 03:36 PM

Thanks for the milorganite and sand tip. Yes I use milorganite for plugging St Augustine all the time. Also use it everytime we install landscape to give it a good start.

As for soap as a wetting agent I use Respond as a wetting agent with insecticide applications to break surface tension. However Laundry powder will also act as a good pesticide, both fungus and insects as well as some herbicide properties. Nothing wrong with a bath for your turf. However I am not sure of the legalities of such as far as EPA reg. Insecticidal soap however is totally legal.


I just did a search to see you haven't posted in quite a while. A couple of weeks ago your name came up and someone said they saw you in Sarasota and you had made a change. Pm or e-mail me and bring me up to date.

07-05-2004, 04:19 PM
Just Learning,

Put a couple cylindrical cans, such as tuna cans, around the yard and run the irrigation system. Make sure you have a can in the browning areas as well as the green areas. Run the system for 30 min. and check the depth in each can. I'll bet you are getting less water in the browning areas which caused these areas to die during the very dry month of May. These are your hot spots, and the irrigation system should be calibrated to apply 3/4" of water to all areas of the lawn with each application. With the rains upon us now we are starting to see the damage that was done during May and early part of June. However, with the heavy rains we've had lately these areas should start to recover. If they are getting worse than chinchbugs have probably infested these dry areas which your Lawn Care Co. should be able to diagnose and treat very easily.