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Fungus Question (pics incl.)

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by stevezmom, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. stevezmom

    stevezmom LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    I believe I have a fungus. I'm not sure if its brown patch, summer patch, or dollar spot. I understand that watering is not good when trying to kill the fungus. I have cut back the watering to twice a week. My sickly looking Redwoods need water so I water them by hand every morning. So my question is this...Why is the grass so lush where I water everyday? No sign of fungus around the dripline but not even a foot out its really bad. I am so confused on this any input would be appreciated.

    The pic was taken on the 17th. Its hard to see the brown spots because it was taken at dusk but I wanted to throw it in so you can see how it is growing. I havn't mowed since then because of all the fires here its almost unbearable to breathe out there. It will be mowed today.

    The 2nd pic was taken this morning. better lighting you can see the brown patches so close to the nicer looking green under the tree.

    Oh and if anyone has any helpful insight on what I could do for these Redwoods.....


  2. Oyabun

    Oyabun LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Just saw your thread earlier and saw this on a turf site I had bookmarked

    It seems that it isnt water related when it comes to brown patch but related to the night temps.
  3. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    My vote (not being able to see it first hand) is for water related issues due to soil compaction and competition.

    How much and often are you watering?

    p.s. those redwoods don't need daily watering.
  4. stevezmom

    stevezmom LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    Thanks for the replies. I wish I had know to start the prevenative stuff as we will probably not have a night below 60 for a few months. I failed to mention that this is fairly new sod (about 6 mos) and I kept telling the "landscaper" something wasnt right. It was'nt growing anywhere near uniform and he insisted it was fine. I kept complaining so he brought out a rep from the sod farm. They did say to be sure and spray for bugs but never mentioned fungus.

    Can I aerate newer sod? The ground does seem hard and i did stab it with screwdiver repeatedly in that area last week.

    I was watering every other day but I have it cut back to every 4 days for 45 mins in the early morning starting at around 4am.

    Am I overwatering the Redwoods? They really start drooping (yes it does get worse) when they get thier daily drink. They seem to be getting fried on one side.

    This stuff gets so overwhelming thats why I'm here. If someone can get me off in the right direction...the sod farm and landscaper told me to use trip 16 fertilizer so I did only to find out I shouldnt be givng the lawn nit with its fungus. There are millions of tiny gnat looking bugs, in the decorative bark, in the grass, on the porch even. I'm hoping they are harmless. When I did spray the bug stuff it killed a bunch because I had to really look to find them but it doesnt take long for them to come back. So do I spray for the bugs? Do I fertilize? Do I apply the fungicide? Do I do all 3? I am afraid of doing too much so I have only been doing the fungicide every 7 days (that was a liquid) This time I bought granules and its every 14 days. Should I be giving it anything inbetween?

    I have had a ton of work done on this house. The few things we hired "professionals" for turned out to be a nightmare. I am terrified of calling someone out to help me. If anyone knows of someone in the Redding, Ca area that actually knows what they are doing please please let me know.

    Thanks for any feedback. Also does anyone argue that this is indeed a fungus? For all I know i might be giving medicine it doesnt even need. I will add in some close up shots....

    They came out a little blurry but hopefully you see it ok and the 2nd one is after i mowed yesterday

    Again, thanks for the help!!


  5. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Couple of recommendations.

    1) Don't apply anything (pesticide or fertilizer) until your determine a need. You want to encourage your soil biology, not discourage it. :)

    2) Your 4 day schedule is probably not enough for fescue in your region. Down in my area, which has about the same weather conditions, every 3 days is about as far as I can push it (in full sun) before I start seeing decline. Also, depending on your sprinkler types and system efficiency, you may be putting on too much water, or not enough. What type of sprinklers do you have?

    3) Plan on core aerating and compost in the fall. In the meantime, add a thin layer of compost for the entire lawn.

    As I said in my first post, when I see browning like that in my area, more times than not it is due to compaction, which leads to water issues, shallow rooting, poor infiltration, etc.... Keep in mind, dumping more fertilizers on your lawn will exacerbate your compaction problems. Take your screw driver and test various spots in your yard to see the difference between browning areas and areas that appear OK and let us know what you discover.
  6. stevezmom

    stevezmom LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    The sprinklers are the kind the pop up and spray, they dont turn (not sure what you call them).

    I think you were right about the compaction. I just went out (note the sprinklers ran today for 45 min) and I could not get the screwdriver to even penetrate the ground in the worst section, it felt like cement. It went in fairly easy in the "good" areas.

    Ok so now I need to lay a thin layer of compost, any suggestions on brand, or anything I need to stay away from?

    What can I do to prevent this? Since I shouln't aerate til fall should I get the hammer and pound some holes in those areas?

    Thank you soooo much I was not even close to being on the right track. So confusing:wall
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Pop-ups :)

    Yup, now you know what the most likely cause is. How long has it been since your sod was installed?

    I buy mine in bulk, so I can't speak for big box stuff. My suggestion to you, since you need a good deal of it, is find a local bulk dealer, figure out how much you need to cover all your lawns to about 1/4" thickness, then get them to deliver it. You can get your son, or some local neighborhood kid to spread it for you with a wheel barrow, shovel, and lawn rake.

    You can aerate just about any time of the year in our climate. The best time is when the lawn is actively growing, and soil moisture is just below field capacity (all the free water has drained out of it). It is also best to apply the compost after you aerate since you can work it into the holes. Either way, compost (with or without aeration) is your best start.

    You might do the hammer and spike thing, but keep in mind this is only adding to the compaction problem, not relieving it. It will however help to get water and air into the soil, at least temporarily. If you have one of those spike tree feeders you hook up to a hose, you could use that to loosen up the soil.

    To avoid this happening:

    1) Stop using fertilizers and pesticides/herbicides unless absolutely necessary. Your best defense against disease and weeds is a healthy lawn and healthy soil.

    2) If these areas are compacted due to alot of foot traffic, consider putting in a path.

    3) Keep the organic matter in your soils around 5-8%. This along with active biology will alleviate and prevent almost any compaction problem. This can be achieved with compost applications at least once (twice would be better) a year. I usually do mine when I aerate and overseed in the fall, but it can be done in the spring as well.

    4) Mulch your clippings back onto to the lawn, don't bag them.

    4) Don't over water. Allow your soils to dry to about 40-50% soil moisture content before watering. Your 3 day schedule is a good start, but I would seriously consider programming in multiple start times (to allow for infiltration) and perhaps a little less on your total run times. Deep watering is critical, especially when your dealing with trees in turf.

    Keep in mind, this will not happen overnight, but is by far the best long term and sustainable solution for your problem.

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