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Root Rot? Fungis? Both?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by TigerJon73, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. TigerJon73

    TigerJon73 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 57

    I have a few spots in my lawn that even in these drought conditions have a tough time achieving a dry-out period every few days. Subsequently, the areas get diseased every year. I had always thought it was brownpatch, but I'm not so sure. This year I put down Heritage G on May 26, July 7, and July 30. This year the extreme heat and lack of rain has kept the moisture to a minimum until a few weeks ago. Now that the humidity has set in, the crap, whatever it is, is back. Can anyone identify what this is and how I can remedy this problem with out putting in drainage tile? Thanks.

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  2. maynardGkeynes

    maynardGkeynes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 409

    Looks like Brown Patch to me. You want to avoid the fungicides as much as possible, as they are not that effective as curatives, and are expensive. Try creating a healthier environment for fungus free growth. First, cut the lawn no higher than 2 inches, rake aggressively, and core aerate. Get some air into the canopy. Another big problem could be that you appear to have planted tall fescue, which appears to be stressed by the heat. TTTF can be good, but as soon as it gets stressed and patchy, the blades get thicker and lay flat laterally. It's hard to tell from the pictures if you actually have TTTF, but it looks like this is happening on your lawn regardless. The prostrate growth habit creates perfect conditions for fungus of all types. You need get the blades off the ground, which may mean clipping it very, very close after raking it up as vertically as possible. At some point, you should consider pulling it up in that area and planting either KBG or one of the heat tolerant hybrid KBG. Fundicides will not work all by themselves. They are to be used only after you have established good environmental conditions for healthy turf.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012
  3. TigerJon73

    TigerJon73 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 57

    Thank you for the advice. A few questions. You are correct about the grass being TTTF. Will planting KBG in the areas affected make the yard look strange? How much water in the warm months does KBG really need? We own a sprinkler system and water our lawn regularly. I wonder if we should start overseeing the entire lawn each fall with KBG. I am assuming KBG would be a better type for my situation. Also, the raking and cutting to 2" you mention, can that be done now while it's still pretty hot? Thanks again.
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  4. maynardGkeynes

    maynardGkeynes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 409

    Color should be pretty close with KBG, which is often blended with TTTF. I would avoid a pure stand of a midnight type, however.
    KBG is theoretically less drought tolerant then TTTF, but since you are watering regularly anyway, water needs are not an issue in your case. Once a week should be fine if you are properly maintaining the lawn in other respects. I do think KBG will work better for you given the proneness you lawn has to brown patch in the areas pictured. As I mentioned, TTTF responds to stress by growing thicker, more prostrate blades, which starts a non-virtuous cycle of more retained wetness and poor aeration, leading to more fungus. If you could avoid stress on your TTTF lawn in the heat of summer, you would not have a problem. However, in the real world, summer stress is almost inevitable unless you are perfect, which few of us are, myself included. That's why I have moved away from TTTF on my lawns. It responds to stress by making matters worse.

    In a healthy lawn, you would generally not want to cut that short in the heat of summer. However, to address the brown patch, you need to open up the canopy, clean out the infected grass, and try to reseed/patch. Think of it like elective surgery. If you can live with the brown patch another 6 weeks, don't have the surgery now. However, the problem will not heal using fungicides given how deep and diseased the plant tissue is at this point. Hope this is helpful.
     

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