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Name that Fungus?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by bwclark, Jun 30, 2006.

  1. bwclark

    bwclark LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22


    Last year I posted the above thread about fungus problems in my new dwarf tall fescue sod lawn that had been laid in May here in a N. Calif coastal town.
    Lots of cool (50-70 F) fog bound weather during the months May-Oct.

    I thought that I had diagnoised that problem as a Pythium fungus due to the grease spot look to the grass in Oct and die out, as well as the white, thick clustered spots of fungus on the grass during that time.
    Prior to Oct, I had noticed grass coming out nice and green and then the tips browning/orange and gradually dying off throughout the lawn. The result is a green/orange coloration to the grass throughout the lawn.

    This year, grass started coming back first of April very strong. Nice and green without any problems until early June. Then starting to notice some tips dying back. Just like last year.

    I did add fertilizer on May 23 and then on June 17 to maintain growth and color.

    Attached are photos of the backyard in current condition; a small fungus web on the lawn that I am now seeing at various locations around the lawn; and grass closeup.

    I have used every fungicide available for general fungus control as well as some for Pythium.

    I have noted that others with this same grass have the same issues. Maybe that is the way this grass grows, dies?

    Any ideas?

    Backyard 6.30.06 (600 x 400).jpg

    Backyard 6.30.06 close fungus web (600 x 400).jpg

    Backyard 6.30.06 close grass (600 x 400).jpg
  2. lawnmaniac883

    lawnmaniac883 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,613

    At what times and how long per zone are you watering? If you are watering at night (when dark outside) then you need to adjust so that your sprinklers come on before sun down. Too much water at night is an inventation for fungus. You might try cutting back on the water and only water in the morning on your days to water.
  3. bwclark

    bwclark LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    My sprinklers are set to go at 5AM and 6:30AM two or three times a week for about 10-15 minutes. Last watering was Jun 28th(Wed). None since. Mild temps in the low 60's with clouds/fog. Typical Summer weather here on the coast of N. California.

    Fertilizer applied amounts to about 3/4 lb N/1000 sqft. Lilly's Super Rich

  4. upidstay

    upidstay LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,575

    Not familiar with Lily's fertilizer, but a good shot of quick release Nitrogen can stir up a fungus. This sort of fert promotes quick, lush, growth that diseases love to feed on. Get a soil test done and see what your fertility requirements an pH are, then fertilize/lime as needed. Aerate once or twice a year. Mow at 3" as often as needed with sharp blades. Never cut more than 1/3 of the grass blade off at on mowing. Use a high potassium fertilizer once a year. Kbnow how much you are watering. A typical lawn need about 1" of rainfall a week. Put out empty cat foor or tuna fish cans throughout your lawn and then run the irrigation system normally. Check the cans to see how much water is in them. This will give you a good indication of whether you are watering enough. Shallow watering will make the roots stay close to the surface, where deep irrigatuion makes them go deep. Get it? All of the above will keep your turf healthy, making them less susceptable to diseases.
    The next time you see these disease symptoms you described, dig up a sample of turf and ship it off to you local agricultural extension service. They will tell you for certain what it is. This is the way most golf courses do a final diagnosis.
  5. bwclark

    bwclark LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Thanks! Used some pie pans and getting about 1/2", so twice a week should be about right.

    Have a Honda HRX and I keep the blades sharp....once per month sharpen.

    I do have a pH/moisture meter...pH on the acid side probably due to fert and Vital ( http://www.phoenixenvcare.com/documents/Bulletins/86510_VitalPB.pdf ) that is an acid spray (systemic up/down) for Pythium fungus; I did spray Sat. and did not see any fungus webs the next day or since! Possibly fungus doesn't like the acidic spray.

    Last year took a sample to the local County Ag. people but could only check with a microscope and verified fungus. Don't send in samples of homeowners stuff anymore.

    The last fertilizer is giving me lots of lush green growth. Mowed today one notch higher; hope the cut ends don't start turning orange/brown.

  6. bwclark

    bwclark LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Here are a couple of pics taken of 1) the new growth; 2) new growth with older dead/brown intermixed. Usually the new growth, and this was just cut, will begin turning orange/brown at the tips, and the leaf dies off.


    IMG_0001 (600 x 400).jpg

    IMG_0003 (600 x 400).jpg
  7. upidstay

    upidstay LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,575

    Your ag service won't do that anymore?? Make nice with a golf course superintendant. Those guys are usually first rate at this stuff.

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