Revised yearly maintenance schedule for St. Augustine in Texas

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by lep, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. lep

    lep LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 52

    Well, I just about had everything figured out year round so that right now in January, the majority of our lawn is a lush dark green and is a thick turf. Most of the neighbors' lawns are totally light beige-colored having the typical thatch appearance, and were probably hit with rust and brown patch throughout.

    There are sections in our lawn, however, that seemed to have been attacked by brown patch, and this is likely due to too much water when the temperature started dropping in October. I looked at the annual temperature charts for lower Texas, and it appears that near the end of September is when the lower bound of temperature starts decreasing. Therefore, by the end of September, you should apply a fungicide to prevent brown patch and rust.

    By default there are 3 main factors that can result in a devastating attack of brown patch and/or rust in the late fall. First, the amount of sunlight starts to drop in October. The decreased sunlight (less drying capability) combined with cooler temperatures, requires the amount off irrigation water used to be cut dramatically. The main problem is that if the amount of water used for irrigation is not decreased as soon as the evening temperature starts dropping, say, in October, then a "perfect storm" sets up and the brown patch attack can be very fast.

    Once this occurs, the lawn is wiped out in the attacked sections, and with the lawn going dormant, you have to wait until spring before these sections grow back.

    Overall, if I could revise my earlier post on St. Augustine care in the South, I would say:

    1. At the end of September, make sure you have a systemic (not topical) insecticide applied to prevent sod web-worms from eating your entire lawn in a few days. Systemic insecticides are taken up by the plant, so when an insect eats a blade or part of the root, they will succumb. We didn't get attacked this year, but last year in October our total front lawn was devastated by sod web-worms to the extent that only thatch was left.

    2. Also at the end of September, apply a fungicide to prevent brown thatch and possibly rust from occurring when the temp and sunlight goes down.

    3. VERY Important: As soon as the evening temperature drops in the 50-60's, cut the watering to only once per week. Too much water combined with no drying due to less sunlight and cooler temperatures provides a perfect opportunity to fungal attack.

    4. Apply Milorganite maybe every 3-4 months, and stay on top of insecticides and fungicide use.

    5. Apply a 1/4" layer of compost over the lawn maybe in November so that the lawn gets a boost of micronutrients for the long haul over the winter.

    6. Aerate in the late fall and early spring to oxygenate roots and help with drainage.

    7. During summer, water flowers/shrubs maybe daily, and only water the lawn twice per week (1/2")

    8. During winter, water flowers maybe twice per week, and water the lawn once per week.
  2. quiet

    quiet LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 720

    Let's see . . . you're aerating in fall - opening up the lawn to winter weeds that love to infest when the turf is not in an active growing stage - advocating the liberal use of fungicides, and insecticides, and a fertilizing program that doesn't address when the turf needs and uses fertilizers. And you recommend using a fertilizer with no K.

    What works for you, doesn't neceesarily work for others. These blanket statements are of little value to a professional.

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