Spring Dead Spot of Bermudagrass

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Catinkansas, Oct 11, 2006.

  1. Catinkansas

    Catinkansas LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I live in South Central Kansas and have a established berumda lawn. Kansas weather has extremes, we had several weeks of 100-110 degree temps summer days to winters of below zero weather. I have a very large rural farm front yard and to have yard of fescue or other cool season grass requires constant watering in the summer....(it would require a underground sprinkler system.)

    Buffalo grass would be a nice alternative, but it seems like we get enough rainfall, that the weed competition is difficult, and in the shade buffalo will not work...

    So Bermuda seems to be the hardist lawn without mega bucks watering. I plugged and sowed some regional bermuda grass that is winter hardy and had a great lawn the first few years....then I made the mistake of applying urea 48-0-0...

    The fast release of N led to Ophiosphaerella herpotricha, a soil borne fungus that colonizes the roots, stolons, and crowns of bermudagrass plants in late summer or fall.

    According to K-State Extension link...
    A person can apply ammonium sulfate, potassium chloride (KCl, or a funcide Rubigan to reduce the severe circles in the Spring according to K-State. Other sites claim just using liquid detergents, and simple household items will help elimate the fungus effect.

    What should a person actually use, without spending lots of money?

    I also use each Spring before the bermuda grass greens up a light spraying of Roundup to control Spring Weeds, and have almost no dadelion problems...It has worked very well, since several types of weeds green up well in advance of Bermuda in early April. Could this also be causing problems though causing fungus problems?

    If anyone has a proven method to control Ophiosphaerella herpotricha I would enjoy hearing about it.

  2. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,376

    Do you believe you got fungus in bermuda.....? Straight nitrogen will simply burn almost any grass including bermuda. Used carefully and in small coverage sulfate can be used on bermuda, but it is not a balanced fertilize. I have NEVER seen any problem with fungus in bermuda in souther states, but I also didn't know it would survive in northern states? Milk is an organic solution for some fungus...
  3. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,009

    a light spraying of Roundup to control Spring Weeds,
    My guess is this is the reason you think you have spring dead spot.Although the bermuda may "appear" dormant,it can be growing.By spraying with RU while it is growing,would cause dead patches.
    I had a bout with dollar spot this past summer on bermuda.Customer was watering late in the evening and their bemuda is very thick.The humidity combined with excessive water,put a hurt on the lawn.Leaves had the textbook "hourglass" lesions and all.After applying liguid fert,aerating, and having them water in the morning only,it's fully recovered,but took over a month to do so.
  4. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,376

    Thanks for info.....
  5. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    Spring dead spot is rampant is this area. Seems like if you actually WANT bermuda you end up with the problem. Just had a class Tuesday and they discussed it. They were from K-State so they said basically what you did about the fungicides, but also stressed aeration in the fall.

    Shooting round-up on it is a NICE plus to bermuda. I'd only be scared of it if it was later than march 1. Local golf course here has bermuda fairways and they spray RU every year in the late winter, even as late as march 15, mixed with their preemergent, and have never had dead spots from it.
  6. Catinkansas

    Catinkansas LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    The reason I made the mistake with the Nitrogen was because I have a field of brome grass that requires urea each Spring. I used the left-over 48-0-0 on the lawn because of the cheaper price, bulk urea is 1/3 the cost of commericial lawn fertilizer. It was a huge mistake and will probably take many years to correct.

    Additional question, I have not been aerating each year. Should I mow my lawn shorter in October before aeration?
    What is the best equipment to rent for aeration?

    Again, it appears I was creating more problems since I would leave my lawn cut extra high in the Fall, thinking it would help protect the crowns from the extreme cold and less winter kill. Hence I was creating a perfect blanket to establish fungus growth.

    I don't think it is the Roundup causing the dead spots since all the circles are perfectly round, a telltale sign of fungus. I have seen another type of fungus in native Rangeland labeled "Fairy Rings" that makes a very large dark green circle as the fungus spreads from a central point.
    I was just curious if any others were using the Roundup method to control early season weeds and what the effects could be over several years.

    Makes you wonder why Monsanto, the orginal Roundup manufactor hasn't developed roundup ready fescue grass like they have with Soybeans, and Corn. There would be bucket load of money made with the suburban consumer.

    Thanks all for input...
    If anyone has suggestions or link to proper aeration I would enjoy reading more.
  7. hmartin

    hmartin LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 590

    What month did you apply the urea? How much? 100 pound of urea per acre in the mid summer would be good for your lawn if that is what you have on hand. Warm season grasses are usually (but not always) areated while they are actively growing. October may be too late for you.
  8. Catinkansas

    Catinkansas LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    The urea was applied in early Spring of 2005, this past Spring I used a lawn fertilizer that was slow release of N...or at least it claim on the package. The spots though have been showing up for the past 3-4 Springs. Should I try and areat in early Spring?

    I have had such a heavy cover of grass in the Spring that I have burned the lawn, similar to what is done with native grass, (blue steam) in my country in early Spring just before green up. But this past year we had a burn ban for our county the entire month of March and April and just mowed it very short. Laugh...not many people do a prescribed burn on their lawns, but it is a very common practice for native grass, used in range management in my neck of the woods.

    If anyone really has a feel for when it is best to areat berumuda in Kansas...Spring vs Fall I would like input.

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