Intro to Turf Diseases

Control of Landscape Pests and Turf Diseases

As the weather turns warmer and more humid, the activity of and damage from landscape pests and turf diseases become an issue. Of most concern to most homeowners is damage to lawns from fungus activity. The most common turf diseases that affect our 3 most common types of turf grass are:

Brown patch fungus

Brown Patch Fungus

  • Fescue Turf – Brown Patch Fungus: This fungus creates brown patches in the lawn, eventually causing grass to die, leaving bare spots.
  • Zoysia Turf – Large Patch and Dollar Spot Fungi: Large Patch is the most damaging. As its common name implies, this fungus creates large dead patches in the lawn. Dollar spot gets its name from appearing as large Silver Dollar size spots throughout the lawn. This fungus weakens the thickness of the grass in these spots and looks unsightly.
  • Bermuda Turf – Bermuda is fairly tolerant to most fungus damage but can have an issue with Dollar Spot.

Fungus is a microbe that already exists in our soils.  Whether it becomes an issue in a lawn depends on several variables which include: 1) ability of the turf type to “fight” the fungus or as stated by growers “tolerate” the fungus, 2) the soil temperature that “wakes up” the fungus, 3) the moisture level of the soil surface and grass blades that are sufficient enough to support fungal growth.

 

DollarSpot

Dollar Spot Fungus

Since fungus microbes are present in our soils, fungus can at best be only “controlled” but not “eradicated.”  This means that lawns which exhibit fungus activity will usually have an issue with fungus every year. The best control is avoid over-watering from irrigation systems, and to apply an appropriate preventative or suppressing fungicide product just before and during the season of fungus activity.

 

 

 

Large Patch Fungus

Large Patch Fungus

Solterra Maintenance Clients have the option to be placed on a program that will include their property in the schedule for fungicide applications as the timing is appropriate. This program is outside of the standard lawn treatment programs which are setup to control weeds and fertilize lawns.  Therefore, there is an additional charge for the fungicide program and is normally invoiced after each treatment has been applied. The number of treatments needed each year will depend upon the fungus type being treated and the weather conditions for that year. For Large Patch Fungus and Dollar Spot, the number of treatments needed is typically three (3). For Fescue brown patch, the number is typically five (5).

 

Call 770-236-7557 to have your property added for fungicide treatment. You can also email Dixie at dixie@solterralandscape.com.

The photos shown are from the UGA’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Read an article about about turf disease here.

Transitioning to Spring Lawn Care

Transitioning from the cold winter months to the spring warmth can be a welcome reprieve for us, but for our lawns it’s one of the most difficult yet most important times. If we want a healthy, green lawn all summer long, what we do from February to April is vital. Here’s a helpful run down of the steps you need to take to ensure your yard is looking great all summer long!

 

Warm Season Turf    (Bermuda and Zoysia)                                              

What to do?                                                                                                                     When?

Apply PRE-EMERGENT Weed Control.––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––→Mid-February (optimum) to Mid-March

2nd Pre-emergent application with Fertilizer–––––––––––––––––––––––––––→April

Apply Post-emergent Weed Control for Broadleaf Weeds–––––––––––––––––→Anytime when visible

Service lawn EQUIPMENT (mowers, edgers, trimmers)––––––––––––––––––→Early March

SOIL TEST (if desired)––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––→Early March

DETHATCH small areas with a rake

OR

SCALP large areas with a Mower––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––→Late March-Early April

AERATE compacted soil areas––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––→April

FERTILIZE with high nitrogen turf fertilizer when grass starts to “green up”––→April

 TOP DRESS with river sand if needed when grass begins to “green up”–––––→April

 Turn on IRRIGATION (when day temperatures in upper 60’s)–––––––––––––→Mid-April

 

 Cool Season Turf  (Fescue)

What to do?                                                                                                                       When?

Apply PRE-EMERGENT Weed Control–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––→ Mid-February (optimum) to Mid-March

Apply HIGH NITROGEN Fertilizer––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––→Mid-February to Mid-March

Apply Post-emergent Weed Control for Broadleaf Weeds–––––––––––––––––––––→Anytime when visible

Service lawn EQUIPMENT (mowers, edgers, trimmers)––––––––––––––––––––––––––→Early March

SOIL TEST (if desired)––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––→Early March

Turn on IRRIGATION (when day temperatures in upper 60’s)–––––––––––––––––→Mid-April

SEED thin spots (regular seeding normally in Fall)––––––––––––––––––––––––––→Feb. to Mid-March

  

EXAMPLE WEEKLY TIME LINE – BERMUDA

WEEK OF :

FEB. 14           Apply PRE-EMERGENT Weed Control

FEB. 21           Apply Post-emergent Weed Control for Broadleaf Weeds

FEB. 28           Service EQUIPMENT (mowers, edgers, trimmers)

MAR. 7           SOIL TEST (if desired)

APR.  4           DETHATCH small areas with a rake or SCALP large areas with a Mower

                        Scalp over 3 mowings.  This week set mowing height at 2 inches.

 

APR. 11          SCALP large areas with a Mower

                        Scalp over 3 mowings.  This week set mowing height at 1 ½  inches.

APR. 18          SCALP large areas with a Mower.  This week set mowing height at 1 inch.

                        FERTILIZE with high nitrogen turf fertilizer when grass begins to “green up”

                        TOP DRESS with river sand if needed when grass begins to “green up”

                        Turn on IRRIGATION (when day temperatures in upper 60’s)

APR. 25          Begin MOWING when grass is fully green and grass height reaches 2 ½ inches.

 

EXAMPLE WEEKLY TIME LINE – ZOYSIA

WEEK OF :

FEB. 14           Apply PRE-EMERGENT Weed Control

FEB. 21           Apply Post-emergent Weed Control for Broadleaf Weeds

FEB. 28           Service EQUIPMENT (mowers, edgers, trimmers)

MAR. 7           SOIL TEST (if desired)

MAR. 14         DETHATCH small areas with a rake or SCALP large areas with a Mower

                        Scalp over 3 mowings.  This week set mowing height at 2 inches.

MAR. 21         SCALP large areas with a Mower

                        Scalp over 3 mowings.  This week set mowing height at 1 ½  inches.

MAR. 28         SCALP large areas with a Mower.  This week set mowing height at 1 inch.

                        FERTILIZE with high nitrogen turf fertilizer when grass begins to “green up”

                        TOP DRESS with river sand if needed when grass begins to “green up”

                       

APR. 11          Turn on IRRIGATION (when day temperatures in upper 60’s)

                        Begin MOWING when grass is fully green and grass height reaches 2 ½ inches.

 

EXAMPLE WEEKLY TIME LINE – FESCUE

WEEK OF :

FEB. 14          Apply PRE-EMERGENT Weed Control with high nitrogen Fertilizer

                        Avoid pre-emergent where new Fescue seed is applied.

FEB. 21           Apply Post-emergent Weed Control for Broadleaf Weeds

FEB. 28           Service lawn EQUIPMENT (mowers, edgers, trimmers)

MAR. 14         Begin weekly MOWING at 3” height as grass begins to grow more rapidly

APR. 11          Turn on IRRIGATION (when day temperatures in upper 60’s)