The weather is starting to change in October—from summertime highs to fall lows. The cooler air along with wet weather provides the perfect conditions for brown patch disease.
It’s also time to start thinking about cool season grassy weeds, like poa annua and henbit. Your lawn care professional sprays pre-emergent weed control to stop these infamous weeds from invading your yard this winter.
This past summer’s rainy weather and then Hurricane Gordon brought plenty of rain and humidity to Baldwin and Mobile Counties. Plus, the typical AL summer and fall’s warm weather encourages the spread of brown patch.
As you know, brown patch is a fungal disease that affects warm season grasses including Bermuda, centipede, St. Augustine and zoysia varieties. The disease starts with brown, yellow or tan circular patches that get larger as the disease spreads.
Sometimes, mycelium, the heart of the fungus, forms on the patches. It’ll look like a cobweb covering a patch of grass.
You can prevent brown patch from developing with preventative fungicides before approaching cold fronts. Also with eliminating any collection areas that hold water for too long. Wet areas in lawns seem to be prime locations for the disease to be located.
However, if you missed the time for the preventative application, you don’t have to let brown patch spread on your lawn, thinning your turfgrass. Instead, a regularly applied curative fungicide stops brown patch in its tracks.
You Can Prevent Brown Patch & Other Fungal Lawn Diseases
How you treat your lawn directly affects the chances of fungal lawn diseases developing on it. Here are six ways to prevent lawn diseases:
- Only water your lawn when it needs it: Your south Alabama lawn just needs about a ½” of water in the fall. In the summertime, you’ll need to water your lawn around 1” per week. You can let your turfgrass get a little dry—meaning when you walk on it, your footprints don’t fade away. Too much water can lead to disease.
- Cut back on your fertilizer use: There are three numbers on your turfgrass fertilizer bag. The first one stands for nitrogen. When you use too much nitrogen on your lawn, any fungal pathogens already in your turfgrass will use that nitrogen to spread throughout your yard.
- If you already have brown patch or another lawn disease, remove your infected grass clippings every time you mow: If you know that your lawn has brown patch or another lawn disease, don’t let grass clippings dissolve back into the ground. Instead, bag your clippings, so you don’t spread the disease throughout your entire property.
- Only take off the top third of your turfgrass when you mow: When you let your lawn grass grow longer, it prevents disease as well as helps your lawn recover faster.
- You should correct areas with poor yard drainage: Anything having to do with keeping your turfgrass wet in humid conditions will lead to fungal lawn diseases. So, if you have ponding on your yard, you’re raising the risk of your turfgrass getting sick. Improve your yard drainage, so the water percolates through the soil whenever it rains. And you’ll notice that you have a healthier lawn too.
- Test your soil: Lawn diseases seem to prevail in soils with a pH of 6.0 or less. The only way you’ll know if your soil is acidic is through a soil test. If your soil test results in an acidic pH, you can add lime to make the soil more basic or “sweeter.”
Don’t Forget: Your South Alabama Yard Needs Pre-Emergent Weed Control
October is the time when your lawn needs pre-emergent weed control for cool season weeds including poa annua and henbit. Pre-emergent weed control creates a barrier in the soil where weed seeds can’t germinate and sprout.
Timing is everything. You need to call your local lawn care company to use professional grade pre-emergent, so your lawn stays clear of weeds throughout the winter.
Let Xtreme Turf Lawn Care Resuscitate Your Lawn
If you think your lawn has brown patch or any other fungal disease, you need a professional lawn service to bring it back to health.
Sure, you can buy fungicides at your local retailer or garden center. However, you’ll need to read and follow the directions. Then you need to spend time applying it to your yard.
Plus, store-bought fungicides don’t have the same potency as professional grade fungicides. So you may not get the results you’re looking for when you do it yourself.
At Xtreme Turf Lawn Care, our technicians use a professional grade fungicide, so you see results right away. Plus, you save time to enjoy your weekends rather than working on healing your yard.
If your Baldwin or Mobile County lawn has brown patch or you want to avoid getting winter weeds in your yard, call us today at 251-648-9947 or fill out our contact form.
Blake, James et al., “Brown Patch and Large Patch Diseases of Lawns.”
NC State Extension, “Brown Patch in Turf.”