Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Prevent Brown Patch or Pythium Blight with Crabapple LandscapExperts’ Lawn Management Tips

Cool-season grasses like Fescue stay green during the winter. These lawns are stressed by hot metro-Atlanta summers. To that, add in the heavy downpours and wet weather we have been experiencing in this record-breaking year, and some turfgrass can succumb to diseases, such as the  descriptively named Brown Patch (caused by Rhizoctonia solani) and Pythium blight a.k.a. oil spot (caused by Pythium spp.) as the result of hot, wet weather.
Pythium Blight on Fescue
Brown Patch on Fescue

Best practices by Crabapple LandscapExperts help to reduce the incidence of Brown Patch and Pythium Blight on cool-season Fescue lawns.  

  • Avoid nitrogen applications when the disease is active 
  • Increase the height of cut
  • Mow frequently
  • Don't mow when wet <-- a challenge this year! 
  • Use a sharp blade in the lawn mower to avoid raggedy torn edges, an entry point for diseases
  • Increase the air circulation 
  • Minimize the amount of shade by limbing-up shade trees and pruning shrubs to reduce the shade 
  • Irrigate turf early in the day to speed up drying off. Fungus spores can only germinate in standing water 
  • Improve the drainage of the turf, easiest to do during installation, add permatill or coarse sand 
  • Reduce thatch through core aeration 
  • Rake leaves or debris off of the grass 
  • Apply lime if soil pH is less than 6.5 
  • N-P-K fertilizers: use low to moderate amounts of nitrogen, moderate amounts of phosphorous and moderate to high amounts of potash  
  • Fungicides are available to control the disease. Consult the current GeorgiaPest Management Handbook -- commercial or homeowners version 

For additional help with turf diseases and their remedies, phone your Crabapple Rep at 770-740-9739. Our program for commercial properties includes preventative and systemic fungicides. 

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