Thursday, May 2, 2013
The cool, moist spring has been great for extending the bloom period on azaleas and dogwoods; however, turf fungus seems to be thriving in these conditions.
Large Patch or Brown Patch fungus loves these weather conditions. Temperatures in the high 50s to low 60s and moisture make conditions real favorable for Large Patch or Brown Patch fungus. We have had plenty of these conditions making the fungus environment perfect for the spread of this disease.
Since it is very difficult to control night time temperatures, you can put your efforts into doing other cultural things to help minimize the disease. Large Patch or Brown Patch fungus likes wet, heavy thatch, improper nutrition, and/or compacted soils. Culturally you need to manage your irrigation system, raise any low areas and correct drainage problems.
Reducing thatch, maintaining proper fertility levels and aerating to alleviate compaction, will also help control Large Patch or Brown Patch fungus.
Certain organic products have shown to increase microorganisms in the soil that compete with plant pathogenic fungus in the soil. At Possum’s we get good feedback from Nature’s Blend, SeaHume, Crab Shell, Corn Gluten, Cotton Burr Compost and some of the Roots products. These products are not fungicides; however, people who use them report back to us that they notice less fungus in the yards that they apply these products.
Since the grass is coming out of dormancy so slowly, a systemic control product like Cleary’s 3336 and Disarm might be a good idea to get you through the next month or so as long as conditions are favorable for the disease.
Being a soil-borne disease, you know that it will reoccur in the same areas year after year. If the base of a leaf blade with Large Patch is moved from one part of the yard to another (lawn mower), this can begin a new infection area; however, these are not spores flying through the air.
As a soil-borne fungus, if you map the areas where you have the disease, you can concentrate your control efforts (dollars) into a smaller area, putting less control products into the environment. If your yard is 5,000 square feet usually you might have a few infected areas which might total approximately 500 feet. Instead of buying control products to treat 5,000 square feet, you can concentrate your efforts into the 500 feet (i.e. 10 percent of your total yard). If Large Patch was an air borne fungus with spores, you would have had to treat the entire yard because air borne fungus spreads a lot quicker than soil borne fungus.
Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a federal law.
Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply. Possum’s has three locations including one at 481 Long Point Rd. in Mount Pleasant (971-9601). Bring your questions to a Possum’s location, or visit us at http://www.possumsupply.com. You can also call in your questions to “The Garden Clinic”, Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m. on 1250 WTMA. The Horticulture Hotline is available 24 / 7 at possumsupply.com.