Sunday, May 4, 2014
The series continues... Cocktails for better results: Part 5. If you missed part 1, 2, 3 and 4 and would like to see them, go to www.possumsupply.com and look under the Horticulture Hotline tab.
Large Patch or Brown Patch fungus loves these weather conditions. Temperatures at night in the high 50s to high 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 micro-organisms 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 that use them report back to us that they notice less fungus in the yards that they apply these products.
I have heard way too many success stories from the use of the above products to mention in this article; however, I have to mention three. A landscaper that mainly works in the Summerville area near the Ashley River told me that since he has been using SeaHume, his use of fungicides has almost gone to zero. I can look at his sales history with Possum’s and his fungicide use has definitely plummeted. Another landscaper had fought fungus continually in one yard in Stono Ferry. He started using Nature’s Blend and the fungus is gone. A homeowner that lives up Highway 41 told me about their success with Neptune Harvest’s Crab Shell product. This person had fungus in the same area for more than 10 years and applied Crab Shell lightly a few times and hasn’t had the fungus for three years.
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 (this could be caused by a 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 airborne fungus with spores, you would have had to treat the entire yard because airborne 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 481 Long Point Road in Mount Pleasant (843-971-9601), 3325 Business Circle in North Charleston (843-760-2600), or 606 Dupont Road in Charleston (843-766-1511). Bring your questions to a Possum’s location, or visit us at 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 Big Talker). The Horticulture Hotline is available 24/7 at www.possumsupply.com.