Common Lawn Problems and Their Fixes
You wake up one day and find your St. Augustine grass lawn having yellow and brown patches. You have put all your efforts into fertilizing the lawn and watering the grass. Yet, you see your lush green lawn is no longer healthy but found with severe; issues. Although we know the grass is disease-free to some extent, it remains vulnerable to several fungal diseases.
These remain vulnerable to many fungal diseases, including infestations and weeds. These issues can negatively impact your grass, leading to bad color patches in your lawn and thus making it ugly. However, the good news is that you can quickly fix these issues with practical solutions. We will check the causes behind these issues and the answer in the form of various treatments.
St. Augustine grass is defined as a spreading and warm-season grass, which prospers very fast in the lawns or yards during the warm weather. People call it a true grass, which falls under the Poaceae family. It is known for its bluish-green color leaves and tends to form dense mats with its low creeping feature.
It grows and moves around with the help of stolons. The blades of the grass are flat and wide. Besides, it is also known for being salt-tolerant, which further markets it as the right choice for people living near coastal areas. The grass is too simple to maintain and is also known for its rich beauty. Several benefits make this grass a popular choice for yards and lawns.
However, the grass is also reported with several downsides and some of these include the following:
- Irregular brown spots
- Stolons turning brown
- Random yellowing of the grass blades
- Browning at the base of the leaf blades
- Roots pulling out easily
Here we will be discussing the different diseases and problems linked with this grass. Knowing these problems can help you take the right course of action to secure your grass and thus retain its beauty.
1. Nigrospora Stolon Rot
It is relatively a new disease for the grass, which causes severe deterioration. It appears mainly on the runner or stem of the grass and keeps the stolon suffering by keeping the nutrients and water away. This adds extreme moisture stress, thus making it completely desiccated. The issue remains at its peak during the dry season of springs and summers. The rise of temperature brings in stolon rot in the grass.
It also brings in issues including fungus, thus enlarging the stolon and griddle. This issue further reduces the water movement and nutrients value reaching the leaves. Eventually, the leaves of the grass will die down, making it yellow. Adding the new growth to the grass will only make it yellow and thin.
This disease’s symptoms help us know about this disease in your yard grass. As we see the conditions favoring the fungus, the lesions’ size increases, making the stolon girdle. These symptoms emerge as the vital diagnosis of this ailment. The best way to prevent this disease is to water the grass adequately, especially during summer. The treatment is to apply a quality commercial fungicide.
Allowing this problem can make the leaves wilt and become yellow, causing the death of the infected leaves. The only preventive measure against this ailment is to keep the grass watered with adequate quantity and use certain Nigrospora Stolon Rot tools for the same.
2. Gray Leaf Spot Disease
Gray leaf spot is categorized under fungal disease, which hampers the grass. The root cause of this disease is Pyricularia grisea which causes perennial ryegrass and tall fescue that moves smoothly in rainy and warm climates. The spot on the grass leaves comes in the form of an oval and round in color, having dark brown borders.
High humidity or when the leaves are completely wet, the leaf spots make them fuzzy and gray, perfusing spore production. The leaf spots extend with time, allowing the leaf to wrap. These issues cause the death of the leaf coming from the tip. The harm to your lawn starts when this disease progresses faster.
The disease has some early symptoms, and these include having gray spots on the leaves in small spherical size having a yellow mark around them. The disease is difficult to find out as the gray leaf appears like rust. However, with time they grow the size becoming gray spots.
The treatment of this disease comes under chemical and biological control. If you notice a high pressure of this disease, frequent fungicide application can help in reducing the impact on yield. However, these applications remain expensive and prove effective only when you find the disease pressure to be high. Relying on Gray Leaf Spot Disease tools can address this problem.
One of the critical reasons for the disease spread is the high temperature and presence of water. If the leaves are wet for around 14 hours, the infection starts. Also, the high temperature (between 70 to 95 degrees F) can lead to this problem, and lastly, the inadequate nitrogen supply also increases the risk of bringing this issue.
3. Brown Patch Disease
Brown patch is a disease or fungus that hampers lawn conditions with one species of fungus known as Rhizoctonia. These often occur during the mid or late summer season during the humid and hot weather. These allow the conditions the best for fungus to thrive. These are also known as a patch or foliar disease, and it has no impact on the roots or crown of your turf plant.
The brown patch disease hampers your lawn as the St. Augustine grass remains too susceptible. The diagnosis of this disease helps pull away from the affected blades, as seen on the attached runners. If you notice the pull quickly, it confirms the advent of this disease. The other symptoms include wet grass for an extended duration after being closely mowed.
If you want to treat this disease in the grass effectively, you can rely on commercial fungicide use with the help of several active ingredients. These include myclobutanil, thiophanate methyl and azoxystrobin. However, you can plan for some preventative measures to avoid the disease. You can address this with the help of solutions like good drainage, soil aeration, dethatching and watering regularly. Lastly, it would help to avoid fertilization when the weather is cool.
This disease is often rampant when the night temperature goes down to 68 degrees F, and we have prolonged wetness in the leaves. However, this disease remains dormant during the winter season and is known as a resting body known as sclerotia.
So you can make out that the whole idea of preventing this disease is to avoid the excess amount of moisture in the yard or lawn. Using Brown Patch Disease tools can have a healthy lawn. Thus, proper periodic maintenance and care can help you retain your lawn’s ultimate glory and beauty in the long run.
4. Fairy Ring Disease
Fairy ring disease is among the chronic and common issues of turfgrass found in several places like home lawns, sports fields and golf courses. These are mostly seen during the spring, summer and fall seasons. The presence of disease is often confirmed by three symptoms: stimulated growth, mushrooms, and necrotic rigs/arcs. The fundamental cause behind the grass is a specific soil fungus known as basidiomycetes.
These fungi sustain in sandy soils, which carry less soil nitrogen and minimal moisture. Also, the addition of thatching can offer some favorable conditions for the fungi. These are often the result of forming a fungal mat, which further avoids water absorption into the surface. As per the North Carolina State University studies, there are around 60 different species of this disease.
However, out of these, only three are shared among the grasses. These include the family of Arachnion album, Vascellum curtisii and Bovista dermoxantha. The good news is that you can quickly treat this disease whenever you find St. Augustine grass on your lawn or yard. The best treatment option for this disease is to apply a fungicide. You can also check other Fairy Ring Disease tools.
However, people use this approach as it carries lethal chemicals that can further hamper the environment. The best option is to eliminate the turfgrass found in the areas and then lay the sod depending upon the required quantity. To carry out this task effectively, you can easily dig the affected soil area around 12 inches deep. You then have to refill the holes using fresh soil and add the re-sod as much as you need.
Regardless of the option, you choose to treat this disease, controlling the rings is always a daunting experience. Hence the only way to secure your lawn is to prevent this disease from affecting it. Keep the lawn or yard well-maintained and healthy. The best defense is to go with all the preventive measurements as they say, “ prevention is better than cure.”
5. Chinch Bugs
These are small and hard-to-find insects with your eyes. You can find them using a magnifying glass on your lawn only when they are damaging the grasses. These remain active in high-temperature conditions; hence you can find them during the summer season. When they are young, they are found in red; however, as the insects mature, they transform their color to black with a white spot on their back having the X shape.
They only move in groups from an infected area to a fresh lawn at an average speed of 40 feet per hour. These are mostly found inside the thatch layer of your yard. However, when they are in large numbers, they are seen everywhere, crawling over the grass. These trivial appearing insects can cause million-dollar damages per year. They damage the grass by sucking all the juice from the grass blades and injecting the leaf blade, which further can cause the grass to die.
You can notice their presence on your lawn once you find irregular patches. These resemble drought stress. You can find them becoming yellow followed by becoming brown, and at the end, the grass dies. Soon you will find weeds overtaking the yellow dead grass on the lawn. Once you see this problem in your property, it becomes a challenging task for the homeowners to get rid of these insects. Also, these insects become resistant to certain insecticides. Even though the insects die down, their eggs remain untouched, bringing their next generation.
The only way to prevent these insects is to maintain your lawn regularly. A healthy and properly maintained lawn will always keep the chinch bugs away from your lawn grass. Proper maintenance includes watering adequate quantities of the grass and applying nutrition. The actively growing lawns can easily take care of the insects and weeds compared to the slow-growing lawns.
You can get away with these insects by using a suitable pesticide or insecticide on the affected grass in your lawns. However, While applying pesticides to maintain the lawn, you should wear proper clothes. Make sure you only use pesticides from reputed companies known for effective results. These prove an excellent Chinch Bugs tool.
6. Cold Damage
During the winters, the winter months, the lawns with St. Augustine grass can become brown. However, this remains a usual story during the winter days, and as spring arrives, the lawn gets rebound and adds new green growth. However, if the winters hit hard, you notice the grass getting injured.
Your lawn will face permanent damage once the temperature drops below 20 degrees F. Initially, the grass may appear witted and become brown or whitish. The higher vehicle and foot traffic will only worsen the grass on your lawn. If you find the lawn in bad shape, you need the patience to see the winter months pass away.
This will give your lawn the time to recover before starting the mowing process. Once you begin to mow, make sure you cut the lawn grass at the highest height of your certain kind. Cutting the grass to a small height will prevent it from recovering from the cold damage. Explore more cold damage tools to address this problem.
All the homeowners keen to know about their grass health can plant small plugs of grass over their lawn using a pot. It will help you find out if the grass is damaged or dormant. To do this, you can cut small plugs of the grass using the roots attached to the lawn and then plant them over a pot. Also, place the pot in any warm spot, and it will help get the sunlight and check to see if the grass starts to grow again.
If you see your lawn unable to recover during the spring season, you can choose to replace the grass with the plugs of sod pieces. Remember that having brown grass is not often about dead grass. After the winters, you can reestablish the irrigation system and carry out the usual height cut to stimulate grass growth. You can fertilize it using anti-fungal products. It will help in making your lawn beautiful during the springs.
7. Take-all Root Rot (TARR)
The take-all root rot is classified as a fungal disease. It brings in dead, brown and weak patches on lawn grass. The disease in regions like Florida is also called bermudagrass decline. It is caused by St. Augustine grass, mainly in the coastal areas of the United States, which receives high rainfall and has sandy soils.
Also, it is found in many of the web and low areas found in compacted regions coming up with saturated root zones. The cause behind this disease is a fungus known as Gaeumannomyces graminis var. Graminis, which are mostly found in the soil. You can find this fungus in different parts of Texas. These are found in thatch (the layer of a plant root) and in the decaying plant matter.
The fungus produces spores, but at the same time, it spreads over the stolons and roots. You may not find the disease transported with mowers or via foot traffic, which is more likely to spread over the infected grass, soil or thatch. The symptoms of this fungus are evident during the spring season or the early summer when you can find the grass coming out from the winter dormancy.
Soon you will find the grass is stressed by drought, heat, high sodium water or alkaline soil. Some of the initial symptoms are seen in the form of yellowish foliage, which makes it wiits and brown. As the grass becomes thin, you can see the brown patches on your lawn in irregular patterns. Looking at the roots can help you know about it as it becomes too short and token, allowing it to lift the stolons.
Preventing this fungus is the only best approach to this problem. You need healthy root development, allow the drain to work well below the soil surface and avoid overwatering. You can be irregular in watering rather than giving the grass frequent water. Lastly, test the soil and then fertilize regularly as per the test outcome. Relying on Take-all Root Rot (TARR) tools can help you a lot.
8. White Grub Worms
The white grub worms are primarily found in humid temperate locations like Florida. These are six-legged insects mostly found close to their heads. They have a C-shaped body appearing shiny and slick. They follow a similar life cycle and give similar sorts of damage while they eat the grassroots.
They prevent the grass-root from extracting nutrients and water, which eventually allow the death of the grass. They often damage the grass but only in severe cases do we see them killing the entire lawn. It is not easy to diagnose the grub issues as they dwell underground. However, as you check the yard becoming thin and yellow, you can make out their presence.
One of the best ways to find out the infestation of this worm is to step over the lawn and check if you are feeling bouncy. Also, you can lift the sod to check if the roots are destroyed. Lastly, the best way to find out the presence of white grub worms is to use a shovel to dig the soil and find out the worm underneath. Check several White Grub Worms tools to catch the same.
The best way to avoid these worms is to adopt the cultural practices for keeping a well-maintained and healthy lawn. You should stick to the seasonal maintenance schedule and see if the soil is healthy. You need to install the new grass properly and choose the best grass in your area. Having a healthy and thick lawn can bear all the external pressure, including the ones from pests and insects.
However, if you find severe damage, employing cultural prevention will not satisfy the requirements. Instead, you can think of relying on chemical treatment. Seek the help of experts to recommend some good products to you. These can quickly kill worms and make your lawn healthy.
How to Identify St. Augustine Grass Diseases and Problems
If you notice any visible stress mark on your lawn, you can assume that the grass has become the victim of fungal, pest or weed infestation. You can easily find these problems and diseases in your grass with the following signs and symptoms. Have a look:
- Irregular brown patches– if you find random brown grass spots on your lawn, you can assume that your lawn is getting a fungal infestation.
- Stolons becoming brown – Another sign pointing towards fungal infestation in your grass is the brown stolons or runners.
- Grass blades becoming yellow – If you see the grass leaves becoming yellow, it only indicates the presence of weeds, fungi or pests.
- Leaf-blades base becoming brown – There are different kinds of fungi, and some of these also make the base of the grass blade brown.
- Roots are getting out quickly from the ground – If you can pull the roots without any difficulty and notice the grass blades as yellow or brown with roots soft with a similar shade, you can make out that a fungal infestation has hit it.
If you find any such issues, you should consult an expert and seek guidance. Sensing the problem right on time can avert the more significant damage at a later stage.
How to Treat St. Augustine Grass Diseases and Problems?
Sticking to the adage – “prevention is better than cure” can address more of the problems related to the grass treatment. Some of the best ways of treating the grass are listed below:
- You should take care of the grass right from its growing season. Water the lawn to an adequate level in the early morning when you find the soil 2 inches down.
- During the summers, you can find the St. Augustine grass is becoming brown, which means you should not water too often.
- Check the grass height and restrict it to 1 to 2 inches if you intend to mow the grass too low. The grass can become weedy; hence you should allow the grass clippings to remain on the lawn, adding an extra amount of nitrogen to the soil.
- In the growing season, don’t forget to fertilize using high nitrogen. Using four pounds of gas for every thousand square feet of your lawn can work well. You should repeat four times a year, particularly during spring and summer. Drying the lawn with the help of fertilizer with sufficient water can give you the best results.
- A plug aerator can be a savior for treating high traffic zones on your lawn during the springs. However, you should avoid the aeration process when the temperature shoots up.
- If you find the lawn too springy, you should dethatch your lawn. Schedule the detachment process during the midst of springs or the early fall. It will help in growing your grass actively.
Lawn care is all in the details, and we take care of every single one to give you the lawn of your dreams. Contact us today!