Large Patch: The Devastating Fall Patch Disease on Warm Season Turfgrasses

large patch disease on warm season turfgrass

We usually associate diseases with hot and humid weather of the summer, but diseases can occur throughout the year. One disease that is particularly devastating on warm-season grasses is called Large Patch. Brown Patch was the former name of this disease, and it is caused by the same fungi as Brown Patch, but it has been classified as a different lawn disease based on university research. Large Patch disease attacks Centipede, Zoysia and St. Augustine grasses. It can also affect Bermuda grass, but due to its aggressive growth habits, Bermuda often grows out of the disease.

BrownPatch_810x300

What Are the Symptoms of Large Patch Disease?

Symptoms of Large Patch lawn disease may be seen during periods of cool, wet weather in fall and spring. Many times, the symptoms of the disease are not evident until early spring when warm-season grasses begin to green-up in spring. Large Patch symptoms will look different depending on the turfgrass species and soil conditions.
These symptoms may show as thinned patches of light brown grass that are somewhat circular in shape from a few inches to several feet in diameter. Many times as the weather warms up, the center of the circular area will start to recover and leave behind a donut shaped ring.

What Is the Best Treatment for Large Patch Disease?

If your lawn had this disease last spring, treatment starts in the fall. There are several fungicides labelled to control Large Patch disease. Timing of the applications is important. Start the applications when soil temperatures reach about 70 degrees at a two inch depth. Depending on where you live, this could be early October to late November. The simplest way to check soil temperature is with an electronic meat thermometer. It is recommended that two applications are made in the fall about 30 days apart.

If you plan to make the applications yourself, be sure to read and follow all label directions. Spring-Green offices in warm-season areas offer Large Patch control applications. Call your local office to schedule this important preventative disease control treatment.

The #1 Lawn Care Tip for the Best Lawn in the Neighborhood

top lawn tip

I have been asked the same question by customers, friends and relatives: “What is the secret to a nice lawn?” Many people think that it is some special fertilizer formulation or water, or even a particular species of turf grass, but the answer is fairly simple –proper mowing.

How a lawn is mowed has more impact on your lawn than anything else you can do, or all the other lawn care tips you’ll read. Here’s why:

  1. The grass blade is the food producing part of the plant. The shorter you cut it, the less food the plant produces.
  2. The longer grass blade will shade the ground underneath, keeping it cooler, which means it will not dry out as fast. Therefore, you don’t have to water as much.
  3. By shading the soil surface, less sunlight will reach weed seeds that are in every lawn. Mowing high is one of the best ways to control weeds, and that is the reason it’s our #1 lawn care tip.
  4. Mowing height has a direct effect on how deep the plant’s root will grow. The shorter you mow your grass, the shallower the roots will grow, which means the lawn has to be watered more often.

Many people think that if they mow their lawn short, then they don’t have to mow it as often. The thought is correct, but it is not a good idea. Mowing short can severely stress a lawn as it has to use up carbohydrate reserves in the root system to grow a new plant. Mowing a lawn short week after week will leave it in a weakened state, resulting in an increase of weed, disease, and insect pressure.

Here is a list of the best mowing heights for the most popular grasses. Use the higher height during the heat of the summer.

  • Bermuda grass 1.5 to 2”
  • Zoysia grass 1.5 to 2”
  • Centipede grass 1.0 to 1.5”
  • St. Augustine grass 3 to 4”
  • Tall Fescue 3 to 4”
  • Kentucky Blue grass 2.5 to 3”
  • Perennial Rye grass 2.5 to 3”
  • Fine Fescue 2.5 to 3”

So, now you know! The answer to a nice looking lawn is simple – mow high.

Does your yard need a little more help? Get more in-depth lawn care tips on diseases, seasonal topics, and tree and shrub care in the Spring-Green Lawn Care Guide.

How to Get Rid of Monkey Grass

The following question came in to our Ask the Expert blog, where lawn care authority and Spring-Green franchisee trainer Harold Enger fields a variety of questions. This particular individual wanted to know one thing: how to get rid of monkey grass.

“I have a lot of monkey grass in my yard; do you recommend mowing to cut it back or do you recommend a trimmer? Thanks”

“Mr. Morris,
Thank you for submitting your question. I am not sure if you are looking to control and remove your Liriope (monkey grass) or just want to keep it in check. There are two varieties of Liriope that look very similar. One variety usually stays in small clumps, but the other variety spreads by underground roots called rhizomes. This is the type that will spread out and often invades lawns.

If you want to get rid of monkey grass, the only way to control it is to use a product that contains glyphosate, the active ingredient in Round-Up. Be careful spraying Round-Up in your lawn as it is a non-selective herbicide and will kill both the Liriope and your desired grass. The Liriope has to be actively growing in order to control it and it may require two to three applications before you are able to get rid of your monkey grass. If you have a Bermuda grass lawn, you may be able to spray Round-Up to control the Liriope before the Bermuda breaks dormancy without damaging it. Mowing it does not usually affect the growth of the plant, and it will come back.”

 

Do you have a lawn care question you’ve been dying to get answered? Ask our Lawn Care Expert, Harold! 

Starting Over with Your Lawn: Reseeding and Resodding Tips

grass landscape

One of our readers was wondering how to start fresh with his lawn and landscape, so he turned to Harold Enger, our in-house expert. Read the question and answer below to get tips on reseeding or resodding for your new lawn.

“Hello Harold! I saw your video on YouTube! I bought a home recently and the lawn has Bermuda grass in patches and weeds everywhere else. I liked your idea on starting over, and I was wondering what the best process is to do so? What kind of Roundup should I use? What process is best to kill everything off and how long until I can start the reseeding process? Thank you for your help!”

Mr. Eggiman,
Thank you for sending in your question. Renovating a lawn can be a daunting task for the average homeowner, but I can provide you with the process to follow if you wish to attempt to do so on your own. First of all, you should wait until next year before starting the reseeding or resodding process. Even though you live in Nevada, your turfgrasses are moving into a dormant state. They may remain somewhat green, but they are not effectively transpiring. Trying to use a product like Roundup will not produce the best results. You should wait until the grass begins to grow next March or April. At that time, apply Roundup to the area where you wish to renovate. I suggest at least two applications of Roundup, spaced two weeks apart. Be sure to read and follow all label directions.

One of my concerns would be your ability to water the area that you will seed, sod or sprig. Keep in mind any watering restrictions you may have and limit the area to one that can easily be maintained. I have seen people that have killed off their entire lawn, but did not have the ability to consistently water and the results were miserable.

Once the undesired grasses have died, you need to make the decision on how to replace the turf. Bermuda seed is difficult to germinate and it can take two or more years to get a good stand established. Bermuda is an aggressive grass and will fill in areas quickly, but it still can take time. Once the grass has died, you should scalp the lawn to cut back as much of the top growth as possible. If you plan to seed, the best way to get the seed into the soil is to use a slit seeder. This machine will cut a thin trench into the lawn, and then the seed is deposited into the slits. You should seed in perpendicular directions for good coverage. You could use a power rake and then broadcast the seed across the lawn, but that reseeding method will not ensure the best seed to soil contact.

The fastest way to get a new lawn is to use sod. Once the grass has died off, rent a sod cutter to remove the old top growth. The difficulty with resodding is that you need some place to put the dead sod. You can rototill the area and rake out the dead grass that remains on the top, but you will still have the same clean up concern. Once the soil is prepared, you can lay out the sod. Most sod comes in 1-square-yard pieces. So, measure the area and convert the square feet into square yards by dividing it by 9 to determine the amount of sod you will need.

The one great thing about today’s world is that most of these tasks are available as YouTube videos, so I recommend you search for them. You can also click here for a more comprehensive discussion of reseeding. It may be more expensive, but hiring a qualified landscaper to do the work for you will eliminate the hard work it takes to renovate a lawn. Best of luck and feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.

If your yard needs help, get in touch with your local Spring-Green—find out more about our tree services, fertilization, and other lawn care options.