Let’s take a look at the common fungal turf diseases that are possible in San Antonio.
- Take-All Root Rot, or Take-All Patch, is a very common fungal disease in St. Augustine characterized by yellowing of the grass and tiny puzzle piece-shaped fungal structures called hyphopodia on the stolons. Reducing water application where possible and applying sphagnum peat moss or ammonium sulfate fertilizer to the lawn helps reduce pH in the soil. Fungicide products should be applied before this fungus becomes a problem, because it’s very difficult to cure once established.
- Brown Patch Fungus, or Rhizoctonia, is another disease that appears when nighttime temperatures drop below 68 degrees and daytime temps stay in the mid-80s, combined with extended periods of increased humidity. Avoid applying too much nitrogen fertilizer and reduce thatch levels in the grass to help reduce moisture. Infected grass blades can be easily pulled off of the stolons. There are many fungicide products available on the market that will cure this fungus when applied properly.
- Gray Leaf Spot fungus effects St. Augustine grass in late summer as the result of high humidity and proper conditions. The leaf spots are grayish in color with purple margins. Grass infected with this fungus should not be given nitrogen fertilizers until the disease is cured. There are products available to help treat this disease.
For green healthy lawns, always follow the dictum, “Less is best.” Less water, less fertilizer and less compaction.