Updated: Dec 12, 2018
Man, it has been chilly lately. That early cool-off in November, and now consecutive cool days/nights in mid-December. Luckily for me, I just put on a fleece or adjust my thermostat. Ahhh, all better....meanwhile, back in the lawn.....
As I mentioned in last week's post, Winter in Central Florida is a slow down period for many of your landscape plants including warm season turf. Nutrient and water requirements change, mowing height changes, etc.. But there is something else lurking in the soil looking to undermine your lawn....Patch Disease!
Scary right? Well maybe not to us, but Patch Diseases are like a scene from The Shinning to turf.
Patch Diseases are soil born, meaning they are already in the ground under your grass. When nights are cool, and daytime temps. stop breaking 80 degrees consecutively, its ready to pounce. Add some moisture(either excessive rain or over watering)and BAM! 'Here's Johnny'!
The Disease Triangle is one tool we use to determine when disease pressure is around. 1) Host - The host is this case is your grass plants, which will always be there. 2) Pathogen - Most major turf diseases are soil born, so they are just sitting at the bar talking to Lloyd bout how much the love their wife. That leaves it all up to to number 3! 3) Environment - This typically refers to moisture and temperature. That's it. That's all that's standing between Shangri la and The Timber Lodge.
But don't go crazy, there are ways to prevent your lawn from getting diseases. First things first are the cultural practices.
Watering - Less is more. After reading last weeks post, I hope you have checked and adjusted your irrigation accordingly. If not, now is the time. Once a week for lawns that are receiving supplemental nutrition and once every other week for those that are not. Your lawn is semi-dormant and is not taking up as much of the water that is going into the ground, letting the moisture sit in the soil and thatch.
Mowing - This time of year, twice a month is adequate. Depending on the type of grass you have, you'll want to raise the cutting height as well.
Identification - Knowing what Patch Disease looks like can help you contain the issue before it takes over. Brown circles with a 'Frog's Eye' or green patch of grass in the middle, is usually the best ID. If you do see signs of the disease, fungicide treatments are recommended. They treatments will not bring back the grass that is already effected by the disease, but they will help protect the rest of the lawn.
Now you have an idea of how to avoid being trapped in the labyrinth of turf care. Thanks for reading! Subscribe to our blog and like us on social media! Have a great week!