season grasses of the south like St Augustine, Bermuda, Zoysia, etc. keep
growing strong. The growing season is just longer in the south and building up
a healthy plant before the grass goes dormant for the winter is really
beneficial. We recommend feeding your lawn until soil temperatures fall to 70
Question: Why Do Saint Augustine Lawns Go Brown In Winter?
Not all lawns will go brown in winter, and
there can be many factors which can attribute to a lawn either going brown or
staying green over the winter time. But the main reason is that lawns naturally
become dormant or semi dormant over winter, and in doing so – some will
naturally lose their green color and brown off. Warm season grasses thrive in
the hot weather and therefor suffer in the cool weather. Luckily they come
right back in the spring!
Fall Weed Control: Typically many winter annual weeds are really cool season weed types and can be managed by applying a pre-emergent herbicide around September/October. Selective, post-emergent herbicides can be applied as necessary —- use sparingly as the warm season grass does not have the ability to grow or fight off the weed control itself and can be effected more dramatically than the spring time before the growing season.
Fall Irrigation: Without regular rainfall you should continue to water
to prevent drought stress. After the lawn has become dormant, water as needed
to prevent excessive dehydration. No more than 1 inch needed a week including
Fall Mowing: Continue to mow at the normal mowing height until the
weather starts to cool in the fall. Once nighttime temperatures fall below 70
degrees regularly, raise the mower cutting height ½ to 1 inch to allow more
leaf surface. This will allow the turf to become acclimated and insulate the
roots longer. Once fully dormant, cut slightly lower than normal to
allow airflow and reduce disease.
Typically homes are bought and sold with information such as the square footage of your house and a total lot size. However that doesn’t give us great lawn care information. We as homeowners and yard maintainers really need to know the grassy area eliminating the house, driveway, shed, and other non-grassy areas.
The great part about technology is we can now do that measurement from ANYWHERE! Lawn Serv built a tool leveraging aerial photography built off of the Google Maps database that you can use for free here — http://www.myyardsize.com/ . Below is a video on how it works.
It is very simple:
Put in your address
Plot points around the item you want to measure (cutting out your house, driveway, shed, etc).
Read the number in the top left
Measuring Tape – section off areas, do a length by width calculation, add them all together
Maintaining a healthy, vigorously growing lawn is the best way to prevent a severe disease outbreak in turfgrass. Executing the lawn game plan with optimum amounts of water and fertilizer along side the right mowing regime is a solid start. Not forgetting to aerate and setup for well-drained soil is next level. If any of these factors are missing or in excess, the grass may become stressed and more susceptible to disease. NOT GOOD!
Many common diseases are active only under specific environmental conditions and with some lawn love can be put back on track in a short period of time. The key is taking action quickly when you see it! Getting down an appropriate fungicide might be needed to stop the spread and start to cure the disease. Bagging clippings when mowing will also help to stop the spread. Understanding the disease’s favorable conditions and doing your best to counteract those is going to be necessary. If excess water is a problem… turn off the irrigation, or try to regularly aerate your lawn annually as an example. We cannot control the weather so doing our best to react will keep us on our toes.
Red Thread. This disease is common under conditions of rising air temperatures 60°–75°F in spring with extended periods of leaf wetness and is likely prevalent where there are low levels of nitrogen in the soil. Red thread is a relatively harmless disease that can be used as a good indicator that it’s time to fertilize the lawn. Cool season grasses like fescue, ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and bentgrass are most susceptible.
Brown Patch. Brown patch appears as circular patches in the lawn that are brownish yellow in color and range from 6 inches to several feet in diameter. It affects all cool-season lawn grasses but is especially harmful to ryegrass and tall Fescue. Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescues can occasionally be affected, but the damage is usually minimal in these species. Brown patch also affects a variety of warm season grasses including St. Augustinegrass and Zoysiagrass. Brown patch is most likely to occur during extended periods of heat and humidity when night-time temperatures remain above 68° F.
Powdery Mildew This fungal disease is common to many plants beyond grass even, each with its own species of the disease. Powdery mildew on lawns is most common on cool season grasses, Kentucky bluegrass specifically. Powdery mildew can appear quickly on a lawn, mainly in shady areas and more frequently during cloudy or overcast periods. The presence of powdery mildew is evident by a white dust appearance on the leaf blades.
Grey Leaf Spot
The conditions favoring this disease start with daytime temperatures of 85°–95°F along with high humidity or rainfall. The symptoms as seen in the picture below include irregular blighted patches of turf with bleached spots with dark edges to the spotting on the blades of grass.
Snow Mold Will appear in the early spring as the snow melts. There are two types of snow mold. Grey snow mold and pink snow mold. Pink snow mold infects the crown of the plant and can cause more severe injury than gray snow mold which only infects the leaf tissue. Snow mold is caused when there is an extended period of snow cover on the ground that is not completely frozen. Snow mold more easily under leaves that have not been cleaned up before winter or with long grass that should have been mowed once more before winter set in.
HOW TO TREAT:
This Bayer BioAdvance product can help to stop the spread in a diseased lawn while also aiding in the cure. Additionally, applications to help prevent turf damaging diseases could be necessary if you see favorable disease conditions helping to stop the disease before they become very noticeable. This rainproof formula provides up to 1-month protection against most common lawn diseases including Anthracnose, Brown Patch, Dollar Spot, Fusarium Patch, Powdery Mildew, Red Thread, Rusts, Stripe Smut, Summer Patch, and Snow Mold. VIEW PRODUCT HERE
Don’t forget that disease and fungus are normal parts of maintaining a lawn. You might see these problems every year or every few years depending on where you live in the country. Not your fault, just do what you can to try to maintain it and have fun working on solving the problems!
Continue to amend and manage your lawn ecosystem appropriately with LAWN SERV!
Think about taking this time to sharpen the blades for the new year
If you get sustained below freezing temperatures in your part of the country you need to think seriously about simple maintenance if you plan to extend the life of your machines. Grass clippings in bags can ruin them, so turn them inside out, rinse and let dry in the sun. You should clean your mower deck after each use, but especially before winter. Grass holds moisture and can rust parts of the mower quicker.
Gas only has a couple months shelf life. You should run that out if you don’t plan on mowing in the next 60 days and put new gas in.
Sharpe blades are going cut more efficiently and cleaner. This will improve the health of your lawn. Now that you have a few winter months off go take the blades to a local shop and get those sharpened. It’s short money for the saved headaches they can cause by creating lawn problems.