I have dead (tan) grass, but I have been watering. Is it grubs?

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More than likely its fungus….

In the transition zone from warm season turf and cool season turf we have a difficult time getting anything to stay looking great! In the Spring, your cool season grasses (Bluegrass and Fescue) look great while your warm season looks dead and just the opposite in the middle of the summer unless… You water! Even with watering, cool season grasses can have problems. With the temperatures being higher we tend to water more. With watering more, we keep the grass blades wet longer, which can cause issues as well. The major issue is Fungus!

What is Fungus and what causes it?

Fungus is a disease that attacks the plant’s leaves in a few different ways. Some will start at the tip, some in the middle of the leaf and others will start at the crown of the plant. With little air movement and water, the plant (grass) doesn’t dry out. This will cause the grass to start to brown, without looking at the blades of grass most people tend to add more water. This is just like adding fuel to a fire!
Other causes are heavy rains in the morning and water standing or ponding for a while. When temperatures go up during the day causing humidity, the grass is unable to dry.
Not mowing at the right height or allowing the grass to get too long can cause this as well. Brummel Lawn keeps all turf at 3.5” during the summer months, leaving it long enough to keep the grass green and short enough to help air move.

If I have it what do I do?

Call Brummel Lawn! We will come take a look to verify that it is in fact fungus. Unfortunately, the necessary treatments can get costly, as the chemicals are not cheap.

  1. Chemically treat it. This must be sprayed twice within 21 days to ensure its knocked out.
  2. Cut back on the water to help the grass dry out between the watering cycles.
  3. Wait until the temperature is lower and humidity decipates. Once the night lows drop below 65, the likelihood of the fungus to continue growing is low much lower.
  4. Leave it be until fall and call Brummel Lawn to reseed the lawn.

What can I do to prevent it?

  1. Manage how often you water and the time of day
    • Don’t: Water at night
    • Do: Water early mornings
    • Try not to water every day.  Longer and deeper is better!
  2. Brummel Lawn offers a preventive, once a month application May-July or August, to control most fungus.
  3. Aeration and verti-cutting in the fall and/or spring will help the air and water move through the leaf blades.
  4. Apply proper amounts of fertilizer At Brummel Lawn, we adjust our fertilizer program year to year to keep lawns green and healthy. Nitrogen can be great to give you a green lawn quickly, but can also cause fungus to expand. There is more to it then just buying a bag of fertilizer! Timing is everything!

Please call your Brummel Lawn specialist with any questions, as we would love to help you have a great looking lawn like the Kansas City T-Bones!


About the Author:

Chief Executive Officer for Brummel Lawn & Landscape LLC. Nick has a bachelors degree in Horticulture from Northwest Missouri State University. Nick started Brummel Lawn & Landscape LLC while still in college and has grown the business ever since.
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