What do you do when ‘take all patch’ keeps attacking your St. Augustine even after you have diligently applied fungus control, fertilizer, appropriate water, etc? Skip
“WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY______?” begins most conversations pointed in my direction anyway, but this year folks seem particularly desperate to find a prescription for landscaping woes. While turf is not my real expertise (as soon as I move into a new house, I start working on ways to get rid of all lawn before the boxes are even opened!), hopefully I can point you in the right direction. But 1st, let’s make sure the diagnosis is correct.
Several grass ailments resemble one another. Texas A&M University is my go-to place and their “Diagnostics Flow Chart” is a great place to begin the search. (Many other universities throughout the U.S. have resources as well, but I’m an Aggie, so that’s where I usually start. I receive no compensation from Texas A&M. In fact, our honor-grad daughter – a 3rd generation Aggie – did not even receive scholarships from them! However, I’ve found universities’ research programs to be cutting edge, although I check to see if specific companies are sponsoring the research…..)
Go next to Aggie Turf’s Answers4You/diseases page to see the broad range of things that CAN go wrong (which is why I opt out of turf in principle).
If you are unable to determine if the issue is fungal or an insect, you might want to send in a sample to get the proper diagnosis from a turfgrass lab such as the one at Texas A&M. My friend SKIP RICHTER shows you how to do this.
Assuming you have determined take-all root rot (TARR) is your grass’ ailment, let me warn you: this fungal disease can be a nightmare to eliminate. Effecting most warm season grasses, the only way your lawn can be “taken” is if there is already a problem. In my case, this year’s drought highlighted the lack of water delivered to a part of my lawn from the automatic sprinkler system. (I’m saving up my $$$ for a pool, so YES, I still have a sliver of turfgrass.) As an organic gardener, I’ll not use prescribed fungicides. They’ve not proven terribly effective in any case for take-all.
New research out shows a simple pH remedy on the area of infection one of the best solutions. Peat moss. Yep. In another YouTube video from SKIP RICHTER, you see step-by-step exactly how to manage your patient and the dosage of peat moss needed to encourage your turf back to good health. I’ll be following the doctor’s orders today and will let you know how it works at my house. Love to hear other folks results, too.