Before attempting to diagnose a turf issue, we strongly recommend a soil test. This can be done through your local university extension office. Doing a quick google search for “Soil Test” in your state will yield a number of both private and public soil testing options. That being said, poor turf performance in a landscape is usually due to one of the following:
Too much or too little water: Most of our varieties need .5″ to 1″ of water per week from either irrigation, soil moisture, or rain. Spread waterings apart as much as possible and avoid watering a little bit every day. It is actually a good thing to stress your grass out a little because it will train it to put down deeper roots and hold more water inside of those roots. The most telling sign of drought stress is leaf firing or curling/shriveling of leaves followed by the grass turning brown. If you have St. Augustine it is critical to get water to the plant at this time. If you have a Zoysia or Bermuda the grass will simply go dormant and brown and then return to normal once watering resumes. The San Antonio Water System did a drought study showing that Celebration and Empire were both excellent performers under drought stress, surviving 90 days without ANY water check it out here. Overwatering is one of the biggest lawn issues we see and it is completely unnecessary.
Fungus: There are many types of fungus that can harm your lawn and it is most prevalent in Zoysia, St. Augustine, and Tall Fescue. Fungus thrives in moist soil conditions, so when the ground is constantly wet you are in danger of fungus attacking your lawn. This is another reason to avoid overwatering and/or watering frequently. The best way to prevent this is with a systemic preventative fungicide application. With a very light rate twice per year you will see a significant reduction of fungus pressure. Most fungus will appear symmetrical or circular. If you see this act as quickly as possible to apply a curative fungicide. Propiconazole is the most common active ingredient used in products available at big box stores and works as both a preventative and curative product at different rates. Both liquid and granular will work. If possible try to mix up active ingredients over time and carefully follow rates to avoid harming your lawn.
General Maintenance Problems: These include improper fertilization, poor soil, and bad mowing habits. Performing a soil test at regular intervals is the best way to ensure that you are providing your lawn and landscape with the proper nutrition it needs. Be sure to check out our Maintenance Page for each of our products for guidelines on care and maintenance.
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