Is your southern lawn bacterial growth, fungus free?

Published 11:28 am Sunday, May 27, 2007

This will be the last time I address lawn for a couple of weeks. Next week I will start answering different questions again but I first want to briefly address diseases that affects our southern lawns.

Q. What are lawn diseases?

A. First of all let’s discuss why we get fungus and bacterial growth on our lawns. In order for a disease to be present three factors need to be present; pathogen, host and environment. The pathogen we refer to is the actual disease or fungus, common ones may be brown patch, slime molds, melting out, take-all or leaf spot. The host we refer to is the turf species in your lawn. Some species such as Bermuda may be susceptible to certain disease that St. Augustine lawn may not suffer from and vice versa. For instance take-all is a disease that causes damage to St. Augustine lawn but has less damage to centipede lawns. The environment we refer to is the external conditions that allow different diseases to develop and grow.

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Q. What can I put on diseases in my lawn?

A. Like anything else the first thing to do is recognize and diagnose the disease and follow the label for application rates and turf species safe for the product. Getting a fungicide with an active ingredient to help eliminate the damage caused by these diseases is the goal. To get a list of diseases and recommended fungicides I would go to our Web site at and search for fungicides and you will find more information than you can use.

Dollar spot is a common problem for some Bermuda lawns, products with active ingredients propiconazole, thiophanate-methyl or triadimefon work excellent on dollar spot. Trade names for these products are Bayer Advanced Fungus Control or Green Light Systemic Fungicide.

Rust is also a disease that affects cool and warm season species. Like its name grass will take a yellow to orangeish tint. If you rub a white cloth over your lawn you will see an orange stain on the cloth. Products containing propiconazole, thiophanate-methyl or triadimefon also work well on this.

Brown patch also called large patch is common in our area and affects many species of lawns including St. Augustine.

This can be treated with products containing chlorothalonil or myclobutanil with trade names Bonide Fung-oil Multi-Purpose Fungicide or Immunox.

Lawn disease can be difficult to control but here are some ways to help. Control thatch build up, build good drainage for lawns when possible, avoid watering lawns in late evening and follow recommend fertilization procedures.

Q. Who all is in the extension office and what do you do?

A. I am so glad this question was asked. Adams County and the state of Mississippi have an excellent extension staff whose motto is “Putting People First!”

Ms. Penny Rachal is our county secretary and when you call she is the vibrant voice you hear; she is extremely helpful and dedicated to the citizens of Adams County. Ms. Paula Gaylor is your EFNEP educator, she conducts nutrition educational programs specifically for youth in Adams County, she also has an amazing personality and works hard to educate and enhance the values of youth in the area.

Ms. Geraldine Geyen is the 4-H program associate that work directly with 4-H clubs and youth in Adams County, she is committed to seeing youth succeed and strives to meet the needs of every youth and child she works with.

I serve as the county director and oversee extension actives and provide educational programming in a wide variety of areas. We also have seven area agents assigned to Adams County housed in other counties.

David Carter writes a weekly column for The Democrat. He can be reached at 604-445-8201.