KTRH GardenLine Newsletter
NUTGRASS: A HARBINGER OF TAKE ALL PATCH
May 10, 2007 - Issue #18
Here's Randy's Weekly KTRH GardenLine Tip:
Despite what was a colder than normal Take All Patch has become a cancer of sorts for many lawns around Southeast Texas, but like many ravaging diseases for humans and plants, the disease didn't just happen overnight. There are usually some warning signs. In many cases, as noted in our permanent tip sheet regarding Take All Patch the first of many signs is a yellowing of the grass and there's also a thinning of the grass, not to mention, there's still the symptom that makes the grass lift up like a cheap toupee. But what has interested in me in the past few years, is a symptom pinpointed by John Ferguson at Nature's Way Resources (home of the 2-year-old leaf mold compost) is how a particular weed can also be a tell-tale sign of bad things to come. The good news is IT'S A WARNING SIGN! Here's an excerpt from some research he did on the subject:
Weed Warning Signs
John Ferguson, Nature's Way Resources
So, as I noted above the good news is this is a WARNING SIGN! While Nutgrass and Take All Patch are bad things for the yard, at least Nutgrass can be that early warning detection system to head off Take All Patch before it eats up an entire yard. John Ferguson (as well as many other manic organics) has noted, for years, that compost spread on the lawn is a very good way to remedy such diseases, and I swear by this concept too. In fact, the 2-year-old leaf mold compost, I have personally seen reclaim areas in the earliest stages of Take All Patch.
There is a group of plants that have evolved to live in the exact same conditions that favor brown patch, we call them weeds. Disease organisms and plant species we call weeds are nature's way of fixing problems and getting rid of weak unhealthy plants (Survival of The Fittest), hence researchers are now viewing weeds as a diagnostic tool rather than a pest.
A common weed in our area that thrives in the conditions that favor brown patch is nutsedge or nut grass (Cyperus esculentus and Cyperus rotundus) which are members of the sedge family. Most sedges have evolved to grow in bogs and swamps to even standing water. Swamps and bogs are areas of low fertility, little oxygen in the soil, and very wet conditions. These type soils are dominated by bacteria with very little fungus. However, healthy turfgrass, depending on the species, requires 30-50% beneficial fungus species in the soil.
If we see nut grass in our lawns or gardens, it is telling us that the condition of our soil is at least starting to favor nut grass NOT lawn grass. In other words our soils in our turf grass have become compacted; there is little air (oxygen), the fertility is low or out of balance, and the soil is too moist. When these conditions occur, the good soil microbes that prevent disease are dying off and the bad ones like brown patch are waking up and starting to grow and multiply. Using the human cancer analogy, if we detect an early skin cancer it can easily be removed and prevented from spreading and becoming serious. Similarly, at this stage it is relatively easy and inexpensive to stop brown patch and turn things around.
Working backwards, we can ask ourselves; what did we do to cause these conditions? The first major culprit is water soluble synthetic fertilizers with "weed and feeds" being the worst. A close second are the inexpensive (as in low quality) synthetic fertilizers that often release their nutrients quickly from the salts they are made from (these also may contain hazardous waste that create other long term problems).
So, while Nutgrass is NOT AN AUTOMATIC DIAGNOSIS for Take All Patch, at the very least, top dress the suspect areas with compost before you just go about killing the weeds. If, after reading the symptoms and testing for such symptoms yourself (noted in the Take All Patch Tipsheet mentioned above), and it's just plain old nutgrass locked into the soil as well as the roots of the grass, then kill it with any of these three herbicides: Sedgehammer (formerly Manage), Monterey Nutgrass 'Nihilator and Image. Be forewarned, Image can only be used when our high temperatures at 90 degrees and below. However, much like other weed killing tip sheets we've talked you through before, a Surfactant is the key to success in nutgrass control.
Until next issue, here's to Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively, 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and 7-10 a.m. Sundays, only on NewsRadio 740 KTRH.
Be sure to check out Randy's Event Page to see where else Randy will be for the next few weekends. Bring your plants, bugs, and diseases for identification purpose.
GardenLine Listeners and E-mail Tip Subscribers can purchase a copy of my new book at discounted price! Check it out! "Gulf Coast Gardening with Randy Lemmon"
Garden retailers interested in stocking the book, should call the Nitro Phos Warehouse at 713-228-1868 for wholesale ordering information.
Click Here for a complete
KTRH program schedule
E-mail The Editor. Please feel free to forward this issue to friends and associates. Anyone can subscribe for free.
For Advertising Information: PaulLambert@clearchannel.com, general sales manager - 713-212-8560
You are receiving this newsletter because you requested a subscription. This newsletter is optimized for Microsoft Outlook. If the newsletter doesn't display correctly in your e-mail program, see our online version. To unsubscribe, instructions are at the bottom of this page.
This listener newsletter copyright © 2006. Powered by Clear Channel's ktrh.com.