Last year, we had an earlier-than-normal Brownpatch alert. Just this past week, I started seeing tell-tale signs of this problem in my neighborhood. In this year's Brownpatch Alert please make note of the two "organic alternatives" that are somewhat new to most of you. There's also a new systemic fungicide that may be available via professional lawn care services, if you're willing to pay the extra money for it. It's also worth noting that while we normally think of Brownpatch rearing its head when night time temperatures get close to the 60s, this latest outbreak is defying that old logic.
Remember too, from previous email tips concerning Brownpatch how we discussed the importance of starting a prevention program early. So, without further ado, please get the broadcast and/or preventive controls down this week and mark your calendar to do it again in 30 days. In fact, if there is any one message that needs to be conveyed this year, is that once you start a "preventative" control program, it absolutely must be continued every 28-30 days. If you aren't willing to do it once-a-month, you might as well not begin with the first one. Once the night time temperatures get into the 50s or below, you can suspend the treatment programs. Hopefully, that can be as early as late October.
Here's a list of those granular preventatives that seem to work best on the Gulf Coast:
Myclobutanil - Ex: Fertilome F-Stop; GreenLight Fung-Away
Terrachlor (or PCNB) -- Ex: Hi Yield Terrachlor Gran.; Nitro Phos Fungicide w/PCNB
Safe-T Green (if they still make it)
There is also available through lawn services, the professional fungicide known as Heritage, which has shown great results, albeit at a higher cost that even the Banner-based and especially the Daconil-based sprays. If you've regularly had Brownpatch problems year after year, and nothing you have tried has work, Heritage may be your answer this year - if you're willing to pay for the up-charge.
Once you have spots developing, not only do you have to put out the preventative for everywhere else, but specifically on the spots you need to put a liquid fungicide of almost any kind. Here's a short of list of possible options:
Chlorothalonil - Ex: Any Daconil
Banner-Based/Propaconazil-based - Ex: Fertilome Liquid Systemic; Bonide Infuse; Banner-Maxx
Consan Triple Action 20 (Must be applied once a week)
In the arena of "organic" alternatives the biggest new product that has hit the market is based in Garlic Oil Extracts. The best example of this product is Garlic GP.
This stuff really does work, but just like the synthetic options, it must be applied every 30 days. While 100% organic, there are two subtle drawbacks to the Garlic Oils. First, they smell like Garlic. So, if you don't like or can't handle that odor, this is not for you. I should mention, however, that the smell does go away within a few hours of application. Secondly, it's somewhat expensive, compared to treatment square footage of synthetic products. But if staying "organic" is your goal, then it's probably worth the added cost. The best news regarding the Garlic -based products is that they too can be used as both a preventative and curative form of fungicide.
I've also had many questions about Agricultural Corn Meal as a Brownpatch control. Personally, I've tried it, and it didn't work at all. There is anecdotal evidence that it does work, but it's a huge timing issue. Meaning, that if the spores are about to blow up, and the Corn Meal isn't down in advance, it will still spread. Also, make sure it's "agricultural" Corn Meal, not just the stuff you get off the shelf of the grocery store. There's a whole tips-sheet's worth of information on the differences between the two that I don't have time to go in to now. I will say this in defense of Grocery Store Corn Meal - it's the best damn Athlete's Foot Control I've ever used.
In case you have not ordered your copy of it yet, here's the link for ordering my new book "Gulf Coast Gardening with Randy Lemmon."
Until next issue, here's to
Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard
exclusively weekend mornings from 8 to noon
on Talkradio 950 KPRC.