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Brownpatch Control Alert
I wish I could have gotten this message out to you last week, but with the death of John Teas and the Woodlands Home & Garden Show, I had to put it off for one week. The reason I wanted to get the most recent Brownpatch message out last week, was because we dipped into the 60s for our night time low temperatures early Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. And if you know anything about the spread of brownpatch, it takes a synergistic combination of high nitrogen fertilizers, excessive moisture and night time lows in the 60s.
Historically, the dreaded fungal disease known as Brownpatch (Rhizoctonia solani) would crop up during the months of September and October. And I have to admit, garden advice gurus (goobers, to some of you) would remind you that September 1st was when we started thinking about preemptive control measures. By the way, if you need help in figuring out whether you have brownpatch or not, please read our permanent tip sheet back at the website.
So, this year, the question really surrounds whether or not the drought will help in delaying and/or a decrease of brownpatch. But Mother Nature always has her own agenda, and it's obviously impossible to say whether there will be reduction this year.
The first thing you can do is to change your watering practices. No matter what the situation, it is best to water early in the morning (And we've discussed all those reasons before in our irrigation discussions: 1. There's better water pressure 2. It allows the grass to use the water during the day 3. There's less water evaporation etc.) However, when it comes to preventing brownpatch, this is the most important change you can make. That's because if you're watering in the evening, and when we move toward the fall temperatures (and we touched them this past week) all that moisture and the 60-68 degree night time temps are an open invitation to brownpatch
If you are already doing all of this with the irrigation, but have a neighbor that you know is watering at night. Please print out this tip sheet and take it to them. It may be the only way you can get the message heard.
We put together a tip sheet back at our main website to encompass all the different control products available for brownpatch.
The second change you can make is to change your fertilizer. If you've historically used a high nitrogen fertilizer (I define that as any fertilizer that's not a "slow-release" with a nitrogen – or first number – in the ratio higher than 21. Ex: 27-3-4… That's too high! Most of the slow-release/controlled-release fertilizers recommended in my fertilization schedule do not fall into the category of high nitrogen fertilizers. Click here to see that tip sheet.
The third cultural practice harkens back to the tip sheet noted earlier, but reminds you that if you saw brownpatch last year in September, then get your preventative control down in August. Don't wait to see the problem to prevent it. Try thinking back to when you usually see the circles in your yard, and try to prevent it 30 days out. Please note though, that once you start your preventative control with specific fungicides, it's in your best interest to re-apply it every 30-45 days for up to 3 applications for superior control. The list of controls is listed below.
Finally, while this may not be a cultural practice, DON'T PANIC!!! If you think you have brownpatch and you can confirm it with the information in our tip sheet above, don't panic because brownpatch will not kill the grass. Yes, it's unsightly for many months, but it will not kill the grass.
The final important message I can relay to you is not to mix organic and synthetic processes. Pick one cultural practice and stick with it. The bottom line is this: If you're going organic, you ruin it all by adding a synthetic fungicide. If you're using a synthetic method, you can mute it by adding an organic. Choose your method and stick with it this season.
• Terrachlor (Granular)
• PCNB Turf Fungicides (Terrachlor-based granules)
• Systemic Bayleton (granular and liquid)
• Fertilome Liquid Systemic (Banner-based liquid)
• Benomyl (granular or wettable powder)
• Bayleton (normally found adjacent to Greenlight in stores)
Curative/Topical Controls to Halt Disease:
• Myclobutanil (such as F-Stop from Fertilome)
• Fertilome liquid systemic
• Consan Triple Action 20
• Terrachlor (double the dose as a curative
• Neem Oil
• Garlic Oil
• Compost Top Dressing
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