Does Warm Winter Weather Harm Your Lawn?

As far as winter goes, we haven’t had much of one so far this year. The mild weather and sunshine is welcome after last year’s soggy soil posed many problems for area lawns. Nutrient deficiencies, soil compaction and suffocated roots have been big problems for area lawns due to the excess rainfall.

While we are all enjoying the spring-like weather in January, it could end up causing more problems for your spring lawns. Warmer than normal temperatures combined with future rainfall or your sprinkler system, could cause fungal diseases to get an early start. Your best bet at keeping your lawn healthy this spring is to keep a close eye on it so that potential problems can be caught early. One disease in particular, Take All Root Rot (TARR) was a big problem for DFW lawns in 2015 and we expect to see it return early this year.

Take All Root Rot

You’ll recognize TARR, caused by the fungus Gaeumannomyces graminis var. graminis, by discolored leaf blades that start as yellow then fade to brown and eventually die off completely. Infected areas can range from just a few inches across to several feet across in irregular patterns. St. Augustine and Bermuda lawns tend to be most affected, but TARR can also damage Zoysia, Fescue, Perennial Rye lawns. If left unchecked, the fungal disease can kill off large portions of your lawn in just a season or two. Because of its pattern of yellowing leaf blades in irregular shapes, it is often misdiagnosed as an iron deficiency or chinch bug damage.

Irregular patterns of yellowing leaf blades is one sign of Take All Root Rot.

Aside from mild, humid weather, frequent and shallow watering can be a cause of TARR. Improving the health of your soil to reduce compaction will greatly reduce the risk of most lawn diseases, including TARR.

TARR can be very difficult to control or eradicate once it’s become a problem in your lawn. Treating the disease will require commitment and patience. Controlling TARR will require a combination of ongoing treatments such as aerating the soil, applying peat moss over your lawn to bring down the pH, appling bio-fungicides and managing water very carefully throughout the year, especially during times of rainfall and high humidity.

By employing an organic, soil-health based approach to your lawn care, you (or we) can help you reduce and control problems with TARR in your lawn, as well as better manage many other common fungal diseases.

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