March 21, 2017
Fungus Among us!
Yes, as you can tell I am of a certain generation that raised my kids when Sponge Bob was fresh, and I was young enough to laugh at it myself. I have watched many episodes and stole this line from a famous episode. In all seriousness fungal issue are no laughing matter.
If you are anything like me, you may be a creature of habit. I ate the same lunch at the same time every day for almost nineteen years. It was a Turkey Sandwich, no cheese, no lettuce, chips, and a drink.
If my wife changes where we keep the spoons, I will continue to go back to the same place looking for the spoons for up to a year and every time think, “What did she do with the spoons, we had such a good thing!”
Then it dawns on me, “Oh yeah she moved them!” I also tend to wear the same boots everyday all day long. As you can imagine they can be a bit smelly from time to time. I have learned that I must let them dry out in between wearing them.
Most likely you have experienced a bit of “jungle” boot before. This is common in my profession most likely if you have children you have experienced this on some level yourself. This is because Bacteria and Fungi like to live in warm, dark, moist environments.
When fungus is exposed to good air circulation, light, and dry conditions it goes away. We typically never see any Fungus during July and August due to the hot dry conditions.
In ancient times if your house developed a fungus sometimes the only remedy was to tear it down. Today Black Mold is still a huge problem in houses and can cause a great deal of frustration and resources to control.
Below you will find information about Fungal problems from what causes them, what can be done to control them.
When Does Fungus Appear?
Fall and Spring are the typical times that we see Fungal Issues. If you have a St. Augustine Lawn, it’s only a matter of time before you start to see it. There are several factors that are at work that you need to look for.
- Shady conditions
- Moist conditions
- Temperatures between 70-89
Here in North Texas we typically get all our rain at once. It comes in the fall and spring, as well as cooler, cloudy weather. Hence setting up the perfect storm to create Fungal Issues on your lawn. In nature Fungi have a great function.
A much-needed function, they help decompose organic matter. This is a great thing with tree litter and other debris that you can find out in the woods.
This carbon material gets broken down and turned into rich organic matter that improves the soil. But when that Fungus decides to attack your lawn it can lead to disastrous consequences.
Fungus is like a lawn cancer if you will. It grows exponentially over a short period of time. The damage can be irreversible if it is left unchecked. When it runs rampant root damage occurs.
St. Augustine has no deep surface roots. It’s roots are shallow and run very close to the surface. The large “runners” you see are the roots of St. Augustine.
Gas On A Fire
Think of it as an Algae bloom in the ocean. Once a fungus starts blooming it can get out of hand quickly. Make sure that you don’t “feed” the Fungus too much Nitrogen.
This is like throwing gasoline on a fire. It’s a bad idea. You must also make sure that you are watering early morning. Sometime after 4 am. This will allow the water on the leaves to dry up during the day and not remain moist for extended periods of time.
This is like throwing gasoline on a fire. It’s a really bad idea.
Here are some of the Causes of Fungus
- Compacted soil
- Too much fertilizer (or using the wrong kind)
- Weather conditions, fluctuation temperatures and humidity (fall and spring)
How To Identify A Lawn Fungus
- White, yellow, or brown patches or rings that grow in diameter
- Thin patches of frayed, distorted, or discolored grass blades
- Gray, black, red, orange, or purple spots on blades or stems
- Gray, black, or pink powdery or threadlike coatings on and around grass blades
- Areas of darkened, wet-looking, slimy, or greasy-looking grass
For more information see the following link.
What To Do If You Suspect Fungal Issues On Your Lawn
Below are some things that you can do on your own to help control the fungus:
- Check your watering time-Water closer to daybreak so the water can evaporate
- Trim the trees to allow more light to reach the lawn-Fungus does not like the light
- Install bales of Peat Moss in the lawn-Peat Moss restores balance and organic matter
- Install Horticulture grade Cornmeal-Cornmeal is an organic control
- Get on Purple Care Fungal control-While on our Fungal treatments we will take treat any fungal issues that we see while we are on your property
Fungal issues cause damage to the root system of the grass. If you can pull up the runners easily and there are no apparent surface roots attached to the soil the damage has occurred.
The fungus can be stopped but the effects of the Fungus are irreversible if followed by dormancy or the stressed of drought. Many times the fungal issue shows up in late spring or late fall.
When this occurs the heat and droughts or the cold weather kills the damage sod. Often the area may need to have new sod installed for a speedy recovery. Steps can be taken during the growing season to help reverse the damage from the fungus.
If you are not sure if you have a fungus call our office and have one of our experts come take a look and come up with a plan of action for your fungus.
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