Take-All Patch (Bermuda Decline)
A disease that can attack several species of grass. It is caused by the fungus Gaeumannomyces graminis var. graminis, and is mostly found in St. Augustine grass but can also cause problems in Bermudag rass. It is most active during the fall, winter and spring especially during moist weather.
The first symptom is often yellow leaves and dark roots. Area of discolored and dying leaves will be circular to irregular in shape and up to 20 feet in diameter and thinning occurs. Unlike brown patch, the leaves of take-all infected plants do not easily separate from the plant when pulled. Stolons will often have discolored areas with brown to black roots.
Regrowth of the grass into the affected area is often slow and unsuccessful because the new growth becomes infected. Controlling take-all patch is said to be difficult but isnít with organic techniques. Good surface and subsurface drainage is important. Cut back on watering and fertilizing. Use only organic fertilizers. If soil compaction exists, aeration will help to alleviate this condition and allow the grass to establish a deeper, more vigorous root system.
Prevent Take All Patch by maintaining healthy soil. Control the active disease by aeration, cornmeal and compost and the Basic Organic Program.
Q: I've been told by a reputable lawn service that my St. Augustine lawn was victim of Take-All Fungus last fall. As a result about 1/2 of my back yard is not coming back this spring. It is completely brown, soil is exposed and weeds are taking over. How can I bring my lawn back and prevent future fungus problems? L.S., Dallas
A: The organic program is the solution for Take All Patch. The synthetic fertilizers and toxicnd over-watering are the cause of this fungal disease problem cause of Peat moss is recommended now by some researchers but the better solution is compost. Peat moss is dead, compost is alive. Even the chemical boys are no longer recommending the toxic fungicides-which is good because they donít work and they are neurotoxins. The same research guy that now recommends peat moss also did the research on compost and used to recommend it. I guess the grant money is now coming from a different place.