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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:55 am 
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Hi. I would love to start a little garden or planting some fruit trees in the backyard... but a lawn care company who did an analysis of my yard said it has Brown Patch disease and it is in the soil- both front and back yards. I haven't contracted with them yet to start treating the lawn, and I'm scared of planting anything. Would the brown patch kill whatever I planted if it spread to the garden/fruit tree area?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:48 pm 
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Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
I fear that some of those companies will try to scare you into work you don't need done. I see it with my neighbors every so often. Brown patch is a fungal disease that occurs on lawns that may be too wet. Here is a short article from the Library of Organic Information:
Brown Patch Disease
Quote:
Cool-weather fungal disease of St. Augustine. Brown leaves pull loose easily from the runners. Small spots in the lawn grow into large circles or free forms that look bad and weaken th turf but rarley kill the grass. Go organic to build the beneficial microbes in the soil. Spread a thin layer (1/2") of compost or for faster results corn meal at 20 lbs./1,000 square feet. Spray the problem area with Garrett Juice plus garlic tea. Potassium bicarbonate at 1 rounded tablespoon per gallon can be added for additional control.

You don't need to do anything more than these organic treatments, especially of you are going to dig up the area to put in a garden. You may need to check your watering setup if you have an automatic system. Put it on manual and water only when needed. Water deeply less frequently.

Careful not to plant the trees too deep (check out all of the Dirt Doctor planting and care guides for more information) and don't over water them.

We have a fellow who specializes in turf questions so you'll probably hear from him with all sorts of things you can do yourself. But the tips in the quote should be enough to remove the brown patch problem from areas where you don't plan to put a garden or plant trees.

Good luck!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:43 pm 
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Thank you for your response! So, I could just spread plain cornmeal (like the kind you cook with) over the entire lawn?? or just the infected area? And what is garlic tea? How would I make it?? or where would I buy it?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:23 pm 
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Take a look in the Library of Organic Information for all of these answers. There are methods for making garlic tea, for types of corn meal or corn gluten meal to use, about composting, etc.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:12 pm 
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I often have issues with Howard's approved recommendations. For example 1/2-inch of compost is not a thin layer. That is double the highest amount I would suggest. That would be 2 cubic yards per 1,000 square feet. In your case I'm really not sure you need it. Compost is the single most expensive thing you can apply to your garden. I would only spend the money on compost if you have reason to believe the soil had been poisoned with fungicide. If the soil has not been poisoned, then all you need is corn meal at 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. You can use more if you like. If you do decide to use compost, use no more than 1 cubic yard per 1,000 square feet. You might figure 1 cubic yard per 1,500 square feet to be safe. I have seen lawns smothered and die from using 1/2 inch of compost. In fact I see it in my neighborhood every year.

Corn meal should be all you need. Call all your local feed stores and ask for it. Be sure you are asking for corn meal and be sure they are telling you about corn meal and not corn GLUTEN meal. It is plain corn meal that kills the disease. Apply it to the entire lawn because you can't know where the disease is sitting but not quite infecting the grass. It needs certain conditions to make its presence known. The corn meal will wipe it out.

I also have a huge problem with using potassium bicarbonate. First of all, IT'S A CHEMICAL. Secondly, it is a non selective fungicide which will prevent corn meal from working to kill the disease. It will also poison your soil just like any other chemical fungicide. If you do use that, or if you have already used it, then you should wait 3 weeks after you applied it and then apply compost at 1 cubic yard per 1,000 (or 1,500) square feet. Give the compost 3 full weeks to reactivate the soil microbes and then hit it with the corn meal. Potassium bicarbonate would be a very last resort kind of treatment if all else failed. It is slightly less of a problem than the harder to pronounce fungicides sold in bottles.

If you sincerely trust the opinion of the guy offering to spray chemicals on your yard, then you might plan ahead to apply corn meal every month for the rest of the season. That will give you good fertility for the rest of the season and will ensure you have no disease issues going into winter.

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