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 Post subject: Lawn fungus in Houston
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:19 am 

Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2005 4:57 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Houston,TEXAS
We were transplanted from Dallas to Houston November 2004. :cry: When we got into our new house the lawn was already dormant. I assumed the previous owner wasn't using organic methods so the first thing I did was introduce nematodes, molasses, and beneficial nematodes.

I had our lawn tested in April. I had our lawn aerated by a lawn company and followed the organic recommendations and had all amendments applied by June. I noticed part of our front lawn (southern exposure) was dying (within the drip line of a 15 year old live oak tree) and I thought we weren't getting enough water on it. I used a tuna can in the affected area to measure the water and there was over an inch. I was trying to water every 5 days but our lawn just got worse so we upped the schedule to every 3 days. All of our trees' roots are exposed at the grass level and I started deep watering all of our trees. I don't know if the roots are exposed because of lack of water, erosion, or both.

This year I had my soil tested again and added a 1/4" of organic compost for our spring feeding. I also added powdered sulphur which I do not recommend doing without goggles and dust mask. We also installed another sprinkler head so our lawn waters more evenly. The front lawn grass was fine and then started dying off in the summer just like last year. It's dying in the same area but now larger. It finally occurred to me that I might be dealing with fungus rather than watering issues. Do fungi move this slowly? We're still watering every 3 days. I'm ready to try the agricultural corn meal but am wondering if I need to do a quick kill with Triple Action (Consan 20) or wait for the cornmeal to kick in.

I've applied nematodes three or four times. Our neighborhood association seems to think its an effective method to spray for mosquitoes so I don't know if that could wipe out my nematodes in our front yard. Our neighbor has his lawn mowed by a company and I think if I get this under control I will have to visit this problem regularly. (Currently, I am getting the same problems encroaching from his side.) After I get my lawn happy, can I use cornmeal as a preventative? If so, how much and how often? I noticed roaches have a field day with the stored corn meal, do you have any suggestions for keeping it on hand without getting an infestation? I usually keep my reserves in bins with lids but I don't know if the cornmeal made it to a bin. My husband reported the infestation and tossed the bag.

Thanks for your help.

 Post subject: Cornmeal Bonus
PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 3:08 pm 

Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:33 pm
Posts: 829
Location: Dallas,TX
Cornmeal is great for fungus problems. I mix it with my fertilizer every time I spread it at about 30% cornmeal to 70% fertilizer and it does a great job. The bugs are annoying but natural, and won't affect the ability of the cornmeal to do its job. If you get bugs of any kind in leftovers, put them in the freezer to kill off and then either spread them with the cornmeal or sift them out - okay either way. Best is to just buy new and the right amount to use up each time to avoid storage issues.

All the watering may well have been a problem. Water is closer to the surface in Houston in most cases, so you may have added insult to injury. As we've discussed here often, wilt from overwatering is diabolically similar to wilt from lack of water. But I think you may have identified your problem now and cutting back on the water will be necessary to let the roots breathe and regain their health. The cornmeal aids inthe growth of beneficial fungus, so it can help in the regrowth and health of the trees, turf and grasses too.

Good luck! Hope that helps!
Kathe :D

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