This month's garden section is going to be focusing on brown patch (where the lawn turns yellow and has a brown ring around it) and irrigation systems. Both can be detrimental to your lawn and financial situation. First, let's discuss the brown patch issue.
We service Mount Pleasant, Isle of Palms, Charleston, Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island, Summerville, Sullivans Island, Johns Island, James Island, West Ashley, North Charleston, Moncks Corner, Goose Creek and neighboring cities.
Call us now. 843-886-9314.
Brown Patch Fungus
Brown patch is breaking out over the Low Country of South Carolina. This is a naturally occurring fungus that breaks out when the conditions are right. The fungus spores can often sit dormant in the soil area for years until the temperature gets to be around 70 degrees in the evening hours, excessive moisture is present, and high levels of nitrogen abound.
Brown patch will present itself as a yellow spot in the yard with a brown ring that is actively moving outward. If brown patch gets bad enough, then it turns into what's called Large Patch (a more severe case of Brown Patch) and engulfs the entire yard. In the beginning, an inexperienced home owner may think that the area is getting dry and add water to the lawn, compounding the problem. While fungicides will slow down or stop the Brown Patch, the best solution is to reduce the amount of water that a sprinkler system will put out. Water is vital to the survival of Brown Patch.
We can not do too much about the temperature nor control the spores that are present, but we can control the water.
Adjusting the Sprinkler System for Brown Patch
Our company, Pleasant Landscapes, will generally set a system to water the lawn one or two days during the fall season. We would cut off the system completely in areas that have high clay content.
I know for a fact that many people overuse their sprinkler system. I often tell people, "A sprinkler system is really like an insurance policy and should only be used when conditions require it." This is often May - September.
This year, thanks to the tropical rains that we received, we have turned off all sprinkler systems under our management. We are only allowing the rain that we are receiving to water our plants and grass. There are a few exceptions to this. The first half mile of the United States are basically the barrier islands of our area, and they do not receive the same amount of rain that most of the Low Country receives. I attribute this to the wind coming in off the ocean and blowing back the rain clouds and not reaching the barrier islands as frequently. Also, the soil found on the barrier islands is fine sand and has no water retaining properties. Therefore, the systems located here have been left on for two days a week this year (except for the few cities that had water restrictions- due to major water line breaks).
Getting Rid of Brown Patch
Once you have Brown Patch, it is important to get this disease under control. Most of the available fungicides will help to control this problem. But, what you do not want to have happen is to leave the brown patch active after your lawn goes into the dominant season, as Brown Patch will continue to live during the winter and will cause large gaping dead spots throughout the lawn in the Spring. It would also reactive itself once the temperatures reach the 70's again and the moisture returns.
If you think that you are susceptible or have had Brown Patch, it is good to do a preventative fungicide treatment in the Fall & Spring as well as watch your water usage or turn off the irrigation system.
If you have any other gardening questions feel free to contact us at 843-886-9314.