Soggy lawns and fall turf diseases (9-28-09)
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Fall has arrived and we will soon experience shorter days and cooler weather. However, the recent rains have provided ideal conditions for fall turf diseases to proliferate.
Large patch, leaf blights, rusts and other cooler weather turf diseases can create serious damage to Southern lawns with little time to recover before they go dormant. It is important that we follow good cultural practices during this time.
Even though the grass may be getting taller than you would prefer, it is probably best not to mow a water soaked lawn until drier conditions prevail to prevent soil compaction, spread of diseases, and heavy clipping accumulation. When you do get to mow, it is now late enough in the year that the mowing height can be raised slightly for the approaching winter.
As leaves fall and cover the lawn it is wise to remove them, or at least mulch them thoroughly so that they do not shade and hold moisture on the leaf blades. If you see evidence of turf thinning or leaf blades dying due to turf pathogens, an application of an appropriate fungicide early will help prevent an unsightly lawn all winter and maybe a much more expensive lawn renovation next spring.
Published September 28, 2009
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. firstname.lastname@example.org