Dying St. Augustine

Dying St. Augustine

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eldyfig – posted 01 October 2003 16:42

Any help with this one?

Neighbor’s St.Augustine grass in Jacksonville,Fl. Grass is very easy to pull from ground. Comes up with roots (notice picture). Watered with irrigation system twice per week. Mowed to proper height of 3″. Surrounding area of lawn, sod is not easily pulled from ground. Remainder of lawn is lush green in color. Area is bottom of small incline between house and street.


What might be the problem?

redbird – posted 02 October 2003 09:43

You can only tell so much from photos, but is the area damp, wet – like under a pile of leaves in the woods? If so, it could be Take-All-Patch (looks like it to me, anyway).

This is a really difficult (some people battle it unsuccessfully for years) to kill fungus. There is a lot of information from professionals regarding fungicides to try and knock it back – search the archives. Dchall (the organic guru) recommends conrnmeal to promote the groth of beneficial fungi to eat the fungi from the dark side of the force. That should show up in your archive search.

This fungus will tend to linger in the soil and attack any new grass growth or plugs which intrude at the site of the disease. Your first priority is to attack the source of the problem – take-all-patch usually develops in areas which stay damp due to shade, over watering, ponding, etc. What can be done to dry the area out and KEEP it dry?

I have read some articles on the web that indicate moderate success by addressing the dampness and then spreading compost on the area (then allowing the surrounding grass to fill in or plant plugs).

Do a web search for take-all-patch and yopu’ll see some of this stuff. This stuff is supposed to be easier to prevent that to get rid of once it arrives.

If the area is DRY – you may have an insect pest chewing the grass off above the roots. Dchall recommends beneficial nematodes – I use Bayer Season Long Grub Control.

Good luck.


eldyfig – posted 02 October 2003 12:51

[This fungus will tend to linger in the soil and attack any new grass growth or plugs which intrude at the site of the disease.]

This seems partial to what is going on. New sod was placed in this area, but it also fell victim to whatever is going on here. Only thing is though, the surface area doesn’t seem damp. It is in full sunlight throughout most of the day.

As for lawn pests, I think he did a soap check yesterday evening. I’ll ask if he found anything. I guess you have to dig to see if it is a grub problem? I did some landscaping in my yard in the spring and found one or two grubs uder the root system of the sod I was removing.

redbird – posted 02 October 2003 14:14

Best possible suggestion – call your county extension agent and ask them to take a look. I can’t speak for your area, but in my area (30 min. away, across the GA line) my agent will come out fairly quickly and tell you what’s what.

Fungus vs. grubs – yep, you gotta cut an adjacent 12″ square piece of sod to tell if you have grubs(I know, who wants to enlarge an eyesore – sigh). And yes – both a residual fungus and an untreated critter problem will attack new sod pieces. Anyway, I have been told that if you have more than a couple of white grubs per sf., it’s good to treat. Also, remember that there may be other beetle/weevil larvae of various types just under the thatch and also down where the white grubs live. A good soil drench insecticide will wipe out most everything you should worry about (again, I now use the Bayer Season-Long Grub Control, it has a 3 month residual).

Your very best bet is to get someone in your area with a lot of experience to come take a look – hence the suggestion to call the county extension agent.


eldyfig – posted 02 October 2003 17:40

Thank you for the help. I will post back what we find out.

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