Ask Burton: Q: I have an area of my St. Augustine grass that is not looking healthy. My sprinkler works, there’s no shade, the edges of the sickly spots started to green up, but now are yellowing and poor in color. Any ideas of what’s going on?

A. It appears your grass has Take-All Root Rot, a serious turf disease than can afflict both St. Augustine and Bermuda turfs in our area. It starts spreading as the lawn comes out of winter dormancy, and it can be a frustrating problem. Take-All Root Rot can grow quickly in rainy/humid weather. It will kill your turf, runners, roots, and all. The roots of dying runners pulled up from the ground will be weak, browned/blackened, and snap easily, with black spots on the grass runners.

The best solution for this particular problem is the following combination approach:

1. Spread our Bonide Infuse lawn fungicide granules across the lawn
2. Then rake a 1/2 inch layer of peat moss across all affected patches and along the edges of the surrounding healthy grass. The Extension Service’s research shows it to be a great help in treating Take-All infections because it’s acidic, moisture-absorbent, and inherently anti-microbial.

NOTE:  Don’t fertilize grass that is diseased if you haven’t already – it only encourages the disease to spread quickly.

This has been a common problem this year, so do all of the above as soon as possible for the best results. Continue to mow regularly, never letting the turf get too tall between mowing. Long cut grass blades don’t break down quickly and build an unhealthy amount of thatch that provides an environment for turf disease to thrive.

Take-All areas will have to grow in from the healthy sides or may even require re-sodding. Make that judgment based on how well the areas fill in this spring.

Covington’s also provides a service to treat this disease and get your lawn healthy again. Contact our Lawn and Garden Services Team at (972) 475-5888 Ext. 200 for more information.