Florida St. AugustineGrass - Knowledgebase Question

Clearwater, Fl
Question by mjkameka
October 14, 2009
I had new sod laid almost six years ago. Had well drilled and irrigation. I paid for Chem Lawn service up until early this year. Grass is green on the leaves and brown beneath. Is this Brown Patch or the worse matter, Take-All Root Rot. I need help. I did Weed and Feed, bug stuff, and turf builder. I can send pics. Help! MJ

Answer from NGA
October 14, 2009


I can't diagnose the problem without actually seeing it and inspecting the turf under a microscope, but if the blades are green but there's lots of brown beneath, it may very well be a build up of thatch that you're seeing, not one of the dreaded diseases you mention. Thatch is natural. It is simply an accumulation of dead stems and above ground stolons and rhizomes. All grasses develop it but when the layer becomes thicker than about a half an inch, it can stop water penetration and needs to be removed. You can rent a power dethatcher which will basically rake all the dead thatch out. Your lawn should be mowed very low before dethatching. The lawn will look awful for a few weeks but then the St. Augustine will green up and spread into all the bare areas. If you'd like more help you can take a sample of your turf to your local extension office for professional diagnosis. Cut a strip or square of turf that includes the roots and attached soil. Contact IFAS, Pinellas County Extension Office, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo, FL 33774. Best wishes with your lawn.

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