Bermuda Grass Fungus/Disease

saxman2uMay 30, 2014

This is the third summer of the sod celebration bermuda grass we planted. I need help trying to figure out why certain areas of the lawn are not as dense/healthy as others. Can someone help me identify if this is a fungus/disease? I have fertilized once and am watering every 5 days. I think this is too much water from the reading I have done on the internet. I am cutting it 2-3 times a week with a reel mower and keeping the grass at around 3/4" - 1".

You can see in the picture that the left side is much more dense and health that the right side. If this is a fungus/disease, please advise on mowing adjustment, water adjustments (probably just less water and only water when needed), and should I spray with chemical.

Thanks for your help.

Austin, TX

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First off your yard looks great. Keep up the good work.

Somebody will come along and give you some expert advice. I have some similar spots on my yard but it is not as noticeable. I am working on resolving it but I believe I have hard/compacted soil. I am in the process of doing baby shampoo treatments and am going to fertilize with alfalfa this weekend. I wonder if you have the same thing. Does your ground feel harder in those areas than in others?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 11:00PM
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Thanks for the response. I don't think the soil is compacted because before we put the sod down three years ago, we removed the old grass lawn and put down a custom blend soil of about 2-4 inches in areas (non-shrinking compost and decomposed
granite. When added to native soils, improves nutrient profile, adds drainage, and
breaks up compacted soils. Unmatched versatility for turf grass subsoil.)

Here is a picture of the grass from last June, summer of 2013. The original yard is at creek level, there is a dry creek to the right, and, all in all, the soil is very fertile.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 1:04AM
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Does that part of the lawn have better drainage than the rest? Thus that area needs 'more' water? With your custom soil that is something to think about.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 11:51AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

You're doing things right except for fertilizer. You should be fertilizing monthly with a high N fertilizer. I would add at least one app of organic fertilizer every year. Medina Growin' Green is good and I believe Lady Bug is available/popular in Austin.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 11:32PM
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Make sure all your irrigation heads are coming on and turning properly.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 8:02AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

EXCELLENT point, joneboy.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 1:45PM
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Thanks for all the responses. I have been using the Texas-T fertilizer by Maestro Gro, it is a 6-2-4 formula that I like. I will try the Medina Growing Green that was suggested. I am also going to try a Compost tea mixed with the rain water I collect and spray the grass. I thought that the bermuda needed 1.5 lbs of Nitrogen three times a year during the summer. So, I was breaking this up into three fertilizing sessions. Should I change this to 1 lb of N and do this every month from April through August?

As for water/irrigation. All of the heads do work. There is a slight slope to the yard and the area that is always greener is the area that the yard slopes to. So, I am wondering if instead of water deeply for my allotted time, i should break that time up, and water still once a week, but spread out the watering time into 3 segments to let the water soak in some.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 7:51PM
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ok, i am headed to college station, TX tomorrow and am going to drop of 3 soil samples at Texas A&M. Two of the soil samples I took directly from the thinner spots of the lawn. the third sample is from a green part. one thing I noticed right away is that the first two bad sections have soil that seems really hard/compacted. The roots are deep but this layer of soil is rock hard! The good section's soil is not nearly as hard. The shovel was much easier if to cut the section of sod. The layer of sand in the picture is when I leveled the lawn last year. If I do decide to aerate, should I do the entire lawn or just the bad spots? can I get away somehow without using a machine?? Here are some pics. Let me know your thoughts./

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 8:37PM
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different sections side by side.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 8:39PM
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side by side again, good section on the left, not so good section on the right. the right side section you can see the hard layer of soil....

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 8:41PM
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Sherm1082 I mentioned before, my yard has some similar spots and I suspected hard soil. It is starting to become more noticeable. I already mentioned what I was doing in my earlier post to try and resolve it and most of that is based off of what I have read on here. If I don't see an improvement by July, I am going to aerate the bad spots only.

As far as doing the whole yard and doing it without a machine, those questions are kind of linked in my opinion. You will need a machine to do the whole yard. Doing the whole thing by hand is no fun. I am speaking from experience. I also don't know how beneficial it is. If you want to just do the bad spots, buy a core aerator you can use by hand. You can get them from a home improvement store. That's what I have. As long as you do it after a rain, it isn't too bad.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 9:15PM
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Thanks for the info. To answer your question on your first post, the ground is not hard on the top, but that layer underneath is extremely hard. Almost like concrete. I forgot that this area was an area we did not use a lot of the custom blend dirt because it was high enough from a leveling standpoint already. We just put a little sand over it the second year when leveling. i bought a manual aerator off of amazon, and will try that first. probably pay someone to use a machine since the rental machines are kind of flaky and they are really heavy. I have read it does not cost that much more to pay someone. Let me know what you find out on your end. I will report back what Texas A&M finds out as well.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 9:20PM
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Try baby shampoo on that area. It's supposed to help the soil absorb more water. I've also used a soaker hose and just let it soak for a couple of hours, really does help.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 9:19AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

I would be tempt to get Jobe's lawn organic fertilizer, alfalfa pellets, molasses, seaweed liquid, Baby shampoo, soaker hose....

That will really loosen up the soil deep down.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 5:22PM
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Thanks for all the information. I took my soil samples to Texas A&M on Friday. I should hear back in a week.

As far as the compact layer, the information i stated earlier in a previous was incorrect. I believe the compacted later is the original sod base dirt (black clay-like material) that the sod was put down with. I guess in some places, it really got compacted. The custom dirt that we put down is still down there, underneath this compacted later. That is good. This custom dirt did seem pretty dry.

I am going to wait for the soil samples to come back before I make any big adjustments. If the PH is off, I will wait till the fall probably.

Today, I put down 10lbs of molasses for every 1,000 sq ft and I fertilized with Maestro Gro's Texas T, 6-2-4 (Made with feather meal, alfalfa meal, soybean meal, wheat midds, corn meal, kelp meal, molasses, humates, yeast and compost). I also shampooed as well with 9 oz of baby shampoo. I will continue with these method's before I core aerate. I may core aerate a small area just to see the benefits. I also have plenty of soaker hoses, so will give that a try too. Great idea.

Lastly, I am going to change the way I water. I have one zone with 18 heads. Instead of watering at once, I am going to break it up into 3 or 4 time periods on my designated water day to see if the water will soak down more rather than run off the top to the lowest area of my lawn. I can't see that it runs off, I have the hunter MP 1000 heads so the water distribution is good. I have no impervious cover, so runoff is not a big deal. Just trying to make sure the water does down deep.

Will report back in a couple of days. Thanks again for everyone's help.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 9:42PM
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