Patches of super dark green in St. Augustine

granna(SW Texas)July 18, 2007

Hi. This year I have noticed several DARK green patches of St. Augustine in my lawn, about the size of a tennis ball. My neighbor has the same problem but....his is a larger...semi-circle of darker green grass. The rest of the lawn is green...these areas are just REALLY green.

Does anyone have any idea what is going on??


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Rin Tin Tin

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 11:19PM
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Dog #2's.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 12:22AM
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granna(SW Texas)

Haa-haa - - you are correct but what's going on is HUGE, much larger than any "deposits" that could be made by any canine...LOL!!! In my neighbor's yard there is a semi-circle area that starts at one edge of his driveway and goes across to half of his front yard. The darker green area seems to be spreading. It's huge and really green!! ??????????????

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 8:35AM
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Do you own a pet elephant?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 9:35AM
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Billl(z7 nc)

Sounds like fairy rings. They start as a really green spot. At some point, you would eventually see a mushroom in the area. Then they start to spread radially outward forming rings or semi-circles. If you get a real wet period, you might see more mushrooms pop up in the green area.

On the bright side, if that is what you are seeing, it is harmless. The fungi isn't attacking the grass. As it moves outward, it is eating thatch and other debris and releasing nutrients into the soil. That is why you get the REALLY green rings. You can minimize the difference in color if you keep the other grass well fertilized. You might also try one of the iron fertilizers to try to get the greenest color for the rest.

On the downside, there isn't much you can do to "cure" the problem. The fungi is underground, so no standard fungicide will touch it. You could try sprinkling cornmeal on the area as that seems to fight a wide range of fungi. It might take care of your small patches, but it probably won't help an established circle. Once this fungus really gets going, it generally doesn't stop until it runs out of area to spread to. It eats up all its available food on the way, and once it is done it just fades away.

Here is a link that might be useful: fairy rings

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 9:59AM
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granna(SW Texas)

Bill......THANK YOU so much for the info, that is it!!!! I will pass this on to my neighbor!


    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 10:26AM
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If it's fairy ring like it sounds as mentioned that's no good as mentioned no traditional fungicide can cure this. The best way which may or may not be something you'd like to do is to dig up to two feet deep at the point of the dark ring only. Throw out this soil and replace it with soil. The St. Augustine will heal quickly and the problem is solved. I know this works without a doubt. As they say, been there, done that. Otherwise plan on watering often around the ring and having the ring most of the active growing season. Even sometimes like in the pics of the fairy ring provided by bill mushrooms.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 6:14PM
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It's been a while since I did this so I looked it up in my disease book and I was wrong. It needs to be 10 inches deep and 2 feet on either side of the dark ring to be removed then replaced with new soil.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 6:25PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Corn meal and a 1/4" layer of compost will do better than back breaking of digging up soil and throwing away.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 11:41AM
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granna(SW Texas)

THANK YOU so very much for the cornmeal suggestion!! The very thought of digging up the soil and disposing of it - - yikes, my back hurts just thinking of it....LOL!!!!!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 12:42PM
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Sorry to say but that is the only way to rid yourself of fairy ring. Corn meal may help in water retention but believe me it's not the answer. If that was the case then universities wouldn't spend 1000's of dollars a year to find a remedy. Or you wouldn't have any fairy ring around. I've been in the business for 13 years and I know fairy ring is the hardest disease to deal with. But good luck with the corn meal.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 5:18PM
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This article discusses the use of trichoderma which when adding corn meal you can get some control. It lists pythium and brown patch. Still not enough evidence that this works well. Corn meal has some good uses but for the cost alone, I wouldn't want to use it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell study

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 6:03PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Cost? What are you talking about? It costs me 8 dollars to get 50lbs bag of corn meal from animal feed store and apply at the rate of 20lbs per 1000 sqft. Plenty of us have used it for the past 3,4 years. I'd say it WORKS. Even Dr Ingham said so. She's the one with scientific background in this stuff and have the access to laboratory to conduct studies. DO a search engine on this website.

Other universities tend to have poor design of experimental studies when it comes to these stuff....

You are the only one that even recommended this method of getting rid of it. Perhaps, I'm going to ask Dr Ingham directly about it...

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 9:50PM
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Stephen corn meal is cheap and a lot less expensive than top soil and the labor to replace it, plus it doubles as a fertilizer if applied @ 20+ pounds per 1000/ft2

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 12:08AM
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Y'all can ask anyone you want. Why don't you try it. I did and nothing. I mean nothing totally rids fairy ring outside of soil replace it. Call anyone you want.. I say prove it!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 9:34AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Whatever you say Stephen The Clueless.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 2:47PM
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Look Mofo You need to get some facts straight.. Clueless let's see... You have one so called DR. saying that this "snake oil" crap works. I've tried it and it don't. There are 1000's of golf courses in this country that have fairyring. If corn meal was so good then why is fairy ring still around? If corn meal was the answer of all our problems then why has fairy rings been around for 1000's if not millions of years and will still be around long after we are gone to debate what works.

You want to drop names ok. Dr. Richard Smiley Orgeon S.U.
Dr. Peter Dernoedon, University of MD., Dr. Bruce Clark Rutgers university worked together to put a book called "Compendium of Turfgrass Disease" together and what I mentioned about removing the soil was one of their suggestions, nothing talking corn meals. Clueless?? The late Dr. Houston Coutch of Virginia Tech wrote a book on turfgrass disease. Same recomendations, see the pattern? All these professors are much more reliable sources then Dr. Who? These professors also come from the leading turf colleges in the world. Say what you want but I think you just enjoy sounding like you know what your talking about.

Clueless? Ha F'ng Ha! that is funny.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 5:36PM
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Billl(z7 nc)

It is a family site, so I'm sure everyone would appreciate it if you refrain from foul language and name calling.

And just for the record - nothing has shown to be 100% effective against fairy ring. Digging up all the soil in the immediate area SOMETIMES stops it. Other times, you go through a huge ordeal and expense and are left with the same problem. As far as the average homeowner is concerned, it isn't a viable solution. You may as well recommend just selling the house and moving somewhere with a nicer lawn.

As for cornmeal, it probably won't work on a large infestation. It may keep a small patch from spreading, but I wouldn't even bet on that. Cornmeal works by encouraging another benefitial fungi -trichoderma- that basically gets in the way of the damaging ones. They grow alongside the damaging fungi and leach off nutrients and basically take up valuable fungi real estate. Many times, that is enough to slow the bad fungi down and give the plant time to recover. With fairy ring, the fungi rapidly uses up available food and has to move on - hence the outward spread. If you keep it from spreading, you have the chance of starving it to death.

At the end of the day though, this fungi is probably going to do its own thing no matter what you do. Personally, I'd give cornmeal a shot since it only costs a couple bucks. If that doesn't work, I'd keep it well fertilized and watered until the disease runs its course.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 10:16AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Still Stephen The Clueless when it comes to cornmeal and soil web biology....

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 1:03PM
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Ok sorry bill and the community. I'll stand down now. But calling someone clueless is a bit out of line too. I research my facts and not only do I get a second opinion, I get opinions from the USGA regional rep., The pga tour's head agronomist, professors and several superintendents on golf courses and the word about fairy ring is similar to what bill said. Cornmeal help prevents the problems that fairy rings cause but.... It does not eliminate it. This soil biology stuff has nothing to do with a thatch borne disease. Bill if you backfill the area you dig with fill sand with no organic matter you will not have fairyring again. Fairy ring which now I'm quoting the USGA regional rep. stated to me that high organic matter will increase your risk of fair ring. Fill sand has none. By removing the soil, you remove the basidomycetes which are the causal pathogens. If they don't exist. You don't have fairy ring. Now if you have a 30 foot diameter ring I wouldn't try to dig all of that up.. But for a 6 foot diameter then that's not much work really. If I had a larger problem I'd work on aerification and using less organic fertilizers to prevent the build up of om that can cause fairy ring. Then I'd just water, water, water.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 4:05PM
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Billl(z7 nc)

The problem with backfilling with sand is, well, you are backfilling with sand. That might work on a golf course that previously excavated and leveled with sand, but it has huge problems in a home landscape. By adding a foot of sand in an identifiable pattern, you are making your temporary fairy ring into a permanent lawn feature. You just replace your dark green ring with a brown ring because it drains 10 times faster than the surrounding soil and doesn't hold water.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 4:18PM
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On golf course we backfill with sand when we replace irrigation lines, the surrounding area could have a different type of soil.. Bermuda can grow good on backfill because bermuda is drought tolerant and the water moves into the profile well. I thought St. Augustine what the orginal poster was asking about grew well on sand and was also drought tolerant. The thatch from the SA would add some water retention soon. But I do see your point Bill and it could be a concern that I wasn't thinking off hand about.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 4:55PM
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