Central Texas Lawns
Central Texas lawns typically have hard soil with little depth and alkaline pH levels. Typically this soil grows St. Augustine, Bermuda, Zoysia, or Buffalo grass. Unfortunately, these conditions are often prime for Texas weeds such as crabgrass, dandelions, henbit, thistles, spurs, as well as various lawn diseases and funguses. Having the right care for your lawn is essential to keep it healthy, green, and weed-free.
Types of Grass in Texas Lawns
- St. Augustine
St. Augustine grass is a warm-season lawn grass that is popular for use in tropical and subtropical regions. It is a low to medium maintenance grass that forms a thick, carpet-like lawn, crowding out most weeds and other grasses. While it is very popular in the Central Texas area, it can be prone to drought stress in the hot summer months without proper watering. Common St. Augustine issues are brown patch fungus, leafspot fungus, chinch bugs, and grub worms.
Bermuda grass is native to warm temperate to tropical regions such as the Sunbelt area of the United States. Bermuda grasses are valued for their drought tolerance compared to most other lawn grasses. Common Bermuda grass problems include grubworms, Bermuda mites, leaf spot disease, and occasional fungi. If your lawn is 80% in the sun or higher, then Bermuda grass is the grass for you. It loves the sun.
Zoysia can tolerate wide variations of temperature, sunlight, and water; these grasses are among the most widely used for lawns in temperate climates. They are used on golf courses to create fairways and teeing areas. Zoysia is excellent at repelling weeds throughout the year. Zoysia is a slow-growing grass, so recovery from damage takes a while and that is why preventative measures are best used with Zoysia grass.
Buffalo is a difficult grass to work with. It’s often touted as being more drought tolerant than other grasses, but Bermuda grass is just as drought tolerant and not nearly so problematic. You can’t treat weeds with buffalo grass. We don’t recommend that you plant this type of turf in your yard.
Common Central Texas Lawn Disease and Fungus
An eye like a hawk and persistence is key to managing lawn disease.
Lawn Disease & Funguses
- Helminth or Helminthosporium Disease
- In bermuda grasses, most damage occurs during hot, humid, and wet periods in early fall and spring, especially during periods of prolonged cloud cover.
- This fungus thrives in lawns with thatch which holds the moisture and does not allow it to get to the root system.
- Hot weather, moisture & thatch are a breeding ground for this fungus.
- Leaf spot symptoms are expressed in the early stages of the disease.
- Leaf spot symptoms initially appear as small, brown, or black spots or flecks on the leaves or sheaths.
- As the “lesions” expand, they cause dieback of entire leaves or plants.
- Shaded areas with little or no air movement will result in weak turf and extended periods of wetness promote this fungus development.
- Brown Patch
- The moist conditions of fall with its mild days and cool nights are ideal for the development of brown patch.
- This disease occurs most consistently in the fall, but it may also appear in the spring.
- St. Augustine is the most common lawn grass affected, but bermuda grass and zoysia grass are also susceptible under certain conditions.
- This disease is most easily controlled when symptoms become first evident, but early infections can go unnoticed unless regular inspections of the lawn are made.
- Symptoms are most apparent during late October and into November.
- Over-watered lawns are very susceptible to brown patch; moist grass creates an ideal environment for development of this disease.
- Spring recovery is delayed in areas damaged by brown patch.
- Leaf Spot
- Leaf Spot is commonly seen in late spring to early summer in lawns that have excessive moisture.
- Leaf Spot may progress to sheath (the stem of the blade) and crown (near the top of the blade) rotting.
- “Melting out” is when the blade leaves have circular to elongated purple or brown spots, with straw-colored centers. If not treated it will die.
- Also known as Take-All Root Rot.
- The most obvious initial symptom is yellowish foliage that eventually turns brown and wilts.
- Is commonly found in both diseased-looking and apparently healthy-looking turfgrass.
- It lives in thatch, which is a layer of plant roots, stolons (shoots that grow horizontally along the ground surface), and decaying plant matter.
- The fungus can produce spores but spreads mainly through the roots and stolons.
- The disease is not usually transported by mowers or foot traffic.
- It is more likely to be spread when infected grass, thatch, or soil is moved elsewhere.
- The symptoms of take-all root rot often appear in spring or early summer when the turfgrass emerges from winter dormancy.
- May appear anytime during the growing season when the grass is stressed by heat, drought, shade, high pH soil and water.
- The turf thins out, leaving brown, irregular patches from 1 foot to more than 20 feet in diameter.
- In St. Augustine, grass chinch bug infestation and subsequent damage is often mistaken as a lawn fungus and treated incorrectly.
What causes lawn fungus and diseases?
- Humid conditions
- Mild days (70° to 90° F)
- Cool nights
- Lawns that have been stressed by heat, drought, dull mower blades, chinch bugs, and grubs.
In the early stages, many lawn diseases and bug infestations look similar.
How do lawn companies treat lawn disease and fungus?
Lawn companies typically look for and spot treat a variety of lawn diseases by looking for patches in the lawn, tan leaf spots (burnt cigarette appearance) with dark-brown borders on grass blades near the soil surface and chinch bugs since they can infest a lawn and the damage they cause can resemble lawn disease. Emerald Lawns offers liquid de-thatch in late August or early September and a preventative blanket fungicide.
How can I prevent lawn disease and fungus?
- Water early in the day to allow the grass to dry quickly.
- Improve turf grass root system with liquid aeration and good drainage.
- Remove grass clippings if the weather is warm and moist to prevent spread to other areas during mowing.
- Do not allow thatch to build up.
Common Central Texas Turf Insects
Beware - Bad Bugs Bite & Chew
Some bite and sting our children and pets. Others love turfgrasses and their root systems. Regardless, these problematic insects must be managed if you don’t want painful bites and expensive lawn damage.
How Does Emerald Lawns Treat Lawn Insects?
- Unlike over-the-counter insect products which tout “quick kill”, they have very short life spans for residual results. Our formula lasts through the entire lawn season.
- With every visit, our technicians will examine your lawn for insects and diseases.
- We will apply a beneficial, low-impact mixture just to the places needed.
- We don’t use ingredients that are photosynthesized to avoid additional lawn burn or other new problems.