Has your lawn fallen victim to root rot?
It's called 'take all root rot' or 'take all patch.' Whatever the name, it's about taking the green out of your grass. And the summertime is when it looks the worse.
It's an American ritual -- putting in the work to get a pristine-looking lawn. But all that can be ruined by a swirl of brown.
"It was maybe a foot in diameter around and now you can see it's probably four or five feet across and spreading, it looks like," said Montrose resident Damon Vance, whose lawn has been affected.
Vance started seeing the brown patches in July. At first, he thought the grass just needed extra water, but soon realized the hose wasn't doing the trick.
"Some kind of unknown problem pops up and its definitely frustrating," he said.
It's frustrating because take all patch or take all root rot is hard to diagnose.
"When we've done the things to kill the chinch bugs and brown patch, nothing worked," said John Teas with Teas Nursery. "Then we know its the take all patch."
"It is a fungal disease that basically eats away at the root system and it does it in such a slow and degrading process, most people don't know it's happening," said garden expert Randy Lemmon.
The disease affects both Bermuda and St. Augustine grasses, mostly in older lawns. If you can easily lift up the grass and see brown root nodules, you probably have the stuff. If you take a closer look, you'll also see little black moldy specs on the stems.
Experts say to fight the disease, you can use products like the F-Stop Funguscide and CN-20 compost to get rid of the take all patch toxins.
"This compost spreads about a quarter of an inch spread in those areas," said Teas. "New grass planted will let the new grass grow without being killed by the disease."
So what causes the brown stuff? Garden gurus say there's no clear cut answer.
"It is just cultural conditions that have to do with our heat, our humidity, have to do with lack of acidity in the soil. All that combining at the same time bring on the root rot," said Lemmon.
So what can you do to prevent it? Our experts say to water well, fertilize in the spring and fall, and regularly mow.
(Copyright © 2005, KTRK-TV) Have a consumer story tip for Jeff? Email him here.
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(Copyright © 2005, KTRK-TV)
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