Cooler weather, shorter days and increased chances of rain are signs of autumn in southeastern Texas. Along with the change in season is the possibility of finding Brown Patch Fungus in our lawns.
This is the time of year turning off irrigation systems is generally recommended. Additional water should be applied only as needed and during morning hours exclusively. Reducing water aids in the prevention of fungus formation, commonly recognized by its brownish colored rings.
The arrival of winter will allow the entire lawn to go dormant, only to emerge in all its lush, green splendor once spring puts in an appearance.
For more information on watering requirements and Brown Patch fungus, please check out the blog articles entitled ‘Are You Watering Enough?’ and ‘Common Lawn Diseases’.
Lawn Maintenance Tips
- Plant grass or lay down sod to give it time to establish prior to winter.
- Reduce irrigation to lawn and stop watering trees or shrubs that have already lost leaves.
- Clean leaves and debris from lawns.
- Hold off on pruning jobs until plants have gone dormant.
- Continue cutting grass at the normal height for your grass type until the first hard frost.
- Aerate soil to keep it from compacting. Aeration will reduce thatch and allow nutrients to reach down into the soil.
- Overseed in areas where there is no lawn or in areas where lawn is sparse to aid in protection against weeds.
Removing Lawn Debris
Since grass is a living, growing plant, we know its basic needs include water, sunlight and carbon dioxide for survival.
In Eastern Texas, leaves, pine needles, pine cones and other debris quickly accumulate on lawns making it difficult for sun and carbon dioxide to penetrate and reach the ground. If large areas of the turf are being covered and not raked, those patches of lawn will slowly suffocate, compromising its ability to be thick and healthy come springtime. Pesticides added to lawns in these areas have a hard time piercing through piles trying to reach the grass plant, and therefore, lose their effectiveness.
An abundance of leaves and debris in one spot can serve as a warm home during winter months for undesirables such as fungus, insects, bacteria and small rodents. It is necessary for the soil below to dry out in order to ward off bacterial and fungal growth.
Mulching is a more favorable means of allowing leaves to remain on lawns, acting as a natural fertilizer, making it easy for sun and organisms to break down the debris into nutrients needed to sustain the lawn through cooler weather and less sunlight.