Take-All Root Rot is a fungal disease that lives in the soil and attacks turf when conditions are favorable. Most commonly found in St. Augustine lawns, it can also be found in Bermuda and even Zoysia lawns.
What Causes Root Rot?
Grass Root Rot is caused by the fungal pathogen—Gaeumannomyces graminis—and can be found throughout Texas. Favorable conditions that allow for this attack on turf include:
- Excessive rain during cool periods of the year
- Nighttime irrigation schedules
- Poor drainage
- Septic spray heads
- Heavy clay
- Mild winter weather
- Compacted soils
- Excessive shade
- Mower height too high
- Temperature extremes
What Does Root Rot Look Like?
At the beginning of the growing season, Root Rot can cause the infected turf to appear stunted or off-color, though homeowners may mistake this as an issue related to nutrition or moisture. As the grass begins to mature, the roots will start turning dark brown or shiny black, a symptom unique to Root Rot. Over the course of the growing season, the disease continues to progress throughout your lawn, the grass in the affected areas appearing yellow or lime-green and then brown before dying off completely.
Take-All Root Rot vs Brown Patch Lawn Disease
While Root Rot and Brown Patch are often confused with each other, as they both cause your lawn to die off in brown, circular patches, there are a few ways to tell them apart. Root Rot is most common during the spring or early summer, while Brown Patch is common during the fall. Additionally, because Root Rot attacks the grassroots, the blades will appear discolored before dying off, while Brown Patch causes the blades to die off first, making it easier to notice the fungus early on and treat it immediately. If you have trouble identifying your lawn disease, contact our team of local experts to give you a few pointers.
How to Treat Root Rot
In order to confront this issue, we recommend the following steps:
- Apply high-quality fungicides specifically labeled for control or suppression of Take-all Root Rot applied in 14-day intervals during the spring (2), and 28-day intervals in fall (2).
- Topdress areas of infection with high-quality compost in the spring and fall for 2-3 years. Mushroom compost is recommended. TAMU has stated the use of Sphagnum Peat Moss can be beneficial.
- Aerate the turf in May or June.
- Apply lower rates of Nitrogen with higher rates of micronutrients and Potassium Magnesium in areas showing signs or symptoms.
- Limit the rate and use of herbicides in areas showing signs or symptoms.
Aggieland Green's lawn care program has successfully managed Take-All Root Rot in many lawns in Bryan and College Station over the years. We have the expertise to help our customers with this problem before it destroys their lawn.