10810 Southern Loop Blvd. Pineville, NC 28134
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13 Dec 2021

2021 Agronomic Review

The biggest impacts to the health and appearance of your lawn are the weather, what we do and what you do.
The weather in 2021 was very similar to 2020 with a cool/wet spring and a warm dry fall. Humidity levels which are a good indicator of lawn fungus activity were quite high May-July in 2021. Seeding results were adversely affected by lack of rain September-November.

Brown patch fungus was a big issue the entire spring and summer. We observed moderate to heavy damage to Fescue lawns. There are fungicides available that show excellent control of brown patch. The key is prevention. Tall fescue is a cool season turf type and weakens during hotter temperatures. Add high humidity and your lawn is susceptible to the fungus. If you have had problems in the past, please consider our preventative program. I’ve seen many folks cutting their fescue lawns too short. You can minimize fungus activity and prevent early browning by cutting at 3 1/2 inches plus or the highest setting on the mower. This kind of grass can’t tolerate low mowing.
Watering based on where you live can be very expensive. Base your watering on weekly rainfall. Please don’t over water. Fescue requires 1″ of water per week in 85-degree weather which would mean 3X per week for about 30 minutes in each area. Once we pass 85 try to water once per week just to keep it alive. At high very high temperatures, the limited root system on Tall Fescue can’t take up water as fast as the plant is losing it.
A fungus we first observed in 2018 (Bipolaris) is quickly becoming a problem on hybrid Bermuda turf in our neck of the woods. It is a very aggressive leaf spot fungus spreading by airborne and waterborne spores. We suspect it was introduced from sod brought into the area as it is being sourced much further south than ever before. There are very few options at this time in terms of effective fungicide products. Mowing is the key to keeping this pathogen under control. Hybrid Bermuda should be cut no higher than 1 1/2″. Letting it grow tall provides perfect conditions for infection. In our area, you need to cut this type of grass at least weekly. You are asking for major health and appearance issues cutting every other week or less. Bermuda does require watering during hot (90) and dry spells. 1/2″ is sufficient per week during the 90’s. Twice per week for 35 minutes, in the absence of rainfall is recommended.
We are adding a new product to the winter and early spring treatment for Bermuda lawns. This Harrell’s product is a phosphorous and potassium-based fungicide, labelled for leaf spot control on turf. Bipolaris fungus over-winters in the thatch layer and we a looking to see if it will help next year.

10 May 2017

Article: Proper Mowing

There are 4 basis rules for proper mowing:

  1. Mow at the proper cutting height (3 ½” for Fescue, 1” for Bermuda)
  2. Mow often- never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade at any one mowing.
  3. Leave the clippings –if you follow rule #2, leaving the clippings returns nutrients and moisture back to the lawn.
  4. Always cut with a sharp blade. (a dull blade will tear the grass blades giving a ragged appearance and allowing an entry point for disease)
22 Sep 2015

Article: Grass Types In Charlotte

Tall Fescue makes up 80% of the lawns in Charlotte. 15% are Bermuda while Zoysia, Bluegrass, Ryegrass and Centipede make up the other 5%.

Tall Fescue is considered a cool season grass and performs best in the cooler temperatures of spring and fall. During the spring and fall, fescue lawns standout with rich green color and are very attractive. It has a clump type growth habit which means it has limited spreading ability. The only way to repair a damaged fescue lawn is reseed it. Re-seeding or over-seeding can only be done successfully in the fall and requires aeration and consistent watering for 21 days. As a cool season grass it tends to shut down growth and turn brown during the heat of the summer. It also tends to be a “water hog” when temperatures exceed 85 degrees on a consistent basis requiring a minimum of 1 inch of water per week to maintain acceptable color and growth. Tall Fescue is also very susceptible to brown patch fungus although some of the improve hybrids have shown some resistance to the disease. Fescue lawns do grow well in partial shade conditions. If you have Fescue you can expect a great looking lawn from late February through May and from mid September through mid November. Depending on the weather, it can look good in December and January, but expect color and growth issues June through August. Fescue lawns are the least expensive lawns to establish when starting them from seed, but are expensive if establishing with sod.

Bermuda is considered a warm season turf and performs best in the warmer weather we experience in the summer months. When the Fescue is brown in the summer, Bermuda is at its best with great color and texture. It does require irrigation in the summer, but 1/3 that of Fescue. Bermuda is considered a self-repairing, spread type growth grass. It has underground spreading roots call rhizomes and surface spreading roots called stolons. It does not require seeding for damaged areas, but its aggressive growth results in additional edging and bed weeding. Bermuda is relatively disease free. Bermuda performs poorly in the shade. The biggest drawback for Bermuda is the fact that it goes dormant and turns completely brown after the first frost and doesn’t green-up until mid April. During the dormant period, the turf requires extensive weed control as there is no competition to keep the weeds at bay. If you have Bermuda you can expect a great looking lawn May through September, but you’ll have to put up with brown turf November through April. Some folks over-seed the Bermuda with annual or perennial rye grass in October in order to have a green lawn while the Bermuda is dormant, but this practice does cause some issues with delaying Bermuda’s normal spring green-up. Bermuda has to be established by laying sod. There are common varieties of Bermuda seed available, but establishing Bermuda lawns from seed is a long, hard process with a low success rate.

As you can see, each grass type has its advantages and dis-advantages. Many lawns in Charlotte are mixed lawns with both grasses growing together. At Plant It Earth we understand these factors and will deliver the best possible results regardless of what type of grass you may have. We are always available to discuss your particular situation and give you recommendations. Call us today for a free consultation and lawn analysis.