The old saying about an ounce of prevention being worth more than a pound of cure is exactly true when it comes to lawn diseases in St Augustine Grass.
Preventing the onset of lawn diseases such as lawn fungus in Saint Augustine grass is really a very simple process which involves nothing more than following good lawn care practices which we should all be following with our lawns at all times anyway.
These lawn care routines will not only give our lawns the greatest chances of being the beautiful lawn we all desire, but will greatly help prevent lawn diseases and lawn weeds from establishing.
These lawn care practices will greatly help to reduce any onset of lawn disease.
However, for specific lawn disease prevention, these are the most important points.
Do not over-fertilize lawns, excessive nitrogen promotes lawn diseases such as Brown Patch lawn disease. Apart from this risk, excessive lawn fertilizer usage will be washed away into the environment, as well as creating excessive leaf growth in the lawn which may also cause scalping during lawn mowing.
If you have an outbreak of lawn disease in your St Augustine lawn, then completely stop all fertilization until the patches of affected turf have disappeared.
Yes, we did just cover lawn fertilizer as a cause of lawn disease, but it is also a preventer of lawn disease.
Over-fertilization will indeed create an excess of nitrogen in the soil, which will promote disease.
But a regular year round fertilization program, using a quality lawn fertilizer at manufacturers recommendations (or below) will greatly aid in creating a very healthy and strong lawn.
And a strong, healthy lawn will fight off lawn disease at the very time the disease is trying to establish itself. And at the end of the day, only a healthy lawn can fight off and win against lawn fungal attacks. Lawn fungicides are only ever a band-aid measure, and not the cure. The cure for lawn disease is in its prevention by having a strong healthy lawn.
Water lawns in the mornings. Night time watering can be a contributor of lawn fugal diseases and other lawn pest problems. This is especially true in the warmer months of the year when the water will sit on the leaf and inside the thatch layer of the turf, creating very moist and humid conditions. Conditions which are perfectly suited for the growth of fungal lawn diseases.
Regular lawn mowing will greatly aid in keeping the St Augustine lawn thatch under control, as well as reducing grass leaf length, and by doing so - will reduce the prime area of real estate which lawn diseases propagate in. Don't leave the lawn too long between cuts, keep the lawn regularly mowed and we'll not only create a lovely looking lawn, we'll also be protecting our Saint Augustine lawn from possible disease outbreaks.
Lawn soils will become compacted over time, and when they do, the soils can block oxygen getting to the roots of the lawn, as well as creating a water-logging effect, which will once again promote lawn disease while also bringing the lawn into poor health. In its weakened state, the lawn will be much less able to fight off disease naturally.
Lawn aeration can be done by a couple of different methods, and should be done anywhere between once a year, to once every 2-3 years, or longer if the lawn is not under the stress of heavy foot traffic.
Direct Sunlight and Shade On Lawns
Another promoter of lawn diseases is lack of direct sunlight to the Saint Augustine lawn, which will also invite the growth of moss.
Keep the lawn in good condition by regularly pruning surrounding trees and shrubs to ensure enough direct sunlight is reaching the lawn each day. There's no need to go overboard with pruning, but every little bit of extra sunlight will go a long way to creating a strong and healthy disease free Saint Augustine lawn.
Saint Augustine lawns do love and thrive on at least some shade in their growing environment, however this becomes a problem when the shade over the lawn is excessive and when there is too much water retention in the soil in that same area, both of these conditions combined can promote the growth and spread of lawn disease.