Why are there brown spots in my Gainesville lawn?

Brown Patch or 'Large Patch' Fungus runs rampant in Gainesville grass, usually in the fall when temperatures tend to start dipping below 80°F and spring as they head back up into that mild range. Irrigation heads are putting out the water and watering times get pushed to their limit as homeowners each compete for bragging rights of the best lawn in the neighborhood. As we all learn, there’s a balance between being efficient and being effective especially when it comes to watering. As we all envy the plush green lawn.

Turfgrasses Affected
All warm-season grasses, especially St. Augustine & Zoysia.

Brown Patch Fungus usually occurs from November to May when temperatures tend to drop between 75-50°F. Infection is triggered by rainfall, excessive irrigation, or extended periods of high humidity resulting in the grass blades being continuously wet for 48 hours or more.

Signs & Symptoms...

Why do I have weeds in my Gainesville yard this winter?

Timing is critical when it comes to Gainesville lawn weed control. The mistake most homeowners make is to wait too late to treat winter weeds. If you plan to use a pre-emergent herbicide in your lawn to control weeds, you need to apply the product during October when nighttime temperatures drop to 55° to 60° for several consecutive nights. This is when their seeds need to be protected from germination. 

At Santa Fe College, where this video was taken, we did our first pre-emergent weed control application in October but these weeds popping up were tubulars leftover from the year before that had to be treated with a post-emergent weed killer.

Most winter weeds are annuals. Common winter annual weeds include annual bluegrass (Poa annua), chickweed, henbit, hop clover, lawn burweed, and wild geranium.

These and other winter annual weeds germinate from seeds during fall as the soil...

What does 'scalping' the lawn do to Gainesville turf?

Mowing your lawn properly is one of the easiest ways to fight off Gainesville lawn weeds and diseases. Cutting grass at its recommended height helps it get the sunlight and vital nutrients needed to be lush and healthy. Mowing too short ('scalping') can have some pretty serious negative effects; it can weaken and even kill your lawn. Additionally, cutting too short will limit the grass’s nutrient supply, giving weeds the opportunity to take over your Gainesville turf.

How Scalping Affects Grass

Grass is able to survive thanks to photosynthesis, which is the process of taking in sunlight and using it as energy. Cutting too much of the leaf blade limits the lawn’s ability to store this energy, restricting its nutrient supply and ultimately choking the grass. Not sure if you’re scalping your lawn? If your grass is so short that its stem is exposed, it’s too short. This stem is usually brown in color. Typically, most warm-season grasses should be at least...

How Can I Get Rid of the Fall Weeds in my Gainesville Lawn?

Now that we are officially into fall, I wanted to address crabgrass and other weeds you may be seeing in your Gainesville lawn. Having a great lawn next spring starts with how you treat your lawn this fall and winter.

The good news about fall is that summer weeds have gone away (or soon will go away with the next cold spell.) The bad news is these weeds have left their seeds in your lawn which means they will return next year unless you do something about them in the next 6-8 weeks.

That is why the Master's Lawn Fertilization & Weed Control Program includes fall and winter visits. These treatments are some of the most important visits we make all year because we apply preventatives that keep these weed seeds from turning into weeds next year.

On our fall visits we apply a pre-emergent that prevents winter weeds from coming up along with a post-emergent for any broad-leaf weeds that...

Gainesville Lawn Pest of the Month: Caterpillars

Written by Adam Dale of the University of Florida IFAS Department

Fall is upon us already, and with that comes the peak of lawn caterpillar pest season. By now, most Gainesville landscape pest control professionals know to expect increased caterpillar pressure in North Florida lawns at the end of summer and arrival of fall. This has certainly held true in 2018, and as we have seen over the past few years, the biggest caterpillar turf pests are causing problems earlier in the year. This year, caterpillar outbreaks began showing up in late June in many areas of Alachua County.

The two biggest caterpillar pests of Florida turfgrasses are the tropical sod webworm and fall armyworm. These insects damage lawns by consuming leaf material above the rhyzome and stolon of turfgrass plants. It is important to remember that these pests are only damaging as caterpillars – that is when they have...

October's To-Do List for Your Gainesville Lawn

October is always that in-between month that feels like one foot is still in summer while the other foot steps toward fall. It’s a great month to add new landscaping such as sod, trees, and shrubs and to start planning for your fall / winter annuals.

It’s finally officially fall, and there are several things you want to be aware of in this transitional season as the owner of a Gainesville landscape. 

While we’re still getting some leftover summer afternoon rains, it is typical that we experience a little dry spell between now and winter. It can be a tricky time of year irrigation-wise. If you don't have a smart controller that knows to increase the settings to account for dry weather patterns, watch your turf closely. When you see grass blades folded in half and the overall turf color turning bluish-gray, run the sprinklers and add...

Fall is the Perfect Time for Gainesville Fertilization

The shorter days and cooler nights of early September should mean that your lawn is starting to perk up and look better from the summer stress. It's an ideal time for lawns to recover from summer stress and to build a strong foundation and root system for a lush Gainesville lawn next year.

Proper Gainesville lawn fertilization is part of the lawn care regimen needed to help your lawn recover from stress this summer and prepare for winter and next spring. Fertilizing your lawn in September will help the grass fill in thin spots, grow a deep root system, and store energy (carbohydrates) to battle the low temperatures of winter and begin growing early next spring. In addition, fertilizing will provide a deep green color this fall and your lawn will green up early next spring. The Master's is currently fertilizing Gainesville lawns with an organic mixture of Sea Kelp and other soil nutrients to develop healthy roots, some nitrogen and iron to push a healthy green color, and some...

How Do I Cure my Gainesville Lawn Disease?

There are several common Gainesville lawn diseases that can affect and cause damage to your turf throughout the year. In the industry, a grass disease is seen as a condition that interferes with the normal growth and development of the grass plant, causing the plant to look and grow abnormally. 

In order for a disease in your yard to be active, 3 requirements must simultaneously be present. A susceptible host (type of grass that is susceptible to the disease), Pathogen (the actual fungi itself), and a conducive environment (favorable weather conditions for the fungi to spread). Without the presence of all 3 simultaneously, there is no disease. To visualize this lawn disease triangle, here is a diagram.


VIDEO: Why does my Gainesville Lawn have mushrooms and leaf spots?

Do you ever ask yourself, 'Why does my Gainesville lawn have spots in it?' or 'Why does my Gainesville lawn have mushrooms?'

This video from The Master's Lawn Care can help you find out. Grey leaf spot and mushrooms are both types of fungi, which come from overwatering. Sometimes, overwatering a lawn cannot be helped - because of extreme amounts of rain (like at the time of this video), however other times it comes in shaded areas of the lawn when an irrigation system is compounding with the rain to cause too much moisture in the lawn.

The grey leaf spot can be treated with a contact fungicide, such as Spectator,  but the more effective and better way would be to have a rain sensor installed on your irrigation system and cut back the watering times until the wet season has passed.

If we can help with your lawn or orrigation concerns, please don't hesitate to call our office at (352) 378-LAWN, contact us by filling out...

Gainesville Lawn Pest of the Month: Grey Leaf Spot Fungus

Gray leaf spot of St. Augustinegrass (pictured above) is a disease caused by fungal spores that are common during extended periods of hot, wet, and humid weather (which almost encompasses half the year in Gainesville, Florida lawns). Newly sodded or rapidly growing grass is more susceptible than well-established lawns. Although primarily a disease of St. Augustinegrass, it also attacks centipedegrass.

Melting-out leaf spot is a similar disease that attacks Zoysia grass (pictured below) in similar weather. As we have recently had rain for about the past week, and forecasted for rain over the past 10 days, these are the ideal scenarios for these 2 lawn diseases.

The fungus is most noticeable in the leaf blades as you can see in the photos. The infection produces gray or dirty-yellow spots with brown or purple borders. A water-soaked border will be seen during high moisture...