EXTENSION CONNECTION: High rainfall, ice storm bring take-all root rot

Published: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 11:00 PM.

Still, irrigating daily for a few minutes is not beneficial for turfgrass — it does not provide enough water to the root zone — but it does benefit turfgrass pathogens. So you should irrigate when dew is present, usually between 2 and 8 a.m., and only apply enough water to saturate the turfgrass' root zone.

Beneficial nutrients

Excessively high nitrogen fertility contributes to turfgrass diseases, so you should apply the minimum amount required for the grass species.

Potassium (K), key in disease prevention, prevents plant stress. Applying equal amounts of nitrogen and potassium is recommended for turfgrass health.

When disease damages turfgrass roots, it is beneficial to apply nutrients in a liquid solution. However, nitrate-nitrogen increases diseases' severity, so avoid its use when possible. Ammonium-containing fertilizers are preferred nitrogen sources.

Heavy liming has also been linked to take-all root rot increase. Since most turfgrasses can tolerate a range of pH, maintaining soil at 5.5 to 6.0 can suppress the pathogen's development. When the disease is active, frequent foliar applications of small amounts of nutrients is necessary to keep the turfgrass from declining.

Additional maintenance practices are thatch removal and reduction of soil compaction.

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