Friday, June 19, 2009

The Fungus Among Us!!

Conditions are perfect for the development of the lawn disease known as brown patch. The disease needs warm humid conditions like we're experiencing now. From a distance the lawn looks as if it is suffering from a lack of water, but this is not the case. More times than not homeowners will see the lawn browning out and start watering and watering and water some more. This is a bad idea!! The moisture increases the humidity and makes conditions even more favorable for the development of the disease. Usually, if the lawn is allowed to dry out and weather conditions improve, brown patch won't kill the grass. It kills the leaf blade and after a couple of weeks it will grow out of it. However, if the weather conditions persist and we don't get a cool down it can infect the crown of the grass plant and kill it. As of today, the 10 day forecast looks favorable for brown patch and it is possible that we could see significant damage from brown patch.

How do you tell if it's brown patch and not just a lack of water? If you're watering a couple of times a week and you're lawn is turning brown, it is very likely it is brown patch. Look closely at the leaf blades. If you see brown spots on the leaf blade bordered by a dark brown or purplish margin, that is brown patch.

What can you do to lessen the severity or to prevent it in the first place? First, make sure you're mowing at the highest or second to highest setting on your mower. Make sure to not over water and don't water in the late afternoon or evening. An inch and a half of water, possibly a little more in extremely dry conditions is what your lawn needs to stay green. Also, and most importantly, make sure your lawn dries out between watering's. Try to have a couple of days between watering's to let the soil dry out. An application of Fertilome's F-Stop, a fungicide, will prevent the fungus from developing and reduce the severity if the disease is already present. I would apply it now and every 2-3 weeks through the summer months.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Biking Across Kansas 2009

I finally was able to get away for a week in early June to do the 35 edition of what is know of as BAK. Every year bicyclists start at the Colorado border and spend the next week riding across the state. Our adventure started on Friday, June 5th in Coolidge Kansas. We spent the night in Syracuse and on Saturday morning we headed east. The great thing about cycling is you get to really slow down and visit small town America. We spent nights in Garden City, Jetmore, St.John, Halstead, Eureka, Humbolt, Paola, and finishing at the Missouri border just east of Louisburg Kansas. People ask me which area I liked the best, and it is hard to select just one area. I think that the Flint Hills of Kansas are hard to beat. The wild flowers are simply amazing in Kansas. From the Gallardia blooming in western Kansas to the Butterfly milkweed in eastern Kansas, there are beautiful flowers from border to border.

One of the things that impressed me the most were the 3 wheelchair athletes that rode with us across the state. They were up early every morning, rowing their way across the rolling hills, and finishing ahead of us on most days. We forget how lucky we are with what God has blessed us with, our families, our health, and a free Country where we can ride across the state whenever we wish.

Jump on your bike, or in your car and visit some part our beautiful state. You will be truly blessed with the people, plants and towns that you come across.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Is your lawn brown?

If yes, you're not alone. A lot of lawns around town are suffering from heat stress. We went from mild wet weather to warm dry weather and the fescue grasses didn't like it. There are a couple of things that caused it. The soils have been wet all Spring long, which is not good for the roots. It deprieves the grass of oxygen and puts stress on the plant. Second, when it gets hot turfgrasses and other plants can't produce enough energy to survive. To compensate for this they start robbing food that they have stored in their roots to maintain the green color. This is a stressful process for your lawn and that is why we always recommend to mow at the highest setting, water when necessary, don't mow off more than a third of the leaf blade at any one time. These practices help to ensure that your roots are as healthy as possible and have stored as much energy as possible to survive the hot summer months. A break in the weather and your lawn should recover from this. A couple of things to remember: don't over water and raise up that mower!!