Weed Identification and Control

Weeds are one of the most common and frustrating lawn care problems. This website has tips and advice on preventing and controlling weeds as well as countless images to help identify the weeds causing you problems.

Lawn and Turf Aeration

Aerating the lawn is one of the most beneficial tasks for the lawn. It helps create a healthy growing environment in the soil and eliminates many lawn care problems. We have information on the different types of aeration and the benefits of each.


Thatch is the accumulation of organic matter between the grass plant and the soil. Although a small amount is acceptable and is beneficial to the lawn, too much can cause major problems.

Creating a Problem Free Lawn

Most gardeners desire a thick green carpet of grass, free of weeds, moss and other common lawn problems. This is easier to achieve than most people think.

Feeding the Lawn

All lawns require feeding at various points throughout the year to help maintain good turf vigour. We have tips and advice on what fertiliser to apply for the optimum results.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Fairy Rings in the Lawn

fairy ring
Fairy Rings which are caused by fungi start to show signs of activity during the end of spring or early summer. They are easily recognisable with distinct dark green rings and/or fruiting bodies including mushrooms, toadstools and puffballs. The rings can be full or part circle.

Although there are thousands of types of fungi that cause these rings, there are in fact only 3 types of Fairy Ring, each having different characteristics. Fairy Rings start from a central point and gradually increase in size, with the rings getting larger as time passes. In most cases they increase about 80mm - 150mm in size each year.

Fairy Rings degrade the organic matter in the lawn, it is then broken down by micro organisms and released as nitrogen. The nitrogen is then made available for plant uptake, giving the lawn its distinct dark green ring.
They can be found in all types of lawns and turf, including luxury lawns, golf greens, sports fields and neglected turf.

There are 3 types of Fairy Ring.
  • Type 1 fairy ring: This type of Fairy Ring is the most destructive and damaging as it produces a ring of dead grass. The dead area can contain fruiting bodies in the form of mushrooms, toadstools and puffballs. If a section of soil is removed from the dead area, white thread or hair like structures called mycelium will be visible in the soil. Mycelium is hydrophobic (water repellant) and it is this that produces the dry patch, causing the grass to die.
  • Type 2 fairy ring: Type 2 fairy rings are identified by their dark green rings, with or without fruiting bodies. In fact it is similar to a type 1 fairy ring without the dead ring of grass. At worst this type of ring can appear unsightly with its lush growth, accompanied with fruiting bodies.
  • Type 3 fairy ring: The most inconspicuous type of Fairy Ring, as the dark ring of grass is absent. Only the ring of fruiting bodies will be visible at different times of the year. The least damaging of the 3 types.
Control of Fairy Rings
Fairy Rings can be masked with applications of nitrogen when they appear. Nitrogen produces dark green grass growth helping the remaining lawn blend in well with the Fairy Ring. However it is important to apply excessive nitrogen, as it can lead to other lawn or turf problems.

If you are dealing with a type 1 Fairy Ring regularly soaking the infected area and treating it with a wetting agent may help. However this should be undertaken before the soil gets too dry, or it may prove very difficult to re-wet.

The final option is to remove the Fairy Ring from the lawn, golf green etc, by digging it out. Remove all of the soil from inside the ring and 500mm from the outside edge the ring, this needs doing to a depth of 300mm.

It is important not to drop any of the infected soil onto the healthy turf, so take extreme care when doing this task. Replace the soil that has been removed with fresh soil and re-seed. This method is only recommended as a last resort.

Although fungicides are available for Fairy Rings results may be mixed and in many cases unsuccessful. Many gardeners can accept types 2 & 3, it is type 1 that gives the most problems.

Soil Compaction in the Lawn

What is soil compaction

Most lawns will have or will experience the affects of soil compaction during their lifetime. All soils require a certain percentage of air in order to support a healthy lawn.

Soil compaction occurs when the majority of the air is squeezed out of the soil by excess traffic. The traffic can include garden machinery such as mowers, vehicles like cars or people using the lawn.

The more traffic the lawn receives the greater the compaction, is likely to be and the soil particles are pushed together reducing the amount of pore space available for air.

Generally speaking soils with a high content of clay are more prone to compaction than sandy soils. This is because clay has a smaller particle size than sand and the air is squeezed out more easily, especially when the soil is wet.

When soils become compacted the following happens:
  • Air space is reduced.
  • Root growth is restricted and shallow rooted weed grasses invade at the expense of the deeper rooted desirable grasses.
  • Drainage is impeded and water logging and puddling become the norm.
  • As root growth is shallow, then the lawn becomes very susceptible to drought conditions.
  • The lawn is open to attack from pests such as broad-leaved weeds and disease, as growth is likely to be thin and the grass plant will be unhealthy.
  • As the grass becomes stressed due to soil compaction, nutrient uptake is generally poorer than on healthy turf.
  • The thatch layer will build up quicker, as the micro organisms, which breakdown the thatch in the lawn, require air to survive.
All of the above symptoms and conditions, result in a weak lawn and something must be done to restore the lawn to its former health.
A good way to test if you have soil compaction is to push a garden fork or soil profiler into the lawn. If there is too much resistance, you may have compaction and steps will have to be taken to address the issue.

Controlling soil compaction

Compaction can be relieved using some form of lawn aeration. In fact regular aeration should be carried out at least once a year on most lawns. Clay soils may need additional aeration they are more at risk to compaction than light sandy soils.

There is a variety of aeration equipment and tools available to the amateur gardener to combat soil compaction. These include hand forks, hand corers and powered spikers and corers. For more information on these you can visit our lawn aeration and lawn aerators page.

Once you have successfully controlled compaction it is important to prevent it from returning by aerating the lawn on a regular basis. Aerate at least once a year, twice if you soil is prone to soil compaction.

Aeration is regularly carried out on sports turf such as football fields, golf and bowling greens. Turf professionals know the ills of soil compaction and do something about it prior to it becoming a problem. Sports turf receives a large amount of traffic and regular routine aeration is required to prevent soil compaction.

Turf professionals have a variety aerators at their disposal. These aerators include verti-drain machines which heave shatter the soil, hollow tine machines which remove cores of thatch and soil, shallow spikers, air injection aerators and more.

Each machine has its own benefits and uses in the battle against compaction. Another important factor is that turf professionals vary the depth of aeration to stop a pan forming in the soil.

Sulphate of Iron on Lawns

Sulphate of Iron is one of the most widely used products in the professional turf care industry. This is because it is very versatile, it had many uses and is also relatively cheap to purchase. This product is primarily used for controlling moss during the spring months, however it can also be used to help prevent certain lawn diseases and discourage earthworm activity, thus preventing worm casts.

It is also a great product for giving the lawn a quick green up, particularly during the winter months when the grass is looking yellow and tired.

Moss Control

moss control with sulphate of iron
For many generations sulphate of iron has been the best product for controlling moss in the lawn. It is one of the main ingredients in lawn sand. Lawn sand is made up of:
  • Sulphate of Iron - This product controls the moss in the lawn. 
  •  Sulphate of Ammonia - This is a nitrogen based fertiliser which creates rapid grass growth, thus helping the lawn recover rapidly once the moss has been killed and removed. 
  •  Sand - This is simply used as a carrier to bulk the product up. This helps with the application of the product.
Lawn sand should be applied during the spring time when grass growth is just getting started. After 2 weeks the moss should have been killed sufficiently for it to be removed from the lawn with a powered lawn rake or scarifier.

Sulphate of iron is also Incorporated into many other lawn feed products used for moss control. Most fertiliser companies have weed feed and moss control products. The vast majority of these products contain sulphate of iron.

Worm Suppression 

Worm casts can be a major nuisance during the autumn and winter months when the conditions are wet and humid. As Iron sulphate acidifies the surface of the lawn this helps discourage worm activity, as worms don't like acidic conditions.

Sulphate of Iron applied every 4 - 6 weeks at a rate of 10g/m2 during periods of worm activity, can help reduce worm numbers thus reducing the number of worm casts. Worms tend to be more problematic on heavy clay soils rather than lighter sandy soils.

Disease Prevention

Although turf diseases are not an issue on most typical garden lawns they can be a major headache on closely mown sports turf such as golf and bowling greens. For these reasons sulphate of iron is also regularly used in conjunction with turf fungicides to help prevent and control disease, especially fusarium patch disease.

Applying this product every 4 - 6 weeks at 10g/m2 will help prevent any fusarium patch disease problems.

Application Methods

Sulphate of Iron is readily available in a powder form, and although it can be applied in this form it best dissolved in hot water and applied through a sprayer or a watering can. It is also important that it has dissolved properly as it can be prone to blocking sprayer nozzles if it hasn't been mixed enough.

Take care when mixing, as Sulphate of Iron can stain clothes or concrete path ways. If any solution is splashed onto your clothing wash them separately to other garments as it may contaminate them too.

For sulphate of iron based products such as lawn sand and weed, feed and moss control products always follow the instructions on the packaging.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

How high should I mow my lawn

One of the most common mowing questions is 'how high should I cut my lawn'. In fact there is no one answer to this question as it can depend on may factors:

Quality of the lawn - If you are maintaining a luxury lawn you will want to mow it shorter than someone who is maintaining a general purpose lawn. A luxury lawn would contain a high proportion of bents and fescues, these grasses are very fine, produce a tight sward and tolerate close mowing. It should also be noted if you are going to mow you lawn short, it will require a lot more maintainance and work to keep it in tip top condition.

Weather conditions - As the weather can be very unpredictable, you have to adjust your height of cut accordingly. E.g During periods of drought the lawn will come under a lot more stress and the height of cut may have to be raised to help the lawn cope.

Wear and tear on the lawn - A lawn that receives a vast amount of wear and tear would suffer if it was mown very short, so the height would have to adjusted accordingly to help the lawn retain grass cover.

Soil type - Although the soil type would not have direct affect on the mowing height, soils of a sandy nature would suffer more in dry conditions. Lifting the height of the mower would help relieve some of stress on the grass caused by the adverse weather conditions.

Time of the year - Grass can be mown somewhat shorter during the summer moths where growth is stronger than in the winter months where growth is lacking.

Guide for lawn and grass cutting heights

Luxury lawns - During the summer months acceptable heights would vary from 10mm to 15mm raising it in the winter to 20mm.
Utility lawns - During the summer a height between 20mm - 25mm would be ideal, then during winter raise it to 30mm.

Choosing the right mower for your lawn

As a lawn mower is the most widely used piece of equipment on the lawn it is very important that you choose the right type of mower to begin with. A good lawn mower that is correctly set up and maintained is essential to the health and appearance of the lawn.
The problem is nowadays there are many types of lawn mower to choose from it can become a bit confusing for the gardener to tell which is best type for their lawn. Lawn mowers can be walk behind or ride on, cylinder or rotary and powered by petrol, diesel or electric.

Types of lawn mower

There are two main types of lawn mower, these are cylinder and rotary mowers, each has advantages and disadvantages for different types and sizes of lawn.
  • Cylinder lawn mower

    This type of lawn mower is the best option if you want a first rate luxury lawn as the quality of cut is so much better than that of a rotary lawn mower. They are available as both walk behind and ride on, however for most situations a pedestrian walk behind mower will be the preferred choice as ride on cylinder mowers can be very expensive.
    A cylinder mower has series of blades mounted onto a central spindle, these blades can number anywhere between 4 to 12, (more blades produces a better quality cut). It also consists of another fixed bottom blade running parallel to the surface of the lawn and the central spindle. As the spindle rotates, it traps the grass against the fixed bottom blade and it is cut with a scissor type action. This type of cutting action leaves a very professional finish on the lawn especially at low cutting heights. However with these mowers you have to mow the lawn on a regular basis as cylinder mowers do not cope well with overgrown lawns.
    A cylinder mower will generally have two rollers fitted, a large roller on the rear and a smaller roller at the front of the mower. The rear roller drives the mower and in certain cases drives the cutting cylinder. The front roller is where the height of cut is adjusted as it supports the mower. N. b. On some cylinder mowers the H.O.C is adjusted on the rear roller. It is the rollers on a lawn mower that produce the light green / dark green stripes on a lawn.
    Almost all cylinder mowers come with a grass box to remove the grass clippings. If you desire a high quality lawn it is very important that clippings are removed from the lawn. If clippings are left on the surface of the lawn they can increase the rate of thatch build up.
    A cylinder mower is more costly to purchase and maintain than a rotary mower.
  • Rotary lawn mower

    A rotary lawn mower is the most common type of mower due to its ease of maintenance, cheaper purchase price and suitability to a wide range of lawns. If you want a general purpose utility lawn, a rotary mower would be the obvious choice.
    A rotary lawn mower cuts the grass using a single / multiple blades, these blades are mounted parallel to the lawn and rotate quickly cutting the grass with a slicing action. It is important that the blade / blades are kept sharp to prevent damage to both the lawn and the mower.
    A rotary lawn mower will not give as good a quality finish as a top end cylinder mower. However in recent years improvements have been made on rotary mowers and they can give a very acceptable finish for most gardeners and lawn care enthusiasts.
    This type of mower is ideal if you have a habit of letting the lawn get a little overgrown as they perform quite well in these situations, where lawn is a little longer.

    Some rotary mowers come with grass boxes to remove the grass clippings, and some have a rear roller fitted to give a nice striped appearance.

    Flymo hover mowers - Another type of very popular rotary mower is the Flymo. The cutting action is the same as other rotary mowers, the difference being is that there are no wheels as it rides on a cushion of air. When the engine is running, an 'impeller' produces a powerful jet of air causing the mower to float on the surface of the lawn. These mowers are very manoeuvrable and ideal for tight spaces, steep banks and uneven lawns.

How are lawn mowers powered

A lawn mower can be powered or driven by a different methods, these being petrol, diesel, electric, battery and hand, each has is own advantages and disadvantages.
  • Hand powered mowers

    This type of lawn mower will always be a cylinder mower, it is simply pushed across the lawn under pedestrian power. Although they can be hard work, they are quiet in use, useful on small lawns with tight areas and of course have no running costs to speak of.
  • Electric powered mowers

    Available in both rotary and cylinder mowers these mowers are generally cheaper than petrol and diesel powered mowers. The electric power source powers the cutting blade, this means the mower still has to be manually pushed across the lawn. The big disadvantage with this type of lawn mowers is the cable, which has to be kept out of the way and will only stretch so far. A good choice for small lawns where manoeuvrability is not a problem.
  • Petrol & diesel powered mowers

    Many pedestrian cylinder and rotary mowers run on petrol, although more costly than the others, this is the most preferred and easiest method of powering a mower. This method is suitable for most types of lawn. Larger ride on mowers can be both petrol or diesel powered, these ride on mowers will generally be rotary mowers and are ideal for large areas. Ride on cylinder mowers are available but are very expensive and are predominantly used in the professional turf care industry.

Which type of lawn mower is best for my lawn

Using the information above and the chart below will enable you to make the correct choice of lawn mower.

Push Cylinder Electric Cylinder Petrol Cylinder Electric Rotary Petrol Rotary Ride-on Mower
Small lawn
Large lawn
Luxury lawn
Utility lawn
Bumpy lawn

Monday, 17 September 2012

Tips for overseeding a lawn

Over seeding new grass seed into an existing lawn is always going to prove very difficult task. This is because the new seedlings will have to compete with the established grasses and they will need all the help they can get to ensure they not only germinate, but establish successfully too.

However there are a few factors to take into consideration, and these can ultimately determine how successful your overseeding regime will be.
  • Soil Compaction - Any soil or rootzone that suffers from extreme compaction will have a detrimental effect on any over seeding program. A compacted soil is a very poor environment for new seedlings to establish. Even established grasses struggle to grow on a compacted soil so what chance are new seedlings going to have? virtually none! A compacted soil will be devoid of oxygen, this will in turn lead to poor drainage, poor drought resistance, excessive thatch build, all to the detriment of your over seeding program. 
  • An Excessive Thatch Layer - Thatch is the accumulation of organic matter that builds up between the grass sward and the soil. Although a little thatch is beneficial to the lawn, too much will see your over seeding program suffer. The ideal sowing depth for grass seed is usually just below the thatch layer with the seed just coming into contact with the soil. This is difficult to achieve if your lawn has an excessive layer thatch. If the grass seed is sown with in the thatch layer, it may well germinate but it will have a difficult time establishing successfully.
  • The Temperature of the Soil - One of the most important factors that will have a major influence on the success of your over seeding program is the soil temperature. This is one of the key reasons many people prefer the late summer over the spring for over seeding. This is because the soil is warmer in late summer which will aid grass seed germination and establishment. That said, there is no problem with over seeding during the spring, however the results maybe inconsistent and in some cases disappointing. In recent years we have experienced cold springs with overnight frosts, which havent been great for over seeding, often yielding very poor results.
  • Irrigation and watering - The amount of water the lawn receives following overseeding will also play a part in the germination of the seed. All new seed requires water to establish successfully. However getting the balance right is important, apply just enough to maintain adequate soil moisture.
  • Mechanical operations prior to over seeding - Carrying out key lawn maintenance tasks such as aeration or scarification and raking prior to overseeding will be very beneficial in helping the seed to germinate and establish successfully. These operations help open up the surface of the lawn creating a seed bed where the seed comes into contact with the rootzone.  This will help promote both good germination and establishment of the seed.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Anthracnose lawn disease

anthracnose lawn and turf disease
Anthracnose is caused by the fungus Colletotrichum graminicola. It can attack most species of grass on the lawn butannual meadow grass (Poa annua) is very susceptible (hence the previous name of this disease was 'Basal rot of Poa annua'). Antracnose is a stress disease attacking grasses that are under stress due to environmental factors.

Identification of anthracnose

Anthracnose usually appears on the lawn during the late summer and can persist well into winter, even into the following spring. Be vigilant and look for annual meadow grass plants that are starting to turn yellow, with the youngest leaf turning an orange to red colour on infected plants. As the severity of this disease increases the patches can grow to 150mm in diameter and the base of the infected area turns black.

Causes of anthracnose

As we previously mentioned anthracnose is a stress disease so pay attention to keeping the lawn in a healthy condition with good lawn care practices.
  • Ensure the lawn receives adequate nutrition, (however it is important not to over apply nitrogen during the late summer and autumn as it may lead to problems with fusarium patch disease).
  • Soil compaction can also influence anthracnose.
  • Prolonged leaf wetness will encourage anthracnose to spread.
  • Hot and dry conditions leading to drought stress, will encourage anthracnose.

How to prevent and cure anthracnose

To put it simply pay attention to remedying the causes of anthracnose
  • Ensure the lawn receives adequate nutrition to keep the grass in healthy condition.
  • Relive compaction with aeration, in the form of slitting, spiking or even hollowtining.
  • As anthracnose predominantly attacks annual meadow grass reduce the amount of this grass in the lawn by encouraging disease resistant grasses with good lawn care management practices.
  • Raising the height of cut on the mower will also help reduce the stress levels of the grass and help combat the spread of anthracnose.
  • Reduce the time that the leaf surface remains wet by removing early morning dews.

Moles in the lawn

moles in the lawn
There are few lawn and turf problems that cause as much damage to the lawn, and frustration to the gardener as moles. These creatures can cause widespread damage to all types of lawn. Moles create runs (tunnels) in the soil beneath the surface of the lawn, as the runs are built the excess soil is pushed onto the surface of the lawn. These tunnels can often cover a large area and affect the whole lawn.

Moles are carnivorous creatures, their diet includes insects, grubs with their main food source being earthworms. Moles are solitary creatures and can measure up to 20cm in length with soft velvety coloured fur that is grey to black in colour. Moles have very powerful front limbs that act as shovels as the burrow underground, they have a very keen sense of smell, they have good hearing but their eyesight is very poor.

Prevent & control moles

Preventing moles is easier said than done. To discourage these creatures you will need to remove the food source, unfortunately removing the worms and other invertebrates can prove nigh impossible and isn't really necessary on a garden lawn.

May people have tried to discourage moles with a variety of techniques. These include placing moth balls or tipping cooking oil, or disinfectant into the runs. There are other methods but unless the moles are completely removed they will most likely return.

Trapping moles (there are many types of trap available) can prove very successful, however many people are unhappy about harming these creatures. However trapping moles is a skilled job and quite often a professional has to be employed for this method to be successful.

The other method is to place phosphine gas tablets in the mole runs. These tablets are only available to lawn care specialists with the relevant application licence. Even if these gas tablets are used there are strict legal guidelines that have to be followed.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Worms and worm cast problems on lawns

worm casts
Worms are in many cases the gardeners friend as they provide a valuable contribution to the health of the lawn. Worms keep the soil aerated and breakdown the organic matter helping control the thatch layer. In fact a large population of worms points to a healthy soil.

However, despite these benefits worms are often seen as a problem on lawns and other areas of turf as they produce casts. This is especially true if the root zone or soil has a high clay content.  It this is the case then problems caused by worm casting may actually outweigh the benefits.

On a clay soil the worm casts tend to smear on the surface and can actually muddy conditions On lawns with a lighter root zone worm casting will be less of a problem as the worm casts are more easily dispersed.

There are many different species of worms, of which only 3 species actually produce casts.

Worms are a major problem on lawns during mild spells in the autumn and winter months when the soil becomes wetter thus encouraging worm activity close to the surface of the lawn. During colder, frosty weather the worms head deeper into the soil and are less problematic.

Problems caused by worms and wormcasting include:
  • Wormcasts create muddy conditions.
  • Encourages moles (worms are the food source of moles).
  • Weed and weed grass invasion ( wormcasts create an ideal seedbed for weeds).
  • If casting is very severe the levels of the lawn may be affected.

What causes worms in lawns

As with most problems in lawn care, worms favour particular conditions to be present within the soil. These soil conditions include:
  • Wet soil and mild temperatures - Worm are predominantly a nuisance on lawns during wet mild spells of weather during the autumn and winter months. These conditions bring worm activity closer to the surface of the lawn where casts are deposited.
  • Soil type - Although worms may be present in all types of soil conditions, they are more of a problem in soils with a high clay and high thatch (organic matter) content.
  • The correct soil pH. Worms prefer soils with a high pH.
  • High organic matter content. A soil with a high percentage of organic matter (thatch) will have a greater population of worms as this is there food source.

Preventing worms and wormcasts on the lawn

Without the use of chemicals (used by turf care professionals) to prevent worm and wormcasts problems on lawns, most amateur lawn enthusiasts are limited to cultural control methods. However it is important to understand that even with a good cultural worm control program you may still be met with limited success.
These cultural methods include:
  • Reducing the organic matter content - As worms feed on organic matter it makes sense to reduce their food supply. operations such as scarifying and hollowtining will help reduce the organic matter (thatch) content. Boxing off clippings when mowing the lawn will prevent organic matter build up. Remove any leaves from the surface of the lawn during periods of leaf fall in the autumn months.
  • Reduce the pH of the soil - Worms favour a soil with a high pH therefore only apply materials (fertiliser, top dressings etc) with a low pH. Over a period of time this will gradually reduce the pH and hopefully reduce the worm population in the lawn.

Chemical control of worms in the lawn

As mentioned earlier, even with good cultural practices to remove worms success can be limited and you may be left disappointed with the results. In the sports turf industry chemicals are used to control worms. However products such a chlordane which were used many years ago with great success are no longer available.

The only chemical currently available for worm control is a product called carbendazim which is widely used in the turf care industry. Carbendazim is actually a fungicide used to control fusarium and other lawn and turf diseases, however carbendazim also has worm suppressant properties. N. B. carbendazim (unlike previously banned chemicals) does not kill the worms, it acts more of an irritant and the worms simply go deeper into the soil.

Although this product is not available for amateur gardeners, professional lawn care companies of which there are many, can apply this chemical. Therefore if you feel that your worm problem warrants chemical treatment you may want to enlist the services of one of these lawn care specialist. However like many chemicals used in lawn care, they should only be used as a last resort.

Should I control worms

In most cases worms are best being left alone as they are good for the soil. The majority of casting will take place during the winter months when there will be little activity on the lawn anyway. If there are is any worm casting they can be brushed off the lawn with a besom (a brush that looks like a witches broom) or similar tool or implement during drier periods in the winter.

However, other gardeners may spend a lot of time and take great pride in their lawn and due to soil conditions worms may be causing the lawn to deteriorate somewhat. In this case someone may feel that worm control is justified.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Take-all Patch Disease

take-all patch on a lawn
Fortunately for gardeners Take all patch is not a very common lawn disease, as it can bequite devastating. The disease is very common on new sand based golf green constructions, where the root zone is still relatively sterile and has not had time to build up a population of micro organisms.

The disease is usually most active between June and December and primarily attacks bent grass. Until recently there have been no effective chemical treatments for this disease.

Take-all patch is often triggered by a sudden rise in the soil pH, especially following an application of lime. In professional turf care it has long been one of the most destructive diseases on golf and bowling greens, and until recently there has been no chemical control cure.

Identification of take-all patch

Take-all patch initially shows signs of activity during mid summer in June or July (however in some cases it can be earlier in the season). The disease appears as saucer shaped depressions of dead or dying bent grass. As the disease progresses these patches will join together, as they form large irregular patches on the lawn.

Causes of take-all patch
  • Bent grass is particularly susceptible to Take all patch disease.
  • New sand based constructions are particularly susceptible especially if the root zone was sterilised.
  • Excessive thatch or organic matter build up will encourage take-all patch disease.
  • Poor surface drainage will encourage the disease, as take-all patch spreads in the moisture.
  • The use of alkaline materials such as fertiliser, top dressing and lime on the lawn.
Prevention and control of take-all patch

As turf fungicide use is restricted to professionals and contractors with the relevant qualifications, cultural prevention and damage limitation of take-all patch disease are the only options for amateur gardeners.
  • Avoid applying materials and top dressings that contain a high content of lime (high pH).
  • Applications of materials that acidify the surface such as iron sulphate, lawn sand and sulphate of ammonia etc may help minimise the damage caused by this disease.
  • Control the build up of thatch with regular scarifying and aeration.
  • Encourage a dry lawn surface dry by improving the drainage with aeration such as spiking.
  • If the lawn becomes infected, overseed the infected areas with grass species such as fescue, that are resistant to take-all patch disease.
  • Maintaining good turf health and vigour with a balanced fertiliser program will help prevent lawn disease.
Chemical control of Take all Patch disease

Until recently there was no fungicides available for the control of this disease. Presently there are fungicides on the market that will control Take all patch. However use is restricted to turf professionals such as golf greenkeepers and lawn care specialists with the relevant pesticide application qualifications.