Managing Spring Dead Spots
Come spring, your Bermuda (Meyer or El Toro Zoysia) lawn has noticeable dead spots.
So, now what? Spring dead spot appears as Bermuda lawns come out of dormancy (and less often in Zoysia). Affected spots will show up year after year and can grow in size. The fungus (Ophiosphaerella) that causes spring dead spots rots the roots, rhizomes, and stolons of the plant during the fall and winter, which causes the plants to weaken. Weak plants struggle through cold winters and can easily end up with winter injury killing the plant. If your lawn has weak plants in non ideal living conditions, then spring dead spot will be more likely to occur.
To encourage the affected areas to fill in, we suggest core aeration! Heavy aeration will shorten fill in time, relieve soil compaction and improve drainage. Once soil temperatures are consistently above 70 degrees, the surrounding grass will start creeping toward the center of the dead spots to begin the fill-in process. Depending on the size of the spot, it will fill in quickly or it might take most of the summer. Very large spring dead spots would benefit from planting plugs throughout.
How do I avoid spring dead spot in my lawn? Good lawn practices! The right amount of fertilizer and water, correcting drainage problems, eliminating thick thatch, aerating to relieve soil compaction, and applying organic soil enhancement can all help battle spring dead spot. Fall and spring disease controls help thwart the disease and potentially eliminate it over the years. Your local Weed Man knows the right amount of nitrogen to apply and when. For helpful watering instructions, click HERE. Make sure your mower is set at the right height to help combat thatch, too - read more HERE. And, how do you relieve soil compaction, improve drainage, and start eliminating (or preventing) too much thatch? Aeration!
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