Q: Can you suggest any alternatives to the “store-bought” fungicides for bermudagrass? They get awfully expensive when you are trying to control fungus in an acre of lawn! With the wet weather we had earlier I need a maintenance program that includes non-chemical approaches.
A: I estimate that ninety percent of lawn diseases could be averted by altering the maintenance of the lawn. Brown patch disease is associated with over-fertilizing and over-watering. Dollar spot disease is the opposite: drought and under-feeding are usually its cause. Mowing too high for a particular grass species causes thatch, which invites disease and weather injury. Trying to grow grass in the wrong spot, like bermudagrass in a damp or shady area, brings a plague of problems. Check all of the above before you decide a fungicide is needed.
Bluntly speaking, though, having too much grass to manage properly can be the basis of some folk’s lawn anguish. I have often said that the best thing to apply to a problem landscape is the gardener’s shadow. If you only visit your acre of bermudagrass for a weekly mowing, you have too much lawn. Consider installing a few shrub and tree islands to diminish the lawn area you have now.
To summarize, store-bought fungicides are indeed expensive, and in most cases unnecessary. You can avoid their use by managing a lawn correctly, making sure the grass is growing vigorously and allowing it to solve its own problems. See these lawn care calendars for more info.