Take-all patch has become a problem for St. Augustinegrass, zoysiagrass and bermudagrass lawns.
It seems to be related to soil pH (acidity) problems as well as manganese deficiency.
I asked Alfredo Martinez, PhD, Extension Plant Pathologist to comment on an article I read about manganese research in New Jersey.
“The article is based on a 2003 Crop Science Journal (Crop Science 43: 1395-1398) scientific article. Bruce Clark (one of the authors) has worked heavily in turfgrass root diseases such as take all. Research in general has shown that manganese aids in the control of take all diseases (turfgrass and wheat), especially when soils have an alkaline pH. Alkaline pH sequesters manganese making it unavailable to plants. It has been shown that Mn deficiency increases the incidence of take-all. Soil pH is important in disease development.
“I usually tell clients to first perform a soil test and pay special attention to soil pH and Mn availability report. If pH is acidic (say 6.0 and below) and manganese availability is medium to high there will be little benefit from the application of extra manganese. On the other hand, if high soil pH is observed and overall availability of manganese is low then a MnSO4 application will advisable.
“Manganese fertilization should be viewed as part of an overall soil fertility program for take all control. Other important factors include sound fertility programs (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium), proper soil pH, the use of ammonium-based fertilizers to help acidify the soil profile, encouragement of root growth, core aeration, thatch management. There are several fungicides labeled for take all control, but they should used in combination with sound cultural practices. Preventive fungicide applications provide the best take-all control.
“As a side note, In Georgia we have performed experiments applying MnSO4 (manganese sulfate) (at 2 pounds per 1000 sq ft) on St Augustinegrass in the coastal region of the state. We have seen improvement on disease control. However other amendments were also applied.