Lawn – Testing for Brown Patch

Q: I have a zoysiagrass lawn. Can I take a soil sample to the county Extension office and have them check for brown spot fungus?

A: An Extension Service soil test only checks for nutrient levels in the soil. It would be futile to test soil for fungi or bacteria because there are thousands of different ones living in the soil. A lab could not sort out which ones are damaging and which ones are harmless. In fact, it is likely that plenty of “bad” fungi, including brown patch, live in your soil all the time. They only attack landscape plants and lawns when the plants are weakened by a poor environment, most often too much water staying near the roots. Make sure you are not over-fertilizing your zoysia and that you are only watering once per week.

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