Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tips for Dead and Frazzled Lawn Grass

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tips for Dead and Frazzled Lawn Grass

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Bruton

The tips of my grass look dead and frazzled. What would cause this?

Most of the time, dead or frazzled grass indicates you need to sharpen your lawn mower blade, especially if the problem is only on the tips of the leaves. A dull blade will shred the ends of the leaves and cause them to die back a little. Properly maintaining your lawn mower is an integral part of home lawn maintenance, as frayed or chewed-off grass blades are an invitation for disease invasion of turf.

Another cause of frazzled grass tips is from using a string trimmer for cutting grass.

My amaryllis plants look terrible this year. They have dark areas on the stems and leaves that look like they're being attacked by a fungus. Some stems have fallen over. What is happening?

It sounds to me that you have a fungus disease called "red blotch (Stagonospora curtissi). You had mentioned that your plants are in a shaded area and are watered by sprinklers. Amaryllis are drought-tolerant, so irrigation is not typically necessary.

The conditions you have are ideal for the growth of red blotch disease. Red spots appear on the flower stalks and leaves and enlarge, elongate and become sunken. Infected leaves and flower stems are characteristically deformed or bent at the point of attack. The flower stalks of heavily infested plants may break over at an infected area or wither and dry up before the flowers are produced. The disease is often difficult to diagnose because small red or pink patches may appear on the outside of healthy bulbs. These marks should, however, be superficial with the fleshy layers beneath white and free of markings of any kind.

This disease is difficult to control; disease-infected bulbs, plants or seedlings should be destroyed. Prevent disease by using sterilized potting soil when propagating and providing plants with the right growing conditions. Fungicides (like thiophanate methyl) can be applied, but they are expensive and hard to find. I checked the Internet and most sites have the fungicide for sale at about $60 per quart. A hot water treatment is sometimes suggested. Dig up the bulbs, remove excess soil and soak them for 30 minutes in water kept at a constant temperature of 104-114 degrees F (40-46 degrees Celsius).

Careful inspection when purchasing bulbs accompanied by proper watering and good sanitation practices will prevent the development of this disease.

How do I control broadleaf weeds such as dandelion and clover in my lawn?

The first step in controlling broadleaf weeds in lawns is to have a healthy, thriving lawn. A healthy lawn is in a much better position to compete with the weeds than a weak, neglected lawn. Cultural practices such as proper mowing, watering and fertilizing are vital steps in developing and maintaining a thriving lawn. …

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