Cool Spring, Summer Sun Hurt Lawns (210)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– Fungus diseases, spurred by a wet spring, and summer sun have left many lawns across the state brown and parched, a University of Tennessee turf specialist said Tuesday.

 Dr. Tom Samples of UT’s Agricultural Extension Service said brown patch is a greater problem this year because of the rainy weather this spring. Fungus diseases weaken grass causing it to wilt and die in the dog days of summer, he said.

 Cool-season grasses such as fescue and bluegrass have been hardest hit.

 “With the combination of disease and high temperatures, we are getting more reports than usual of thinning grasses in Tennessee,” Samples said.

 Homeowners with brown patch or other fungus-related diseases should not use fertilizer until fall, set their mower blades no lower than three-and-a-half inches, and wait until after Labor Day to reseed, he said.

 “Because of its geographic location, Tennessee can grow a mix of grass types,” Samples said. “We have cool season grasses growing all across the state.

“We are getting reports of high temperature stress and brown patch disease in East Tennessee, Jackson, Nashville and Martin.”

Other southern states and the southern most part of Tennessee have mostly warm-season grasses such as zoysia and Bermuda, Samples, an associate professor of ornamental horticulture and landscape design, said.

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 Contact: Dr. Tom Samples (423-974-1840)