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Identifying Take-All Root Rot

Dead Tulip Flower Brown Soil

When the weather begins to warm in spring, you naturally start planning outdoor events that allow you to take advantage of your beautiful yard.  What you don’t want is for your summer BBQs and pool parties to be waylaid by brown, patchy grass that you can’t seem to green up no matter how much you water.

Unfortunately, you might be dealing with some kind of lawn disease or a pest infestation.  More commonly, the cause of a failing lawn could be Take-All Root Rot, or TARR. What is this blight on your lush lawn and how can you identify it?  Here’s what you need to know.

What is TARR?

TARR is a fungal disease caused by the Gaeumannomyces graminis fungus.  This fungus actually resides in all soil, and it may never spread to the point that it affects the health of your lawn.  However, if pH levels in the soil get out of whack, the fungus can spread, leading to the onset of TARR and compromising the health of your lawn.

TARR often appears in spring or early summer, although it can pop up at any time during the growing season.  It affects a wide variety of grasses, including popular St. Augustine grass. When you start to see patches of yellow or brown in your lawn, you may not know what the cause is.  How can you tell if it’s TARR?

Take-All Root Rot Damage

How to Identify TARR

If patches of grass are starting to turn from dazzling emerald to brown, it’s time to get a closer look, and you’ll first want to examine the stolons.  Stolons are tiny shoots coming off the main blade of grass that stick out horizontally or bend toward the ground. When TARR sets in, the stolons and base of the plant will turn yellow, then brown, before the entire plant turns brown and dies.

If you suspect TARR, try pulling up a few plants.  A mature lawn should be firmly entrenched in the soil, which means it should be difficult to pull up the roots.  If they pull out easily, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with TARR.

Seek Professional Help

It’s not easy for the average homeowner to differentiate between various types of lawn diseases, so when you start to notice signs of TARR, you should contact your lawn care professionals immediately.  These experts can quickly identify the problem and help you come up with a treatment plan that will have your lawn looking healthier, greener, and lusher in no time.

Treatment may start with testing the pH level of your soil since imbalanced pH is often the root cause of TARR.  From there, your lawn care professionals can treat the soil and re-sod any affected areas to return your lawn to its natural state of beauty.  TARR can destroy your lawn if you let it, but with proper lawn care and maintenance from qualified professionals, you’ll eliminate risk factors and enjoy a gorgeous yard all summer long.

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