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Question DetailsAsked on 4/5/2014

How to manage fungus and weeds in st Augustine grass

Have treated areas for fungus but weeds growing and afraid of over "medicating" the lawn for weeds. Need suggestions. Hand pull ugh...or use something like Scott's weed n feed or spray ortho weed b gone....very disappointed in yard!

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1 Answer


You are talking two pretty much different, but related, issues here.

Fungus, mushrooms, and the like generally (but not universally, so you need to find which type you have on the web) thrive in acidic soil - generally under trees where the topsoil is thin and biodegrading leaves increase acidity. Treatment generally calls for adding lime to the soil to lower the pH, and you can kill concentrated areas by scattering anhydrous (outhouse) lime directly on them, though can damage lawn to so be selective on where you drop it. Be cautious - dries out skin severly and cause cause eye damage and SEVERE skin cracking, so handle with gloves and eye protection. Not terribly dangerous - just handle like you would bleach, and keep pets and kids away till watered in 6-12 hours after application. You are better off pulling allthe mushrooms and toadstools and fungus you can by hand, so the spores do not spread - In my heavily treed part ofthe yard I put my hand in a rubber glove, then use a 13 gallon kitchen garbage bag on the hand, using the my hand grasping through the bag to pick them and let drop into the bag as I walk around the yard, then tie off and throw in garbage. That keeps you hand out of the mushy and potentially irritating stuff entirely. Do NOT discard in mulch or composting pile.

Weeds, except for certain persistent ones like clover, dandelion, plantain and crabgrass, are generally pretty well suppressed by healthy lawn growth, so I would say get your soil tested - at greenhouse or by kit from cooperative extension service - and get your pH right and add garden lime (ground limestone) if needed first. Then, to get lawn grass to come back (may need overseeding) you can decide if you need to use a weed and feed fertilizer or just a normal healthy growth fertilizer list 12-12-12 or 16-16-16. For recovery you do NOT want high nitrogen (first number) like a 21-4-4 - that promotes green blade growth but overstresses dormant or weak lawns,so use the balanced mix first year to help the roots get strong, then next year for lush green blades you can go with the higher nitrogen mix if you want, though it is not as good for the grass.

Generally, weed and feed fertilizer is pre-emergent so only works well in all (for net year action) or very early spring. For late spring through fall weeds, you need a post-emergent weed killer like a spray-on killer. Weed and Feed, if needed to control excessive weeds, is commonly best applied in late fall after the grass goes dormant (to be in ground in spring) as weeds pop up before the grass comes out of dormancy so there is no competition, and then mowing and lawn competition knock them down to something you can spot spray the rest of the year in most cases.

There are lots of gardening sites on the web, both manufacturers like Scotts and hobby ones that go into depth on lawn recovery methods, and most state cooperative extension services have flyers and info on lawn care for your specific area.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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