Heat Related Dieback In Warm Season Turf

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Though sometimes called Take All Patch or Summer Patch, this particular dieback in your warm season turf is not disease related. This occurs in warm season turf during extremely hot periods with little or no rainfall (and little or no augmented irrigation).  In some cases the damaged areas occur in very blocky or straight lines, many times following the mowing troughs created by mowing repetitively in the same direction.

This dieback can be associated with:

  • Areas of sandy soil which dry more quickly than surrounding areas.
  • Sub-surface rocks, debris or concrete which heat up faster than the surrounding soil and consequently dry faster.
  • Inadequate or incorrect irrigation application or coverage.  (see http://www.prestigestt.com/title/B/33/PestOrProblem.aspx)
  • Repetitive mowing causing surface crust compaction leading to reduced water penetration in these areas which places the turf into stress and dieback.
  • The damage can mimic damage from spilled gasoline of fertilizer.

Recovery is fairly quick (3 – 4 weeks) IF appropriate measures are initiated to rehydrate the areas.  Also, use of a soil conditioner (such as Ecosential Moisture Manager®) greatly improves water penetration and water retainment in these areas.  Initially flood these areas with water to rehydrate, then apply a moisture manager type product.  Mowing direction should be varied weekly to avoid compaction problems of this type.  Probing for potential underlying rocks or concrete and removing them obviously will prevent repeated symptoms.  

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