Brown bandit attacks Georgia's green grass - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Brown bandit attacks Georgia's green grass

July 24, 2006

Albany--  You know dry weather is already hurting crops, increasing fire danger and dropping water levels. Here's something else. If you take pride in your lawn, you need to watch out for ugly, dark spots on your green grass.  

It will spread fast. More cases of brown patch disease are showing up on South Georgia lawns because of drought conditions. But if you think you can just water it away, you're wrong. It'll take a trip to the store and some patience.  

Patting down pine straw is one of the many things landscaper Jim Melvin loves about his job.  He couldn't spend his days any other way.

"Oh, I love it. I'm passionate about it. You can come in and things look terrible and you make them beautiful," says Melvin. He helps to make lawns pretty but lately, something ugly has gotten in the way of his lawn beautification.

"Brown spotting grass. We're seeing a lot of it lately," says Melvin. Luckily for Melvin, he doesn't see it in his yardwork today.  But he can certainly describe it.

"It looks like a dry spot in the lawn. Looks kind of like pine straw, that same color," says Melvin. It's the dark color of brown in the midst of green.  Little brown spots will pop up all over the grass. Soon after that, they'll expand even larger.  One of the big culprits? Dry weather.

"Drought right now is playing a major factor," says Martin Edwards of Mark's Greenhouses Nursery. Lately, brown patch disease has been a problem for customers visiting Mark's Nursery in Albany.

"Quite a few actually," says Edwards. But Edwards says it can be treated.  If chinch bugs are the cause, there's insecticide.  If it's fungus, then fungicide is the cure.

"You should see some results anywhere from several days to a couple of weeks," says Edwards. More rain like today could alleviate the grass situation. "That will help but it will not stop it," says Melvin.

However, Melvin wants more homeowners to keep a close lookout for the grass bandit. "That's right. If you want a pretty lawn, you gotta watch for her," says Melvin. It'll help this landscaper continue seeing the good in green and less of the bad brown.

Melvin says Bermuda grass is the most susceptible to the disease. It also effects Centipede, St. Augustine and certain ryegrasses.   To help prevent brown patch, try to water early in the morning and keep lawns mowed on a regular basis.

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