Just had our lawn sodded with new St Augustine. Should we have a lawn care company treat with a fungicide immediately or do we need to wait x-amount of time before having a fungicide treatment?
I would wait a good 20 years before treating any lawn with fungicide. I just don't think it's right to apply something when there is no need to do it. When it comes to fungicide, in particular, the majority of the beneficial microbes living in the soil are fungi. When you apply fungicide willy nilly, you are killing off many of those microbes and killing the life in the soil. I believe regular use of fungicide is the fastest way to create dead soil.
More to your point, if you think you have a disease in your new grass, and that is not unheard of, St Augustine responds very positively to a treatment of ordinary corn meal. I have used it successfully for most of the past 20 years. Here is a picture of a typical disease in St Augustine.
If your new grass has the tan lesions with the dark brown rings, apply corn meal at a rate of 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet to the entire lawn. Corn meal works by attracting a parasitic fungus to the soil which feeds on the disease fungi. The process is biological and takes about 3 full weeks before you see the improvement, but you should see it completely wipe out the disease. If you have applied a chemical fungicide first, then the corn meal will not work. Why? Because it requires the parasitic fungus to be in good health. Fungicides kill the beneficials. Corn meal is also a mild organic fertilizer, so you should also see improvements in the color, density, and growth in 3 weeks.
If you write back, please tell us where you live and what your experience is with lawns and St Augustine. I have a lot more to say to help you with this, but I would need more information.
It sounds like you are wanting to treat the lawn with fungicide as a PREVENTATIVE. If there's no active fungus, there's no need to apply fungicide. It would be a waste. Wait until you need it.
Can we point to a scientific, clinical study the proves cornmeal works as an effective fungicide?
Sadly there are no peer reviewed, randomized, double blind, placebo controlled university studies on corn meal. It seems the good doctors at the ag schools around the country have already made up their minds on the topic. They refuse to spend less than $10 to do the research. However, as I mentioned, it has worked every time for me since 2002. When you ask my peers on the Internet forums since then, the people trying corn meal on St Augustine lawns report excellent results eradicating disease. With other grasses, the peers report no antifungal effect other than the organic fertilizer effect.
The trouble is that peers conducting their own casual tests does not prove that something works in spite of results appearing promising to some. Chance plays a part, as does inadvertent misinterpretation and possible errors. If something actually is promising, someone high up in the scientific hierarchy will eventually check it out and it will be looked at. On the flip side, there are all kinds of remedies that people swear by that have no discernible effect. Even remedies for which millions of dollars have been invested in research and development have shortcomings. That something off the kitchen shelf would happen to be equally as good is an extremely remote chance. Not saying it's impossible. Just not proven.
Sure, I understand. The research from Iowa State on corn gluten meal as an organic preemergent is one of the most scandalous money grabs I've seen. Sure, it's peer reviewed and all that other happy horsecrap. That study is as legit as can be. It's just that the results were blown way out of proportion. Does it work as a preemergent? Well, compared to nothing, maybe. They were able to achieve UP TO 80% success under very specific circumstances using twice as much as they recommend using. Even if you could replicate their findings, is 80% good enough? I don't think so.
With ordinary corn meal against St Augustine diseases, I have had 100% success 17 years in a row. That is all I'm saying. I'm not trying to claim my results would stand up at a university, but in my world, it works. That is what these forums are for - sharing what seems to work. If were sharing only university verified processes and materials, the forum would not look anything like this.
What about plowing? Are there any double blind, placebo controlled, peer reviewed, randomized studies demonstrating that plowing is better than no-till farming? Or does plowing just appear promising?
Here's one more grass related. Core aeration. Golf courses get a hydrophobic fungus on their greens, apparently because they water lightly every day. After the entire green gets the fungus, light watering does not penetrate. It sits in droplets on top of the grass. Core aeration opens up holes for water to penetrate, but a golf course cannot have plugs of soil on their greens. They tried tine aeration. That is largely ineffective. They tried fungicides, and that seems to work, so they tested many different ones. These university studies were all funded by Big Fungicide. Then the Cascade Plus company came in promoting their surfactant as an alternative to fungicide. They paid for the university studies. They were promising, so the fungicide testing began to include Cascade Plus among the candidates. As it turned out, Cascade Plus was equally effective at allowing the water to penetrate the turf as the fungicides.
The problem with corn meal is that there is no Big Corn Meal to fund university testing. Even if there was, what is the market for the final product? It seems to work as a disease prevention/killer in the Gulf States on St Augustine. That's not much of a market.
Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268