Sick grass

I am trying to diagnose a possible SAD infection of my new Palmetto St. Augustine grass. Even though Palmetto is advertised as a superior St. Augustine, it appears to easily catch diseases.

These are images of “sick” parts of my grass. I am not sure if I have SAD or downy mildew or something else. While some pieces of grass show SAD-like symptoms, most show strong symptoms of downy mildew or fungus.

You can barely make it out, but this blade has parallel stripes running down its length.

Another blade with stripes and burn marks.

Stripes and burn marks readily apparent.

The lighter-colored areas are where the grass is discolored. The grass on the left half is the “new” grass from Sept. 2006. The grass on the right is old grass. The grass in the foreground is some native (?) bermuda that grew over a spot where I filled in some dirt.

More representative grass sections.

Here’s a piece showing SAD-like symptoms and burn marks.

Another view with other striped grass blades shown more prominently.

4 thoughts on “Sick grass”

  1. Hey, I was doing a bit of research on Palmetto St. Augustine and stumbled upon your site (linked of Wikipedia). Then realized you’re right down the street from me! I’m at SMU Law. So, before I buy Palmetto, how’d this turn out…?


  2. Terrible. I still have fungus problems, although that may not be related to SAD. I am trying to treat with soil acidifier and peat moss.

    However, it’s difficult to find a 5′ x 5′ part of the yard not showing SAD symptoms. The back yard grass (Palmetto) is just nowhere near as vibrant as my front yard grass.

    If you’re at SMU, look me up in the phone directory and I can tell you more.

  3. Howdy! I just happened upon your blog while searching for problems/diseases that effect Palmetto. How is your Palmetto doing now? I planted a stand of it last year and it did just fine…had one area directly under an oak that died off (I’m sure from lack of sunlight), but other than that area it has all done great. However, I planted some this year and it is doing horribly! It took right off after planting and really exceeded my expectations. After about 6 weeks, I fertilized the yard with some Bonus S at about half the recommended rate. Now, 2 weeks later, the “new” grass looks just like your pictures. I am planning to treat it with an anti-fungal and lay off the watering a bit with hopes that it will come back. What have you done? Have you had any luck?

  4. You know what’s strange? The grass is doing just fine despite the apparent virus symptoms. I wonder if Palmetto may show symptoms but can still withstand the virus?

    As for antifungal, I am of the opinion that fungus is a symptom of an improper soil environment. You may need to acidify or reduce nitrogen levels. I tried spraying a lot of (costly) fungicide across my grass and never really solved any problems. However, applying a thin layer of peat moss (acid) seems to have helped.

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