Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Red Thread Disease in Lawns

We are now at the point in the season where Red Thread Disease will be present in your lawn. The disease starts appearing in the Spring when the weather is getting warm and it is humid.

Red Thread will grow out of the lawn over time and no treatment is needed. The turf types that are most affected are Fine Fescue and Bluegrass. The disease may affect Ryegrass when present with Fine Fescue and Bluegrass.

Long-term, more Tall Fescue should be planted in the turf to help make the turf more disease resistant.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Moss In Lawns

In general Moss is associated with conditions which do not favor the growth of grass. I get asked all the time about eliminating Moss and there is no simple solution.

Some of the conditions associated with Moss , are as follows;

Excessive Shade: In general Moss is more tolerant of shade compared to other types of plants. In heavy shade you will need to remove trees and branches to allow sunlight to get in.

Soil Compaction: This is important because this condition does not allow the grass roots to penetrate the soil. In many cases Aeration will help.

Low pH: Acidic soil is another factor.

Low Soil Fertility: Low pH and compacted soil will generally have low fertility levels.

Poor Drainage: Moss will also grow in well drained soil, but the poor drainage will inhibit the growth of grass that will create bare/ thin spots.

Improper Watering of the Lawn- Proper watering of the lawn is a must for turf development.

Improper Mowing of the lawn- This will thin out the lawn allowing the moss to compete.

Leaves Laying on the Ground- Leaves will smother the lawn if they are left there for too long. Especially in the Fall, leaves should be picked up regularly rather then waiting for one leaf cleanup after all of the leaves fall. Leaves sitting on the ground will also kill soil organisms which is another factor for Moss growth.

Too Much Weed Control- In general weed controls should be used less in the shady areas as the weed controls are highly acid, which will acidify the soil quicker. Most companies will blanket the entire turf with weed control over and over again, with my service we only treat the weeds that are present by spot treating.

As you can see there are many factors that have created the condition for Moss growth that has taken years to develop. It is safe to say that it will take years to correct the condition, but only if steps are taken to change the condition.

Control Products- Materials that may be applied are limited to materials that will correct the pH and easing soil compaction. There are products that are sold with the promise of controlling Moss, even some smart people and some Universities will recommend these products. There are mainly two products; one is a weed control product that will turn the Moss brown temporarily, and the other is a form of Iron that will also turn the Moss brown temporarily. The problem is that in both cases the Moss never dies and will come back again, and the side effect is that both methods will add highly acid substances to the soil which adds to the poor condition in the first place.

Anthony Galluccio
AAG Lawnman

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


In recent years an invasive species called Stiltgrass has been slowly invading the lawns in our area. Stiltgrass germinates and spreads easily by their seedheads and stem nodes, which means that when the stems are cut and there is soil contact a new plant will grow. This makes it challenging to control. Stiltgrass is a problem in the Summer when temperatures are hot. Similar to when Crabgrass is present.

In our area the problem started in wooded areas and it has now made its way into the turf. Mowing can spread the seeds and cut stems as well as wildlife such as Deer, rabbits and birds can easily spread Stiltgrass to make its way into the turf.

It is important that if you have Stiltgrass in your lawn or if your lawn is near a wooded area, good management practices need to be followed for better control. For turf areas the products that are available is not 100% effective in controlling Stiltgrass but rather suppresses it. Because of this it is important to take control measures before it gets into the turf.

The main thing that can be done is to treat the garden beds and areas along woods with vegetation killer regularly while the Stiltgrass plants are small. You can try applying pre-emergent in these areas but they have been found to ineffective. I would also recommend mowing the main lawn area around the house first, then work your way out toward the outer perimeter areas where Stiltgrass usually gets started. Also clean off the mower deck after mowing.

AAG Lawnman treats Stiltgrass as part of my Standard Lawn Treatment Program which will keep Stiltgrass at a manageable level and allows the turf to recover better when the cool season arrives.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Problem Grass Types In Turf

There are grass types in many lawns that are undesirable that will make the lawn look bad at times. there are mainly two types: Fine Fescue and Bentgrass.

Fine Fescue

There are several types of Fine Fescue: Red Fescue, Hard Fescue, Chewings Fescue ans Sheeps Fescue just to name a few. While these grass varieties may be beneficial in some places such as parks, roadways and possibly in some shady areas, they are problematic at times in a home lawn.


  • Susceptible to Diseases
  • Patchy Growth
  • Nutritional Problems
  • Sensitive to Weed Controls
  • Heat Sensitive
If you have a high percentage of Fine Fescue in your lawn, there are a few things that can help. If you do your own seeding, the most important thing is to not add any more Fine Fescue seed to the lawn. Unfortunately most seed that is sold in stores has Fine Fescue in the bag along with weed seeds. Mostly Tall Fescue and a small amount of Ryegrass should be applied to the turf and seeding needs to be done every season in the Late Summer generally Early September.This will populate the turf with the good grass varieties that are needed and will help to crowd out the Fine Fescue.


Bentgrass is a cool season grass that forms patches in the turf and has a high probability of browning in the Summer because it does not take the heat or drought well. There are many ways that Bentgrass makes its way in to the lawn and it is not possible to eliminate it, but it can be managed.

Even though Bentgrass may turn brown, it will recover either later in the Fall of in the Spring. If treated properly you can speed up the recovery by Aeration, seeding and proper fertilization. Proper watering especially during hot and dry spells is very important. The mowing procedure is also highly important. See my instruction sheet called Cultural Practices for a Healthy Lawn, you can download that from the website page Lawn Care Tips.

Lawn Seeding

Late Summer 

Seeding is best to be done in the Late Summer, generally Early September is best. That the seed time to germinate and grow before the cool weather arrives that slows down the growth. Shady areas are best done in August. The growth is slower in shady areas so that gives seed a head start so that it will grow and fill in before the leaves start falling.

The best grass seed type for our area is Tall Fescue that is drought, insect and disease resistant. A small amount of Ryegrass may be beneficial to blend into the turf. I do not recommend using seed that is sold in home improvement or other stores as they are inferior grass types , and in the long term will cause problems in the turf.

AAG Lawnman uses grass seed that is developed for our area, and along with spike aeration, fertilization, calcium and bio-stimulant application, you can be confident that the best possible seed job is performed.

Spring Seeding

In general I do Not recommend seeding in the Spring. Grass seed is not compatible with Crabgrass control and Weed control, and that leads to a high probability of infestation of weeds and crabgrass.

The only time seeding in the Spring should be done is if there are bare areas.

Anthony Galluccio
AAG Lawnman

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring Lawn Raking

Some of my customers will ask me: Should I Rake My Lawn ?

Many people feel that by vigorously raking the lawn to get all of the dead material out of the lawn will make the lawn better.

First, the turf area should have been cleaned up of debris in the fall so that the leaves and other debris are not sitting on the turf. Over the winter months there will be some leaves and branches that may collect. The cleanup should be done in the late winter. Preferably you should use a blower rather than a rake because the grass plants root system is shallow at this point and a rake will pull out or damage some of the grass plants. If you do use a rake, rake lightly over the grass area.

You might ask; But Shouldn't I Remove All Of The Dead Grass?

I have seen so many lawns damaged buy trying to remove the dead grass. First, the grass may not be dead. There are some grass varieties that will go through it's life cycle at at this time and will be putting out new shoots when the weather is right. If you remove this grass you may also be removing the roots and doing permanent damage to the lawn.

Keep in mind that a healthy soil will give your lawn the best chance to be healthy. Having organic matter in the soil will make the soil healthy and the brown leaf blades in the turf will eventually breakdown in the soil that adds organic matter.
AAG Lawnman

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Summer Turf Disease And Stress

Every Summer your Turf will be affected by some type of disease or condition that will have an impact on the appearance of your lawn. The two most active diseases at this time are Summer Patch and Brown Patch. This season I am seeing more of these diseases showing up in the Turf than in the past several years.

Here are some suggestions for managing these diseases in the lawn.
  1. The best time to water is between 12am and 5am.
  2. Mowing should be at the highest point now and until the end of the Summer.
  3. Proper fertilization should be applied that will help strengthen the grass plants.
  4. Monitor for insects as they can quickly move into stressed areas.
In most cases the disease will grow out of the lawn on it's own. What I like to do is apply a fertilization that consists of very light Nitrogen and heavy Potassium. It is important to make a precise dose of fertilizer.

What About Disease Control Treatments ( Fungicides ) ?

Let me just say that there is no cure for Lawn Diseases. Very expensive products are sold that are supposed to control the disease, but I have found that in most cases they do not work. This fact was clearly evident last week. If you were watching the PGA Championship Golf Tournament at Baltustrol you would have seen the same lawn diseases that are in your lawn. The point is that at a golf course of that magnitude that spends many thousands of dollars on Disease Control Products still has lawn disease problems.

The good thing is that we are coming up on the best time to seed your lawn, which is Late August to Early September. By seeding at that time you will not only help to speed up the recovery of the lawn but you will also be doing all you can to properly maintain the turf for the long term.

Anthony Galluccio