“Why me? Why MY lawn?! I take good care of it! I fertilize it regularly with moderate amounts of fertilizer. I treat it for crabgrass, broadleaf weeds, and nutsedge. I apply the appropriate materials to make sure I don’t have insects like sod webworms, chinch bugs, and grubs destroying my lawn. But….it’s dead! I have huge dead or almost-dead areas in my lawn. This is really frustrating.”

This could be voiced from a do-it-yourself homeowner, or the greens superintendent at a golf course, or even a lawn care technician at a professional lawn care company. You put your heart and soul into creating a beautiful lawn, and then WHAM! Turf disease undoes all your good work in mid-Summer. Why?

It’s mid-summer. Our arch nemesis, Pythium Blight, has shown up on the scene here in the greater Lancaster, PA area. Turf diseases like Pythium Blight, Summer Patch, Fusarium Patch, Brown Patch, and Dollar Spot are having their hay day right now. You don’t have to search far to hear someone speaking those words above. In fact, we even say it. Even our lawn technicians feel that personal pride of how gorgeous their lawns look by the end of spring, in the peak of their glory. Turf disease brings frustrated sighs and lowered, shaking heads to all of us.

In order to answer these questions, you have to embrace the facts. You have to understand how and why turf diseases destroy beautiful, healthy lawns. It’s a simple mathematical equation. Susceptible Host + Pathogen + Conducive Environment = Disease. It’s a scientific fact. You can’t argue it no matter what your emotional response is to the problem. Turf disease has no regard for budgets or plans of the lawn’s owner. If the right conditions exist, it’s there like it or not. Unfortunately, that’s the hard-to-swallow pill.

There are preventive fungicides that can be applied to lawn areas to drastically reduce probability of turf disease forming. These are at most times not recommended as part of a typical lawn care program. There are many reasons. The materials are more costly than other lawn products. In some cases, they could make the cost of application double or more. These fungicides are only effective for 14-28 days. If you look at the weather patterns in our area, that means you would need 3-4 treatments to protect you through the summer months while disease is active. This means you could be paying the same amount, if not more money just for those few fungicide treatments as you would for a typical 6-visit lawn care program. In most cases, no one would purchase a lawn program priced as such. In some cases, you may go several years without even having conducive conditions for some diseases. However, it may be your smartest choice if the circumstances warrant it.

If you can catch turf disease before it damages the crown or root of the grass plants in your lawn, you may just save it. It may be well worth the money spent on fungicide treatments. If you get a lawn care expert to properly diagnose which disease you have, and to evaluate your lawn’s chances for recovery, corrective fungicide treatments could cost you far less than re-seeding your lawn in the fall.

Already find yourself in this predicament? It’s time to call a professional.

  • Find out what your lawn’s chances are and what remedies are available. It may be too late. You may be facing some major renovation to lawn areas in the fall.
  • When planning on seeding, talk to these pros about what grass species may perform better in these locations. All turfgrasses have their specific fungal enemies. However, if you are continually plagued with one specific disease, switching or incorporating different species of grass may improve your chances.

Wanting to be proactive, and avoid this fate for your lawn? Learn as much as you can about your lawn.

  • Learn how to identify the types of turfgrasses you have in your lawn.
  • Learn which diseases are most likely to destroy those types of grasses.
  • Learn the conducive conditions for those disease. There are specific night-time and day-time temperatures that create those conducive conditions.
  • Don’t water your lawn after 2 p.m. Turf diseases love growing in warm, wet, dark environments. Obviously you can’t prevent dew or rain at night, but don’t aggravate the situation with your irrigation efforts.
  • Find  local lawn care experts that can educate you on the pricing and availability of preventive and corrective fungicide treatments should they be needed.

It’s nothing personal. We know it’s frustrating. We share your pain. There may be hope, but it may not be an easy fix. The sooner you act, the better your chances.

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My Biggest Lawn Care Challenges for my property in Lancaster, York, Lebanon, or Dauphin County, PA (check all that apply):

CrabgrassBroadleaf Weeds (dandelions, clover, etc.)Lawn ThicknessLawn ColorNutsedgeGrubsTurf Disease/Fungi

LimestoneSurface-Feeding Insects (chinch bugs, sod webworms)Soil TestingAerationSeedingTopdressingTurf Growth Regulator