Let’s face it. Summer is tough on lawns. Heat and drought combined with insects and disease stress your grass greatly. Even with a beautiful, green lawn free of insects and weeds, turf disease can sneak up to destroy all of your hard work.
Most people don’t recognize what’s happening to their lawn. They assume it’s just summer stress and think it will just green up again when fall rolls around. In some cases, they may be right. However, if you have fungi destroying your lawn, it may not recover.
Know Your Grass Type.
There are quite a few turf diseases that can affect lawns in our area. Though diagnosis can be difficult, a trained lawn expert can help. The first key is to know what type of grass you have on your lawn. Specific diseases will grow only on particular host plants, so knowing your grass types will guide you to the right diagnosis.
Turf disease will occur when the disease triangle is present. The disease will form if the host plant, the pathogen, and the weather come together.
Research and Ask Questions.
You can figure out which specific disease you have and the treatment recommendations if you do some research and ask the right questions. Preventive fungicide applications on lawns are costly. As a result, most lawn programs do not include these treatments as a default. These materials work fairly well but only prevent for approximately 3-4 weeks, warranting 3-4 applications during the summer months for good control.
What Do You See On Your Lawn Now?
If you are at the point where you have brown or dead-looking areas on your lawn, it may be time to consider a fungicide, If you don’t feel comfortable with your diagnosis, consult with a local lawn care company that can diagnose the disease and make appropriate recommendations.
Things to Look For!
No matter your skill level, there are several things to look for: Fungal structures look like spider webs on the lawn in the early morning. Matted or collapsed areas that are brown to black. Discolored areas with patterns like circles, rings, or spots. Spots or lesions on the grass blades that are grey, black, or brown.
During the peak of summer, when the weather is often dry, hot & humid, the most destructive diseases are active. Four to be aware of include: Gray Leaf Spot, Brown Patch, Pythium blight, and Summer Patch.
Let’s take a look at each.
During the peak of summer, when the weather is often dry, hot & humid, the most destructive diseases are active. Four to be aware of include Gray Leaf Spot, Brown Patch, Pythium blight, and Summer Patch. Let’s take a brief look at each.
Gray Leaf Spot
Common to perennial ryegrass, this disease appears as grey lesions or dark spots that can collapse rapidly, causing severe damage. It is favored by extended periods of heat and drought.
Common to perennial ryegrass and tall fescue, this disease appears as circular patches of blighted grass resembling smoke rings. It is favored by hot, humid weather and dew formation.
Common to all turfgrass species, it appears as dark grey, greasy-looking spots that quickly collapse and die. It is favored by very hot, humid conditions. It is most severe following thunderstorms.
Common to Kentucky bluegrass appears as thinning brown areas that turn straw-colored and form circular patches. Hot sunny conditions favor the disease.
Hopefully, this information will help you identify what disease is occurring on your lawn. Treatment recommendations vary widely based on the specific condition of your lawn, so proper identification is crucial. Find out what’s going on with your lawn before it’s too late!