Lawn diseases can be challenging unless you know how to identify them and take the correct measures to prevent them. Most common lawn and grass diseases are caused by fungi that grow naturally within the soil and act as a pathogen to carry the disease. It should also be noted that the majority of fungi are beneficial as they break down compounds into nutrients that surrounding plants can then absorb.
The occurrence of a lawn disease depends on a few factors, which includes the presence of a pathogen, adverse weather conditions, and a grass type that is vulnerable to lawn diseases. The absence of any of these conditions usually means your lawn is not under immediate threat of grass disease.
Various lawn grass diseases exhibit different symptoms, such as brown patches, dull-coloured threads, and mold, to describe a few.
Usually affecting cool-season grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass, Tall Fescue, and Bermudagrass, the appropriately named lawn disease Brown Patch, appears on lawn grass in the form of circles of dead grass with a brownish yellow color. This is a fairly common lawn disease that occurs in the warm seasons when the temperature lies in the range of 18-21 Celsius (65-70F) and targets cool-season grasses vulnerable at that time. Brown patch is easily identified and can be controlled and prevented through the use of fungicides.
Identified by brown patches of dead grass with red-coloured thread growth, this lawn disease has a fungal source and usually strikes at the end of summer and in autumn. It may also occur in summers if rainfall is recurrent as cool and wet conditions favour the disease. Perennial Ryegrass, Bluegrass, and Bentgrass are some examples of grass types that fall victim to Red Thread Lawn Disease. Lack of fertilization, high humidity percentage in the atmosphere, and excess shade are factors that catalyze the spread and effectiveness of the disease. For chemical-free control, use the application of nitrogen to the affected area. This should be sufficient to prevent the disease from spreading. For a chemical-centric control measure, the fungicide trifloxystrobin should be available for home use.
Dollar Spot Lawn Disease
The Dollar Spot Grass Disease is caused by a fungi pathogen and makes a lawn appear patchy and discolored. It is named as such due to the patches being the size of a silver dollar and being silver in color before losing color and becoming a light tan colored patch. Centipede grass, Zoysia grass, and other common turfgrasses usually fall victim to Dollar Spot Disease. The disease thrives in autumn and has a propensity to develop in warm temperatures. As it develops, the patches that are closer together may merge to form a bigger patch. In terms of the Dollar Spot, it is better to prevent than to remedy it. Mowing your lawn properly, watering deeply, and fertilizing before the start of summer (late springtime) are preventive and control measures you can take to avoid seeing Dollar Spot Disease crop up.
Pink Snow Mold
Pink Snow Mold initially appears in the form of small, circular spots with a light pink hue. It is prevalent year-round in areas with consistent cold and humid weather. Pink Snow Mold bothers lawn enthusiasts in cold weather, often in autumn when humidity or rainfall. As the name suggests, Pink Snow Mold usually occurs under snow cover but does not need to infect the grass. This lawn disease often attacks tall and fine fescues, although it does affect other turfgrasses as well. Excess shade may favor Pink Snow Mold. Preventive measures include using fungicides such as DMI and strobilurin, which are effective and serve as a long term safeguard.
Points to Remember
These are a few general tips to remember to avoid lawn grass diseases.
⦁ Ensure proper irrigation is being done
⦁ Sharpen the blades of your lawnmower as a dull blade shreds the leaf instead of cutting it, leading to weaker growth
⦁ Mow grass at the proper height
⦁ Use fertilizers in a balanced way
⦁ Keep soil pH at an appropriate level relative to the grass type’s needs
⦁ Use pesticides and fungicides in a controlled manner when the threat of disease comes with a new season