Posts Tagged ‘lawn diseases’

Your lawn may be rotting from a common disease: leaf spot.

Published by JKeefe on June 12th, 2012 - in Lawn Care Companies, Turf Disease
Severe leaf spot infestation

leaf spot disease

The past month has been very wet with a bit of heat mixed in for just the right amount of stress on weakened lawns.  Wet weather means your lawn is more likely to contract common diseases due to high moisture and humidity caused by rain or drizzle.  Leaf spot to a lawn is like having a common cold to humans.  Most lawns get leaf spot but it passes without much fanfare with the onset of summer and warmer weather.  There are occasions when leaf spot can manifest into a more serious stage, sort of like getting pneumonia from a cold.  This stage is called “melt-out” and is the result of a significant infection, large enough to cause damage to the growing point of the turf plant, the crown.  A weakened crown is susceptible to injury and plant decline, or even death, depending upon the weather. (more…)


Lawn diseases can mimic drought or insect damage

Published by JKeefe on June 27th, 2011 - in Lawn Care Companies, Turf Disease

Summer patch, very common in hot weather

Most lawn diseases are fungal in nature, appearing from early spring to late fall, manifesting from minor discoloration to swift turf death, such as in brown patch disease.

Turf diseases are very difficult to diagnose in a home lawn due in part to the complex nature of the appearance as it relates to air temperature, mowing height, fertility, thatch thickness, and moisture present on the lawn surface.  Like an episode of CSI, diagnosing and treating lawn diseases requires experience and a future game plan for successful treatment.  By the time most people see the damage appear in their home lawn, the fungal disease has manifested as brown spots or dead patches.  Since most lawn diseases are fungal in nature, they love humidity or moisture in order to activate and complete a life cycle, be it brief.  Temperature also plays a huge role, from the cool weather of snow molds to the high heat and humidity required to see brown patch disease.

Red thread looks mean but really is not a serious disease

June of 2011 has brought about an unusual set of weather phenomena from cool wet days to hot, moist nights several weeks ago.  The result of this kind of weather predisposes home lawns to multiple disease infections.  The best offense is a good defense in these kinds of circumstances.  First, any watering should be done in the am or daytime, allowing the lawn to dry out in time for nightfall.  Grass left wet over night sets the stage for all kinds of fungal diseases.  Your mowing height is very important during the summer and should be kept at or near 3”.  A shorter cut predisposes the lawn to stress and assists in the ability of disease to not only manifest itself, but cause more damage than a lawn cut properly.  I cannot stress the importance of proper mowing height, especially in the June through August time frame.

Thatch management through core aeration is a critical process that can help minimize patch diseases when done in the spring or fall.  Overseeding with disease resistant grass varieties can also help prevent the future visual annoyance of dead or brown patches caused by patch diseases.  If your lawn has confirmed disease issues, the use of fungicides may be desired to help reduce the occurrence of especially serious ones like Brown Patch, Necrotic Ring Spot, Fusarium Blight, Pythium, or Summer Patch.

Slow-release fertilizers should be used during the summer months as excessive fertility can lend to the appearance of certain diseases under the right conditions.  On a good note, red thread, minor leaf spot, and powdery mildew are generally not lethal and usually more aesthetically displeasing than damaging.  The key to any great lawn is maintaining a balance and doing many “little” things right to keep a healthy balance.  When it comes to lawn diseases, heat and humidity generally set the stage for a fungal outbreak in your lawn.  If you think you have an ongoing disease issue in your lawn, have an experienced, qualified person check things out.  This way, a plan can be put into place, be it a fungicide treatment now or setting up core aeration for this fall.  Left unchecked, some diseases can damage your sod or bluegrass lawn, causing scars, depressions, or thin areas.  June of this year seems to be one filled with diseases so far – I can hardly wait for July!


Snow Mold prevention, spraying is an option this fall

While snow mold disease may be annoying, it can kill turf dead under the right conditions.  Snow mold prevention usually means hardening your grass off in the fall with the proper lawn products like potassium, sea kelp, and calcium lime.  Mowing short helps reduce matting and can help minimize snow mold in home lawns.  Don’t shovel your snow into large piles where melting will be slow and create favorable conditions for the disease.  However, the fact remains that Gray & Pink snow mold are out there and given the right moisture content and temperature, along with the host being your lawn, things can get ugly- dead ugly.  I personally saw a lot of snow mold this past spring, most areas recovered but some did not due to the severity in NH and VT.

Snow mold comes in a range of colors including gray and pink being the most well-known.  Spraying for snow mold in a residential setting is not a common practice but may be helpful if your turf has had a few bad years.  The infection begins with spores in the thatch layer and old leaves and lawn debris.  Removing your leaves and grass debris at the end of the season is a super way to help reduce the source of infection.  Aeration can also help reduce snow mold disease as indicated by a report from Purdue University.  Many chronic factors such as long grass, debris, piles of leaves and other cultural problems help give rise to snow mold outbreaks.  Even under the best conditions, susceptible turf will become infected and if the weather cooperates, damage can occur in small patches to large areas.  Newly seeded lawn areas, those that have not gone through a winter are also susceptible to snow mold.  Spraying a fungicide can be a helpful measure to reduce snow mold if done in the late fall before snowfall.  If your lawn has suffered from snow mold in the past- for more than a few winters- you may wish to explore a preventative measure to help reduce damage visible in the spring such as a fungicide treatment this autumn (Nov-December).  Chippers is pleased to offer this kind of treatment for those residing within our service area.

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