Posts Tagged ‘red thread’

Lawn Diseases

Published by mrgrass on June 11th, 2013 - in Turf Disease

Lawn diseases can be a very confusing subject because the average homeowner would have a hard time telling the difference between a lawn disease, stress, or insect activity.  Spring diseases range from snow mold coming out of winter, to leaf spot, dollar spot, and red thread.  Summer diseases can range from damping off disease, patch disease, brown patch, and rust.  Fall diseases mirror spring without snow mold.

Lawn diseases 

Most grass diseases can be traced back to a fungus, adequate moisture/temperature (climate), and the susceptible host plant.  Like any disease triangle, all three pieces listed above must occur to produce what you visually see as a problem.  Most diseases are fungal in nature and as such, most adore moisture – lots of it!  As such, many lawn diseases can be attributed to excessive irrigation in a manicured, suburban lawn.  Too much kindness can lead to all kinds of disease issues in your lawn when it comes to watering.  Too much water fills up valuable air pockets in the soil that leads to shallow roots and predisposes your lawn to all kinds of health issues.  Watering late in the day leaves moisture and water on the surface of the leaf blade, on the soil, and raises humidity low to the ground.  Any of these facts can cause a disease outbreak in mere hours with the right temperature and host; your lawn!  Fungal diseases can be aesthetic like red thread and not really cause much harm.  Or, fungal diseases can progress all the way to summer brown patch with the possibility of not only losing lawn  density overnight but having dead patches before that first cup of coffee is finished the next morning! 

As a homeowner, you have the largest control on preventing or contributing to fungal diseases in your lawn. Mowing a lawn when wet can spread diseases from lawn to lawn if you have a mowing company out each week.  Over-watering can cause disease and root problems as previously mentioned.  Watering in the morning or day can minimize moisture presence overnight, reducing the likelihood of a fungal outbreak.  While most diseases are fungal in nature, some are bacterial and some are found in the soil itself which become active during the ideal weather conditions.  Extended rainy periods can induce leaf spot disease and turf thinning if followed by hot sunny weather.  Stress on a lawn such as mowing a sod/blue grass lawn too short can induce symptoms such as pitting or scarring with patch disease.  Some diseases are more likely under high fertilizer use and some under low.  Lawn diseases are complicated and difficult to diagnosis without real field experience.  Treatment and prevention of lawn diseases run hand-in-hand and are just more reasons to have a professional lawn care company helping you each month throughout the growing season.  When it comes to diagnosing and treating lawn diseases, there is no substitute for real field experience and education, everything you get with Chippers’ turf division. 


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!

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