lawn disease warning signs

It’s the time of year when lawns are starting to turn a little bit green, and homeowners are getting ready to start mowing and watering their yards. However, before you put too much work into your lawn, it’s important to know the warning signs of lawn disease so you can treat it early. After all, prevention is better than cure.

In this article, we will talk about the different factors that contribute to the development of lawn disease, warning signs, how we can treat them, and how we can prevent them in the future.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Westside Grounds today.

What Is Lawn Disease?

Right before we start discussing the different signs of lawn disease, it’s important to know what it really is. Through this, we can have a much better idea of what we are dealing with on our lawn. So, the question is what really is lawn disease?

In such a short and concise term, lawn disease refers to a plant disorder that is caused by a pathogenic agent, such as a fungus, bacteria, or virus. It affects the health of your grass, causing it to yellow, thin out, or even die. While some lawn diseases are minor and cause only cosmetic damage, others can seriously affect the ability of grass to photosynthesize or take up nutrients.

There are numerous factors that contribute to the development of lawn diseases, including:

  • hot and humid weather,
  • high traffic areas,
  • poor drainage, and;
  • improper mowing.

Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to help spot early warning of lawn disease.

Common Types of Lawn Disease and Their Treatments

There are many different types of lawn diseases, so it is important to know what you are dealing with before starting any treatment. In order to get the best results, it is important to diagnose the issue correctly and use the proper treatment.

Fairy Ring

A Fairy Ring is a type of fungal disease that affects lawns, causing circular or semi-circular patches of lush, green grass to form. These patches are often surrounded by a ring of unhealthy, yellowed grass.

Fairy rings consist of three types which are classified by their symptoms:

  • Type I: Ring of brown, wilted, dead grass
  • Type II: Ring of dark green grass
  • Type III: Ring of mushrooms or puffballs

Prevention and Control

  • Reduce thatch by using a vertical mower
  • Remove small debris from the ground
  • Apply extra water to the affected part of the plant
  • For type II symptoms, make use of nitrogen fertilizers to mask the rings and stimulate growth at the same time

Brown Patch

Brown patch is a common lawn disease that affects both cool-season and warm-season turfgrasses. The disease is characterized by large, circular patches of brown grass that can range in size from a few inches to several feet across.

Prevention and Control

  • Improve the air circulation for the plants by aerating and dethatching the soil.
  • Irrigate only if it’s needed
  • Avoid applying too many nitrogen-based fertilizers
  • Impose proper drainage for both surface and subsurface areas

Dollar Spot

The disease gets its name from the small, circular patches of brown or tan that it creates on the lawn. These patches are usually about the size of a silver dollar, hence the name. The disease is caused by a fungus that thrives in warm, humid conditions.

Prevention and Control

  • To reduce moisture buildup on leaves, irrigate deeply, infrequently, and early in the morning.
  • Fungicides are very effective against most types of causal fungus on irrigated turf with recurrent dollar spot issues.
  • Since growth will be stimulated during the early summer when dollar spot infection begins, nitrogen fertilizer applications can aid in reducing dollar spot severity.

Summer Patch

Summer patch appears as large, circular patches of yellowing or dead grass. The grass in the center of the patch may be killed, while the grass around the edge may remain green. In severe cases, entire lawns can be affected. 

Prevention and Control

  • Mow your lawn with the appropriate grass height
  • Water the grass deeply but not frequently
  • Make sure that you have a seamless drainage system

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a type of fungal disease that can affect a variety of plants, including trees, shrubs, and lawn grasses. The fungus grows on the surface of leaves and stems, causing them to develop a white or light gray powdery coating. In severe cases, the fungus can cause leaves to yellow and wilt, and it can also stunt the growth of new shoots and flowers.

Prevention and Control

  • Reduce shade in impacted areas by cutting back or pruning vegetation that is obstructing the sun.
  • Remove, move, or prune any plants that are obstructing airflow around the infected turf.
  • You should modify your irrigation schedule to avoid shady areas getting too wet for too long and avoid watering in the evening.
  • Avoid heavy nitrogen applications

Pythium Blight

Pythium Blight thrives in warm, wet conditions and causes a variety of symptoms in the grass, including brown patches, wilting, and thinning. Although Pythium blight is most common in the summer months, it can occur at any time of year when conditions are favorable.

Prevention and Control

  • Water the grass in the morning so that the soil has all day to absorb the water and for any extra to evaporate. If your lawn is susceptible to Pythium blight, watering less frequently but more deeply is always preferable to frequent, shallow watering.
  • Maintain lawn aeration to enhance drainage and give the roots more air. To allow more light to reach the lawn from the foliage and through the trees and bushes, prune their branches.
  • Because the mower will spread the spores to other areas of the lawn, avoid mowing the grass when it is wet or when you notice patches of blight.
  • Don’t step on or compact wet grass. Mower blades should be cleaned after each use to prevent spore spread the following time you mow.

Rust Diseases

This disease is characterized by the formation of orange, brown, or red spots on the leaves of affected plants. It can weaken plants and make them more susceptible to other problems, such as drought stress. In some cases, the disease can cause premature death. 

Prevention and Control

  • Pick off infected leaves and destroy them, and rake frequently beneath plants to remove all fallen debris.
  • To give plants time to dry out during the day, water in the morning, and avoid using overhead sprinklers.
  • Apply sulfur or copper sprays to protect susceptible plants from infection. Apply early or at the first indication of disease for the best results. Up until the day of harvest, thoroughly spray all plant parts and repeat every 7–10 days.
  • To increase airflow, prune or stake plants and get rid of weeds.
  • After you have thoroughly raked and cleaned the soil, use a thick layer of mulch or organic compost to protect it.

Treat Your Lawn With Westside Grounds

Lawn diseases can have a devastating effect on your grass, so it’s important to be able to identify them early. The warning signs we’ve outlined in this post should help you do just that. If you think your lawn may be affected by the disease, don’t hesitate to reach out to our professional here at Westside Grounds for diagnosis and treatment. With the right care and professionalism, your lawn can recover and thrive even more!