Common Lawn Diseases
There are over 100 diseases that affect North Carolina turfgrasses, but fortunately, there are only about 18 turfgrass diseases that develop year after year. Most diseases are caused by fungi, although grass species vary in their susceptibility to certain diseases. Other factors affecting disease development include lawn health, geographical area, weather, and seasonal conditions as well as lawn maintenance practices. Here are a few of the common diseases that you may encounter:
Rhizoctonia Solani – Most severe during extended periods of hot and humid weather, Brown Patch is a fungal disease that can begin to develop between May and September. The disease symptoms vary depending on the turfgrass, but for the most part, the first symptoms are water-soaked areas on leaf blades that soon dry, wither, and turn light brown.
On most lawns, where the grass is cut high, the disease appears as rough circular patches that are brown, tan, or yellow in color and range from six inches to several feet in diameter. In close cut turfgrasses, Brown Patch develops as rough circular patches ranging from a few inches to several feet in diameter that are brown or orange in color. [Read More]
Turfgrass leaves must be continuously wet for at least 10 to 12 hours for the fungus to infect. Poor soil drainage, lack of air movement, shade, cloudy weather, dew, overwatering, and watering in the afternoon all favor prolonged leaf wetness and increased disease severity. Contact Nature’s Select if you suspect Brown Patch in your turfgrass.
Fungicides are effective for Brown Patch control and can be applied on a preventative or curative basis. Treatment is necessary to stop the fungi from spreading to healthy parts of your turfgrass. Consider a preventive fungicide program for tall fescue when conditions favor disease development. For best results, preventative applications should be initiated in the late spring or early summer when night temperatures consistently exceed 60 degrees.
Gray Leaf Spot
Pyricularia Grisea – This initially appears as spots on leaves that are round or oval and tan in color with a dark brown border. When the leaves are wet or humidity is high, the leaf spots turn gray and fuzzy. In time, the spots expand and cause the leaf to die back from the tip.
In tall fescues, foliar blighting initially occurs in patches from 6 to 12 inches in diameter that are orange to yellow in color. If turfgrass is infected, symptoms usually appear during July, August, and September. Preventative fungicide applications should be initiated in mid-June to early July. Tall fescue should be monitored frequently so that fungicides can be applied to stop epidemic development.
Laetisaria Fuciformis – This usually thrives in temperatures between 40 and 85 degrees and in locations that are low in nitrogen. It also occurs in areas that experience more than 10 hours a day of foliar wetness for several consecutive days. Red Thread develops in circular or irregular patches from four inches to two feet in diameter.
The affected leaves within the patches are usually tan or bleached white in color; from a distance they may seem like they’re red because of red strands of fungal growth from the leaves. After prolonged periods of disease development, the patches may merge together to make large irregular shaped areas of damaged turf. In most cases, no treatment is needed. Turfgrasses affected by Red Thread are Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, fine fescue, and perennial ryegrass. Symptoms can be seen during the months of March to June and September to December.
Pythium Aphanidermatum – This usually appears during hot, humid weather and is most common in the wettest areas of turf and in the surface of drainage pattern. The disease causes greasy, brown circular spots that start out about three-quarters to two inches in diameter but quickly enlarge in size.
The leaves within the patches are matted, orange, or dark gray in color. Turfgrasses affected by this disease are bentgrass, bluegrasses, fescues, and ryegrasses. This disease favors night temperatures over 68 degrees and occurs in areas that experience more than 10 hours a day of foliar wetness for several consecutive days.
Fostering Healthy Lawns
Nature's Select™ can develop a select lawn care program tailored to your lawn. We’ll test your soil and choose the correct products to address any imbalances. Our select biological products and services can help you deal with any or all of the following lawn pests and diseases:
- Japanese Beetles
Prevention is Key to Lawn Disease Control
Homeowners often ask us what they can do to prevent pests and diseases. Not everything is preventable, but our very best advice is to use better horticultural practices within the environment. To put it simply, proper watering, proper pruning, proper mulching, and autumn aeration will give your lawn and plants the best defense against pests and disease. For more information, check out our lawn tips and tree and shrub tips.
Are you looking for a lawn care company that cares about environmental safety as much as it does your lawn? Look no further than Nature's Select™ Premium Turf Services, Inc. Our personalized services and biological products are effective yet also easy on beneficial insects at the same time. Contact us at (336) 768-7999 today to request a free estimate.
There’s no doubt that for lawn disease control in Winston-Salem, King, Kernersville, and the surrounding areas, Nature's Select™ can design an effective program tailored to your lawn. Contact us today at (336) 768-7999 to request your free estimate.