Lawn Diseases and Prevention with Lawn Doctor
Ask the Doctor –
Your Source For Lawn Care Tips
Kerry Tai - December 17, 2013

You decided to take a jog outside and it made you feel great! Suddenly, a few days later you catch a cold and become ill. Similar to your body, a lawn can become ill too. There are a number of lawn diseases that can affect your lawn or yard. Most lawn diseases are caused by fungi, which infects both warm and cool season grass plants. It is very important to learn all you can about disease control for yard and lawn treatments.

Common lawn diseases

Common lawn diseases such as dollar spot, red thread, and other leaf diseases often look worse than they appear. Although these diseases destroy grass blades, they can be treated before the symptoms get progressively worse and cause plants to die. Fertilizer is the key to help your lawn recover from these spring diseases.

For soil borne diseases such as brown patch and summer patch, they cause extensive damage to warm and cool season grass types. Brown patch is most severe on st. augustine and tall fescue lawns. As for summer patch, it primarily affects Kentucky bluegrass lawns. The majority of these diseases are active in the spring which weakens the lawn. During the summer season, pay close attention because summer heat conditions cause increased symptoms for summer patch, brown patch as well as other of these types of diseases.

During cooler weather, snow mold develops in wet environments. Snow mold can lead to crown and root rotting under winter snows. To find out if you have snow mold, look for patchy, gray areas after long periods of covered snow. The most severe fungal lawn disease susceptible from Bermuda grass is spring dead spot. If circular patches appear on your lawn and look sunken into the turf, then your lawn has spring dead spots. SDS (spring dead spots) can stay long into the summer season and might not recover fully until after fall dormancy as grass slowly starts to emerge from the patches.

How to prevent yard and lawn diseases

Prevention is key to stopping yard and lawn diseases. A healthy grass plant is the best defense against lawn disease.  Proper mowing, watering and fertilization practices are extremely important for a healthy lawn.

  • Mow at the proper height following the one-third rule of never cutting more than one third of the blade at one time when mowing.
  • In the morning, water the lawn one inch per week.
  • Fertilize cool season grasses with nitrogen in the spring and fall seasons.
  • In the summer, fertilize warm season turf with nitrogen.

As weather changes and the fungi will run its course and your lawn can gradually recover.

To check your yard for early symptoms of suspected lawn diseases, contact your local Lawn Doctor today!