Lawn diseases, Pictures and Information
Lawn diseases can ruin the appearance of the healthiest and tidiest of lawns. Many turf diseases are difficult to identify and to distinguish from problems caused by pests or by poor maintenance. But with proper management practices, serious damage can be avoided.
The development of disease is often associated with poor turf management practices, such as improper selection and planting of grass variety, insufficient and untimely watering, untimely fertilization, not using the right amount and balance of nutrients, irregular mowing and not mowing at the recommended height, improper amount of light and air movement, non-maintenance of good soil aeration and drainage, and poor thatch management.
But setting these aside, the most common remedy for lawn disease is fungicide. While this may treat the disease, it can also kill off good organisms and insects as well. It should therefor not be used to treat the whole lawn area. The best method of applying fungicide is as a spot treatment. This would minimize damage to the lawn ecosystem.
Several types of fungicides are available in the market and are differentiated by the action they make in stopping the spread of the disease. Contact fungicides remain on the plant’s surface on application and kill spores that come into contact with it. Systemic fungicides move throughout the circulatory system of the plant and stay longer inside the plant’s system. Penetrant fungicides are similar in action to systemic types, but act as a preventive to stop the growth of pathogens.
It can be difficult to identify some of the specific diseases and I will be adding some lawn disease pictures to this post shortly.
Below are some of the common lawn diseases:
- Snowmold, common to regions where snow falls and sits on the lawn for extended periods of time.
- Brownpatch, common in regions with high humidity and where the grass grows in the shade. The disease usually starts as a small spot that quickly spreads outwards in a circular or horseshoe pattern. It can cover up to a couple of feet wide.
- Dollar Spots, common to humid areas. These are small, silver dollar-like discolorations that are brown or straw-colored in appearance which, left untreated, may merge into large patches that are several feet in diameter.
- Fairy rings, unsightly, difficult to control circular rings that continue to expand with each growing season, leaving circular areas of with poor grass growth and dying grass.
- Rust, caused by a fungus that gives a rusty appearance to leaf blades. It is not seen every year, but when infestation is severe, it imparts a yellowish to reddish-orange appearance to the lawn. Mowing the grass sends out a red-orange dust that settles on surfaces. Rust makes the soil susceptible to winter kill.
- Grease spot, slimy-brown patches of grass that are surrounded by white cotton-like fungus.
- Red thread, characterized by pinkish-red threads that form around the leaf blades, binding them together. The leaves turn brown eventually.
- Powdery mildew, which covers the grass with whitish powder. Grass eventually wither and die.
- Pithium blight, or the formation of irregularly shaded spots of wilted brown grass, with cobweb-like mass of fungus; patches form long cluster streaks.
- Fusarium, light green patches that turn reddish brown; the leaf then dies.
- Leafspot-Melting Out, brown to purple lesions possibly caused by too much nitrogen.
- Slime Mold, covers the grass with a powdery substance that looks like crystallized frost that thickens, preventing sunlight from entering the plant cells.
These are the more popular lawn diseases that can be controlled, if not eradicated, by proper care and management of the lawn. It pays to keep the lawn clean in order to ward off these diseases. Often, proper watering and fertilizing are all that are needed to keep the lawn disease-free.