Common Lawn Diseases and What Causes Them
Every type of grass is susceptible to Lawn Diseases because the diseases naturally occur. The key to minimizing damage to your lawn is proper management and maintenance. Your lawn service must be dedicated to preventing diseases before they occur. What causes these Lawn Diseases?
The soil has a number of microscopic living organisms. Some are beneficial, but others are there to do harm. Bacteria, fungi, phytoplasms, nematodes and other organisms do damage to grass, plants and more. Most Lawn Diseases are the result of pathogenic fungi which can hide in the soil until the right environmental conditions come along. Fungi don’t have stems, roots or chlorophyll so they must rely on their host to get the nutrients they need. What conditions must be present before a lawn disease appears?
First and foremost, the pathogen must either be present in or around the soil and your grass must be susceptible to the pathogen. In addition, certain environmental conditions must be present for the disease to appear. This is the most important of the three. Many pathogens are already in the soil so the lawn service needs to ensure the environmental conditions are unfavorable to these pathogens at all times.
Common lawn diseases include brown patch and large patch diseases.
There are many similarities between these two diseases, but brown patch requires hot weather and high humidity before it presents. This disease commonly affects cool season grasses, but warm season grasses may get this disease also. Large patch disease appears in cool weather, often in the fall and spring, and strikes warm weather grasses.
Pythium blight is a very destructive disease and may be referred to as ‘cottony blight’ or ‘greasy spot’. Both newly seeded lawns and mature turf can contract this disease which needs hot weather and high humidity to thrive. Water movement and poorly drained soils play a role in the development of this disease which progresses very fast. Once the right conditions are present, the disease can destroy the grass within 24 hours. Sports turf is most susceptible, but home lawns can be affected also.
Dollar spot affects a wide range of grass types. As the name implies, dollar sized tan spots appear on the lawn. The size of the spot varies by the grass blade size and mowing height. Higher mowing heights mean bigger spots which often appear as animal urine damage. Low nitrogen is the culprit when this disease appears, but care must be taken to avoid applying too much fertilizer as this can lead to disease also.
These are just three lawn diseases which may affect a lawn.
There are many others also. Lawn services are trained to spot signs of these diseases early so measures can be taken to prevent their spread. The right maintenance program like simply mowing weekly and watering no more than 3 times per week helps to keep these diseases at bay.