Lawn Diseases 101: Common Types and How to Diagnose Them

Lawn Diseases 101: 4 Common Types and How to Diagnose and Treat Them

lawn diseases

Last Updated on

Lawn care is a hobby that offers a much-needed reprieve from all the negative things that happen around us. With a lush and healthy lawn, you get a certain sense of relief, as well as an escape to a beautiful pocket of nature.

But what if the grass on your lawn isn’t flourishing the way it used to? What will you do if your yard turns out to be diseased?

While lawn diseases don’t occur very often, there could still be instances when an outbreak will occur. This can be caused by a long period of humidity and heat, among others.

But while your lawn isn’t as susceptible to turf disease as golf courses and sports fields are, it pays to know the different types of diseases that could be taking over your neighbor’s lawn or a small spot in the corner of your yard, just in case they spread.

This article covers the most common types of lawn diseases, their identifying features, and the steps to take when getting lawn treatments in Manassas, VA.

4 Common Types of Turfgrass Diseases

There are plenty of diseases that can befall the grasses on your lawn, but only a few occur if the right conditions are met. These are:

1. Powdery Mildew

This type of fungal disease can take hold of any kind of plant, with each species infected with a unique kind of mildew. For lawns, this disease is more commonly found in cool-season grasses, particularly the Kentucky bluegrass.

Powdery mildew appears just as it is named: white dust-like particles that appear on the blades of grass leaves. It tends to appear quickly on areas of lawns under the shade, and more frequently during overcast or cloudy days.

2. Brown Patches

These appear in circular patches with a brownish or yellowish color. The circles can range from six inches to as wide as several feet in diameter.

Although it is known to affect all types of cool-season turfgrasses, tall fescue and ryegrass are more susceptible to this lawn disease. In some cases, fine fescue and Kentucky bluegrass may also fall victim to this, but the damage it leaves is much more minimal here than in other species.

Brown patches can also affect several types of warm-season grasses, like zoysia grass and St. Augustine grass. However, this will likely occur during nights with extended heat and humidity and temperatures exceeding 68 degrees Fahrenheit for long hours.

3. Pink Patch or Red Thread

The red thread is another common lawn disease that can take hold of turf. Thankfully, it doesn’t do much damage, not to mention it rarely has a fatal effect on the root system. Plus, lawn grasses can also recover naturally, which means you won’t need to intervene as much.

However, the red thread can look a bit ugly for several weeks at a time, particularly when an outbreak occurs.

Also called pink patch, the primary identifying features of this lawn disease is the tiny pink fungus on the leaves. In the latter stages of the disease, it causes the affected leaves to get bleached.

Related post: Mothers Day Flower Ideas For Your Mom

Although it can happen anytime, certain weather patterns can trigger outbreaks of the red thread disease, such as damp and warm weather of the summer and autumn months.

4. Snow Mold

During winter, one lawn disease you should be preparing for is snow mold. Appearing as the snow melts in early spring, this fungal disease comes in two forms: grey snow mold and pink snow mold.

The grey-hued fungus is also known as Typhula blight and usually infects the leaf tissue. But this is quite minor compared to the pink snow mold – also called Fusarium patch – because it affects the crown of the plant.

Snow mold takes hold of the turfgrass after a long period of snow coverage. Take note that the type of snow that causes this isn’t completely frozen, allowing the fungus to grow.

Sometimes, snow molds also appear under leaves that weren’t cleaned up, or in long grasses that were not mowed before winter began.

3 Steps in Diagnosing and Treating Lawn Diseases

After knowing the characteristics of the common lawn diseases, it is time for you to learn how to diagnose and treat them. Essentially, identification begins with your knowledge of the different types of lawn diseases, and since you already have that covered, here are the next three steps you need to take:

1. Observe the area that seems to be affected

The first step you should take when diagnosing lawns for treatment is to observe the damaged area. Get down on all fours to get a close look at the affected spot and look for clues of potential causes such as animals, leaking equipment, insects, or herbicides.

Taking notes would also help. Get a notebook and jot down the following information:

  • The specific type of grass in your lawn (at least, the ones affected, in case you have a combination of two or more grass types)
  • The time of the year
  • The approximate date when the damage first appeared
  • Whether the damaged grass looks water-soaked or greasy
  • Any visible fungal structures, such as smoky haze in the morning, rusty spots, and red threads
  • The date of your most recent fertilization
  • Length and frequency of watering
  • The amount of sunlight the area receives (e.g., full-day or half-day)
  • The quality of air circulation and whether trees and shrubs are present
  • Height of the damaged area (e.g., higher, lower, or same level as the rest of the lawn)
  • Size and shape of the damage and whether it is growing
  • Color differences between the affected spot and the rest of the lawn

2. Ask for expert help

Although you can diagnose and treat your lawn using DIY methods, there is still nothing better than asking an expert for help. This is especially true for certain conditions, like fungal diseases.

Instead of doing guesswork, take a square-foot sample of your turf that measures about two inches in depth. Get the sample along the infected portion’s outer margin so that it would include both damaged and undamaged sections.

Then, put it in a secure container (e.g., a plastic bag or box) to take to a lawn care expert in Manassas Park, VA for identification.

3. Proceed with the treatment

Like in human illnesses, lawn disease treatments are effective if performed based on the correct diagnosis. However, they also need to be executed – or, at least, guided – by a trained professional.

Once the problem has been determined, ask the lawn care professional for their recommended treatment. It would also be best to ask for prevention tips and the name of the disease so you can do your own research.

Keep Your Lawn Disease-Free

Treating lawn diseases is a critical part of lawn care. As a responsible lawn owner, you have to boost your knowledge of the different turfgrass diseases and the steps you must take to diagnose and treat them.

Share this..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll Up