Common Lawn Diseases
There are over 10 types of lawn fungi common in our region. The most prominent fungi include necrotic ring spots, fairy rings and mushrooms. Each of these fungi has a different effect on lawns. They are similar in their aesthetically displeasing appearance and the damage they can cause to lawns if not properly controlled. Senske offers professional lawn fungus control and lawn disease treatment.
- Necrotic Ring Spots – These create circle patches in yards, also known as frog eye disease. They flourish during the hot months and usually die-down in the colder months. However, reoccurring necrotic ring spots can permanently destroy grass without proper treatment.
- Fairy Rings – Fairy rings produce large circles, or rings. They feed on thatch. If one fairy ring appears in your yard, you’ll want to address it before one ring becomes many rings. Mushrooms popping up on the ring edges are the first symptoms of Fairy ring disease.
- Mushrooms – Common fungi can grow from tree stumps and roots under the surface of the grass. To eliminate mushrooms, the root or tree stump that it is feeding off of must be removed. Fungi can be controlled by making sure your lawn receives ample amounts of nutrients. Fertilization helps prevent lawn fungus.
- Tip Blight – Common summertime malady affecting bluegrass, perennial rye and tall fescue is a fungus in the genus Ascochyta. This fungi is very common in turf in areas with hot, dry summers. Cool season grasses in the Salt Lake area and Boise Valley areas are frequently affected by this common turf disease.
- Dollar Spot – A fungus that causes small circular patches. These patches are straw colored. Early in the morning, when the grass is covered with dew, a faint cob-webby growth may be seen on the leaves of affected plants. In the early stages of disease, leaves develop distinct tan-colored spots and bands; quite often a reddish-brown border can be seen on the leaf spots.
- Anthracnose, Leaf Spots, Melting-Out – These diseases are commonly found after periods of extended wet weather and can occur under a variety of temperatures. Symptoms vary from small red to purple spots on leaf blades to total plant collapse, depending upon the particular fungus involved. Large, weakened patches of turf may result. These diseases are so common that they probably occur in every home lawn although they usually don’t result in substantial damage unless the lawn is weak from low fertility or from other stresses.
Lawn Fungus Control
Necrotic Ring Spot
Although shaded areas are more susceptible to developing fungi like necrotic ring spots, fungus can be found anywhere on a lawn. Necrotic ring spots are patches of discolored grass, usually encompassing a center of healthy, green grass. Necrotic ring spots typically start to show symptoms when the weather is hot and temperatures reach 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Because symptoms start showing during the hot season, this fungus can be mistaken for patches of lawn that have simply not gotten enough water.
A common action associated with a person’s first interaction with necrotic ring spot is to increase water supply to these patches. Be advised this will not take away necrotic ring spots; it will only increase your water bill. Necrotic ring spots can be extremely damaging to lawns if they reoccur in the same locations each year. Lawn maintenance such as core aeration and overseeding can help prevent necrotic ring spots.
Snow mold tends to grow where patches of standing snow or ice have accumulated. They become noticeable after the snow melts. There are two types of snow mold: grey and pink. Snow mold can continue to grow after the snow has melted if the grass remains cool and wet. Grey mold will stop growing when temperatures become higher than 45 degrees Fahrenheit, but pink snow mold can survive in temperatures up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fairy rings create circles of discolored grass around a yard. Although the grass looks dead, it’s actually not. Fairy rings don’t kill the grass because they don’t eat it; instead they eat decaying plant matter and thatch. The side effect of this process leaves the grass yellow because of the depletion of nutrients in the soil and the production of nitrogen. Fairy rings can be prevented by consistent lawn aeration and lawn maintenance.
Fairy rings occur in forested areas as well as lawns. A lawn that has a large amount of fairy rings might have tree trunks underneath it. In order to get rid of fairy rings, the food that the fungus is feeding off of needs to be eliminated; this includes tree trunks and thatch.