News and Blog Articles
News and Blog Articles
Lawns can be pretty high-maintenance, what with all the mowing and watering and edging. And even with all that work, sometimes you still end up with a bunch of dead patches disrupting the green view.
So what can you do?
The first thing to do if you spot dead areas in your lawn is identify the culprit. There are plenty of diseases, funguses, and other ailments that might cause damage, and to properly treat your lawn, you’ll need to know what exactly is causing the problem.
Large Patch Disease
Perhaps the most common affliction of otherwise award-worthy lawns is Large Patch Disease. Caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani, this disease does exactly what the name suggests: creates large brown or grey patches of dead or dying turf. Patches usually start around 2 to 3 feet in diameter, but if left unchecked, they can expand up to 10 feet or even more.
Treatment: Avoid nitrogen-rich fertilizers, test soil and apply lime according to test recommendations, spray fungicides designed specifically for Large Patch.
Summer Patch Disease
Summer Patch Disease, also known as Magnaporthe poae, causes much smaller areas of damage, usually in circles or irregular blobs. Often, these shapes will overlap each other, creating squiggly lines across your yard. Unlike Large Patch Disease, Summer Patch Disease ranges from bronze-yellow to straw-yellow in color. This disease is common when soil temperatures get too high, are too compacted, or have poor drainage.
Treatment: Avoid watering during the hottest part of the day. Aerate your lawn to improve root growth, and use acidifying fertilizers to lower the soil pH below 6.5.
This disease might sound whimsical, but it can do some serious damage to your yard. Fairy Rings start out as a partial or full ring of darker green grass that appears lush and full, but is surrounded by a band of dead turf. Sometimes, the dead turf will host mushrooms, but not always. This is caused by a soil-based fungus that grows in a thick, matted layer, preventing the surrounding grass from absorbing water and nutrients.
Treatment: lightly fertilize the area and regularly aerate your entire lawn to break up matts beneath the surface.
Dollar Spot Disease
Sclerotinia homoeocarpa is commonly known as Dollar Spot Disease, because it causes silver-dollar-sized patches of sunken, bleached-out grass. These patches may start pretty small, but they can grow as large as a foot in diameter if left untreated.
Treatment: Only water occasionally, but when you do, water deeply to get down to the base of the roots. Always water in early morning to prevent long periods of leaf wetness. Apply nitrogen-rich fertilizers.
So there you have it! The most common lawn diseases over summer, and what you can do to stop them in their tracks. Of course, the best treatment is prevention, so be sure you’re following the best lawn care possible to keep your yard happy and healthy.
Emily Casuccio is sister and sister-in-law to Rebekah and Scott Rushing, and has over half a decade of experience in copywriting, copyediting, proofreading, and developmental storyboarding. She's worked with both published and undiscovered authors on both fiction and nonfiction, and takes pride in supporting local businesses. Her passion lies in the written word and helping authors of all capacities realize their dreams and achieve their fullest potential. To learn more about her, read samples of her work, or contact her, visit her online portfolio.