Keeping your lawn green and well-maintained requires a year-round commitment to regular care and maintenance. Without proper care, even the healthiest lawn can be damaged from lawn diseases. Many lawn diseases are difficult to identify without help from a lawn care professional. Often, lawn problems caused by lack of care and poor maintenance resemble problems caused by lawn diseases and outdoor pests. Take a look at some common lawn issues in NJ and the best ways to fix them.
Most lawn diseases are caused by some type of fungus that invades the soil and turf. Each one causes lawn damage that’s usually recognized by a distinct appearance. Although the effects of lawn damage vary with different types of fungus, proper treatments are necessary to eliminate the underlying fungus and stop further damage. Fungi are microscopic, thread-like organisms that can be spread by air-borne or water-borne spores. The spores function like seeds and produce new fungal growth under favorable conditions like temperature, moisture, light, nutrients, and stress factors
Here are some lawn diseases that cause common lawn issues in NJ. These fungal diseases attack cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and fine and tall fescue,
Brown Patch –brown patch thrives in high humidity and shady areas. It usually starts as a small spot, then spreads outward in a circular or horseshoe pattern up to two or three feet wide. Sometimes, the inside of the circle will recover, leaving brown patches that look like smoke-rings outside the circle.
Dollar Spot – Dollar spot thrives in drought and hot summer heat, and in lawns with low levels of nitrogen in the soil. Dollar Spot gets its name because it looks like small silver dollars on the lawn. Spots are usually grey, brown or straw-colored and can spread rapidly across the lawn.
Fairy Ring – Fairy rings are easily recognized by bright green circular rings. They attack all types of grass and usually appear in the spring or fall. The rings can grow up to fifty feet across and spread across the lawn at a rapid rate. The grass around the rings turns brown and sometimes contains excessive mushroom growth.
Leaf Spot – Leaf spot causes brown to purple-colored lesions or spots on grass blades. Once invaded, grass blades will start to die in different areas of the lawn. Leaf spot is made worse by thatch buildup and excessive amounts of nitrogen from fertilizers.
Pythium Blight – Pythium blight typically invades newly seeded lawns in the spring or fall. It causes blackened and water-soaked irregular patches of wilted, flattened grass. Patches can grow up to two feet across. The grass usually dies within 24 hours, and new grass does not grow back. It causes common lawn issues in NJ.
Red Thread – Most commonly found in Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and fescue, red thread grows rapidly in moist and cool weather. It gets its name from the pinkish-red threads that form on grass blades, often most visible on wet grass.
Rust – Rust fungus usually appears on grass blades of Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass in late summer. It thrives in lawn areas with high soil compaction, poor soil, shade and morning dew. Grass blades first turn orange or reddish-brown, then turn black as the fungus progresses.
Snow mold – Snow mold is most commonly seen in Kentucky bluegrass and fine or tall fescue. It causes common lawn issues in NJ where cold winter temperatures typically bring lots of snow and ice. Snow mold develops when snow sits on the lawn for extended periods of time.
Mushrooms – Mushrooms can grow in all types of grass and are commonly found after rainstorms or excessive rainfall that soaks the soil. They are common lawn issues in NJ, but they will not harm your lawn. Mushrooms can be collected and composted, but should never be eaten, since they can be poisonous.
Prevention of Lawn Diseases
Lawn diseases can be unsightly and damaging, so regular lawn care and maintenance is essential for prevention. Many lawn diseases are often associated with the lack of proper lawn care. A lawn care professional can ensure lawn care practices that discourage fungal growth, such as:
- Planting the right type of grass for existing property conditions
- Regular lawn mowing at the recommended grass height
- Proper irrigation schedules
- Regular fertilization schedules
- Lawn aeration for water, air and nutrients
- Proper soil drainage
- Weed and insect control
For more information about various lawn diseases and proper treatment options, give us a call!