In the summer months, cool season grasses can become more susceptible to diseases. When diseases strike your turf, it is important to identify and understand the causes behind them since not all diseases are treated the same way.
One of the most common questions we receive is, what causes lawn disease?
Truth be told, the environment is the biggest factor when it comes to lawn diseases. The first element is the temperature. Fungal pathogens only need overnight temperatures that are 55 F° or higher. The second part is moisture, the fungal pathogens enter the grass plant when it is wet. It can be as simple as having extends periods of high humidity that creates an environment where the grass plant is more vulnerable to getting diseases.
This means cool season lawns are most susceptible to diseases during the summer months.
Now the question is… What can be done?
Luckily there are a few cultural practice recommendations we can try to help improve conditions.
1. Proper watering- The goal is always deep infrequent watering schedules. You want to water the lawn during its natural daily time of wetness. Once the evening dew has set in and before the morning dew dries up is the ideal time (midnight and 6am) to water. This helps reduce the vulnerability of spreading lawn disease.
2. Proper mowing habits – It is important to have sharp mower blades and mow the turf according to the grass growth and not a calendar schedule. It is VERY important not to remove 1/3 of blade height during a single cut. We recommend cutting at the highest setting, approximately 3.5”. If you suspect lawn disease, be sure to bag your grass clippings to prevent the spread to other parts of your grass.
3. Core Aerate the Soil – In the fall, core aerating the soil will help reduce the thatch layer while reducing compaction. This mechanical process will create better airflow and increase oxygen and help nutrients to get to the root of the plant. If you would like more information on this service, please let us know!
4. Lawn Disease Control – When the cultural practices aren’t enough to help fight off unwanted diseases, a disease control program is another tactic to try. Regularly scheduled applications throughout the summer months could help reduce the spread of lawn diseases. If you would like more information, please let us know!
It’s a good thing to note that, generally speaking, lawn diseases are no more than an eye sore and as soon as conditions improve so will the lawn.