Does Your Lawn Have Grass Fungus in the Spring?
Common Grass Fungus Problems & Diseases In Oklahoma
Following below are some of the common lawn and grass fungi affecting turf grasses in the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding area.
Although thatch is not a grass fungus, it is widespread in Oklahoma. As mentioned, fertilizing alone will not repair this problem. A thin layer of thatch acts like mulch does in a garden. It is necessary to realize that a thatch more than one inch thick actually starves the grass from the water, sun, and nutrients it needs to flourish.
Unable to reach the soil below, the roots start to tangle and are not receiving the nutrients it needs to survive. Accordingly, over-watering and over-fertilizing can make your lawn susceptible. Grass clippings too large from infrequent mowing do not decompose quickly enough and create a barrier or thatch.
Thatch is the material layer that forms below the blades preventing the roots from taking hold in the soil. As mentioned before, a thin layer of thatch can be a good thing. Our services do not include clearing out thatch for this grass problem.
Spring Dead Spot Disease
It is essential to know that not all spots in the grass indicate a disease. Spring Dead Spot is typical in Bermuda grass in Oklahoma. In most cases of this grass fungus, the grass did recover with proper care.
Irrigation, seldom fertilizing, and herbicides do help prevent this disease. Although called a disease, Spring Dead Spot occurs through two different fungi. These fungi, Ophiosphaerella herpotricha, and Ophiosphaerella korai are the principal causing perpetrators of Spring Dead Spot in Oklahoma.
Homeowners have limited access to effective fungicides for spring dead spot control. However, these fungicides are available to professional lawn care specialists and pest control companies. We have encountered this disease before when treating lawns around the home for general pests, ticks, fleas, and termites.
Large Patch or Brown Spot Disease
A Large Patch, or Brown Spot, as it is commonly known, is very damaging to turf grass. Moreover, this grass fungus is both a warm and cool-season disease. This disease is common in Bermuda, Buffalo and tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass. Like most grass fungi, it is most noticeable in early spring when weather conditions are wet and mild.
Rhyzoctonia is the fungus causing this lawn disease. Important to know is it spreads through lawnmowers, pets, the bottom of your shoes, water, and wind. Large Patch or Brown Spot infection begins in the fall when it is impossible to see and shows up in your yard as temperatures rise.
Furthermore, these circular brown patches of dead grass will have a dark ring around the edges, which is not noticeable unless the grass is wet. These “large” patches can grow from one to three feet in diameter and multiply. This disease weakens the grass due to lesions that aid in the spread of the infection.
Dollar Spot Disease
Dollar Spot is prevalent in Oklahoma residential lawns and on golf courses. Starting as a very small spot, many homeowners fail to identify this disease. Nevertheless, this disease will kill your grass down to the roots.
Being able to survive the winter months, left undetected or untreated, can lead to a large portion of the lawn dying off. Although the spots range in size from four to six inches, they can group together and become much larger.
In its early stages, the grass will look like the spot or area has a bleached look. Dollar spot is not necessarily a round shape and, more often than not, is an irregular shape.
Treating Lawn and Turf Grass Fungus and Diseases
A point often overlooked is that prevention is far more manageable than treating the lawn after it is infected. We can use a fungicide to kill the fungus and help return the lawn to a healthy state. First, there are things you can do to speed the recovery and prevent infection in the future. Before the treatment or application, excess grass clippings will need to be removed. This will allow the fungicide to reach the grass base and attack the fungus at the root level. You will want to avoid traffic across your lawn for a day or so after application.
If you’re planning to tackle grass fungus on your own, it’s important to note that fungicides come in both liquid and granular forms. However, it’s crucial to be mindful of which fungicide you choose, as some are specifically formulated to target certain types of fungi. Additionally, there are all-purpose fungicides available. There are all-purpose fungicides available. What we have found is most homeowners spend more time and money on over-the-counter products in the end due to multiple applications and the cost of fungicides can be high.
How to Treat Grass Fungus and Lawn Diseases
First, you must determine what type of fungus or disease is present. Once that determination is made, the quicker you perform a treatment the better the chances are to reverse the problem and prevent the spreading of the grass fungus or lawn disease.
Is It a Disease or a Fungus?
The type of disease or grass fungus will determine your best option for treatment. You must remember to consider the weather and season when planning your treatments. Some instances of the disease may clear up on their own once the weather changes. However, there are instances where immediate mitigation is needed to prevent spreading and permanent damage to your lawn or yard.
Home remedies can be effective, and trying to treat lawn disease or grass fungus organically is an option. Just remember to do your research before jumping in on larger areas and make yourself aware of the potential hazards or drawbacks. Many times ‘internet solutions’ can only worsen the problem, or in worst-case scenarios introduce new or unexpected problems along with the current issues.
Identifying brown spots, fungus on the grass, or patches does not mean we need to kill your entire lawn and start over. If caught early we can start with treatments local to the areas where it was discovered. Treatments are successful when using a professional application or a natural fungicide if done correctly.
First and foremost, treating your lawn well is key. If possible, aerate the soil in the fall, avoid cutting your grass too short, remove as much dead grass as possible after mowing, and avoid over-watering or adding too much fertilizer. Secondly, when purchasing seeds and fertilizer for your yard, you can purchase fungus-resistant grass seeds.