6 Common Lawn Diseases to Avoid

Keeping your lawn healthy is an important part of owning a home. Not only do green and landscaped lawns raise the overall look of your home but they also drastically increase your home’s curb appeal.  If left unchecked, diseased lawns can ruin that curb appeal and potentially the entire lawn. Here’s what you need to know to help identify and avoid the most common lawn diseases before they can destroy your otherwise beautiful lawn.

1.  Brown Patch Lawn Disease
lawn diseasePhoto credit: John Kaminski/Flickr

Brown Patch creates rough circles of spots in the lawn that can be either yellow, tan or brown in color. They can be as small as 6 inches in diameter but can grow to become many feet wide. Brown Patch is caused by Rhizoctonia solani which is a fungus that shows up in lawns after they have experienced warm nights combined with a lot of moisture. This moisture can be caused either by watering or rainfall over an extended period of time between 5-7 days. You can help to prevent Brown Patch by using nitrogen fertilizers as well as watering your lawn in the later morning hours so that the lawn doesn’t sit too long in a dampened state.

2.  Large Patch
lawn diseasePhoto credit: John Kaminski/Flickr

Similar to Brown Patch, this lawn disease is found on warm-season grasses like bermudagrass and zoysiagrass. It is commonly found in Southern areas where this kind of grass in usually planted. The same fungus that causes Brown Patch causes Large Patch but the overall way that it develops on these warm-season grasses is quite different. Large Patch develops under cool and moist conditions, usually on cloudy days, in either the spring or fall. The disease starts as small circles and then grows to cover large areas of the lawn. The edges of the patch will be a different color while some healthy grass may be located within the center of the patch. Large patch is best controlled with fungicide applied right when you notice the disease as well as regular applications in the spring and fall seasons.

3.  Red Thread
lawn diseasePhoto credit: John Kaminski/Flickr

If you have noticed pink or red string like growth in your lawn you probably have what is known as Red Thread. This lawn disease is common in areas that have cool springs but a lot of humidity. Red Thread can continue to develop into the summer and can greatly challenge the overall health of the lawn. Watering everyday should be avoided when trying to fix this lawn disease in order to keep the lawn somewhat dry to the touch. Water deeply so that the grass roots are hydrated but infrequently to encourage the Red Thread to die off. Make sure to also fertilize your lawn to support the grass after the invasion of Red Thread.

4.  Pythium Blight
lawn diseasePhoto credit: John Kaminski/Flickr

This mold looking disease will appear on lawns as small circular areas with gray coloring and possibly white edges on mornings with heavy dew. Pythium Blight is a water mold that thrives in damp or humid conditions in areas of soil that are poorly drained. This disease is most common when planting new areas of grass or adding seed to a bare patch of the lawn due to the high amount of water needed in order to establish the new grass growth.  Control Pythium Blight with fungicides before your lawn produces symptoms. Once the disease is spotted it is hard to kill it with fungicides.

5.  Summer Patch
lawn diseasePhoto credit: John Kaminski/Flickr

Kentucky bluegrass is notorious for getting Summer Patch in the late spring to early summer. Summer Patch is a difficult lawn disease to overcome due to the symptoms that show up well after the lawn has become infected. Summer Patch looks like circular patches that are either brown or tan in color. They develop late in the summer when the lawn is already stressed due to hot conditions. The best way to prevent Summer Patch is to apply a preventative fungicide in late spring that will help to keep the lawn disease away. Once Summer Patch develops the best way to help your lawn is to water it frequently and remember to apply fungicide the following year.

6.  Pink Snow Mold Lawn Disease
lawn diseasePhoto credit: John Kaminski/Flickr

This common lawn disease appears as small circular patches of lawn with edges that look water soaked. Some Pink Snow Mold looks much like Pythium Blight with white edges but this disease is different in that is looks reddish pink in wet conditions. It enjoys areas that have cool but humid weather and is common in the Pacific Northwest year round. Under drier conditions the patches turn a brown color. Preventative applications of fungicide are the best way to prevent Pink Snow Mold but multiple applications may be needed if your lawn is having continuous problems with this lawn disease.

How to Prevent Most Lawn Diseases

Trying to figure out what kind of disease has shown up on your lawn can be frustrating as many of them start out looking very much alike.  By applying a preventive fungicide and fertilizing your lawn in the spring, you’ll give your lawn a healthy start to the season and prevent many lawn diseases from occuring.

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