When disease takes over your lawn, it can leave the grass looking damaged, patchy and just flat out gross. With all the work you’ve put into maintaining a healthy lawn, this is the last thing you want to happen. To keep disease at bay, it is important to first understand what types of lawn diseases are common in Florida, how to identify them, and how to treat them. Keep reading to learn some of the most prevalent.
Root rot can occur in grasses virtually anywhere in the world, but it is particularly common in Florida due to the wet, humid climate. This disease typically arises when the grass holds too much moisture over too long of a period, and also when there is minimal air circulation.
When watering your lawn, try to provide no more than about an inch of water each week. Be sure to take rain into account when setting your watering schedule. Remove any thatch that has formed around the base of your lawn as well, as heavy thatch can inhibit air circulation, essentially choking off your lawn.
Although not particularly dangerous in and of itself, rust fungus can damage and weaken your lawn, leaving it susceptible to more serious diseases. This disease often attacks grass in the shade where moisture is more likely to accumulate, typically in spring or fall.
Watch out for yellow flecks on the grass blades when the disease is in its early stages. As it progresses, these flecks can rupture, coating your lawn in a yellow or orange sport powder. In late stages, blades turn rust-colored and tend to grow more slowly. They can even begin to die off. Avoid over-watering, and aerate and dethatch often to promote air circulation.
This disease is common among warm-weather grasses, so it is well-suited to the Florida climate. You’ll notice spots throughout your lawn that are about the size of a silver dollar. This is called dollar spot disease. Within these spots, you’ll see lesions on the grass blades.
To prevent dollar spot, pay close attention to your soil composition. Low nitrogen levels enable dollar spots to thrive, so look for a fertilizer that will maintain nitrogen in your soil. Also, always mow your lawn with sharp blades to prevent damage, and avoid mowing your lawn when it is wet.
This is one of the more difficult lawn diseases to get rid of because by the time you notice the signs of it, it has already been infecting your lawn for several years. Even when you think it’s gone, the disease can come back again in future years. Fairy ring spreads throughout your lawn’s root system, leaving large rings of dark green or brown grass on the surface. These rings typically range between 3 and 20 feet in diameter. In some cases, you may see mushrooms along the edges of the rings, though not always. Because this disease is so insidious, it typically requires a professional to treat to ensure it doesn’t come back on an annual basis.
Brown Patch Fungus
Most commonly seen in St. Augustine, Fescue and Zoysia grasses, brown patch fungus shows up when the weather is hot, meaning over 85 degrees during the day and over 70 degrees at night. With the warm climate here in Florida, that covers a broad range of the year, so you’ll need to be constantly vigilant, as this disease is remarkably aggressive.
Watch out for brown or tan patches with a darker ring around the border. These patches often start out small but can quickly grow to several feet in diameter. To prevent brown patch fungus, avoid watering your lawn at night, instead watering early in the morning before the sun comes up. Aerate and dethatch your lawn frequently as well to help with air circulation and facilitate evaporation.
Gray Leaf Spot
Gray leaf spot is considered a problem on primarily perennial ryegrass and St. Augustinegrass. The disease first appears as tiny brown spots that enlarge and become oval or elongated. The mature spots usually have depressed gray centers. When gray leaf spot takes hold, the grass blades develop brown spots that may have velvety patches. It’s caused by overwatering and, once spread, causes grass to become thin and patchy.
There are preventive measures you can take to hinder the development of gray leaf spot. Reducing the thatch layer, using correct fertilizer and mowing at the proper height can greatly reduce the chance of gray leaf spot occurring in your lawn. Additionally, irrigating the lawn deeply but infrequently can prevent continuous leaf wetness, the ideal environment for gray leaf spot.
Unfortunately, our lawns can sometimes contract a disease no matter how much proper lawn care you give it. A homeowner can generally notice when their lawn is “sick,” if you see brown patches where your grass won’t grow any longer. Lawn diseases are triggered by fungi that only a trained, professional lawn expert can accurately diagnose and help nurse your lawn back to health.
Maintaining a healthy, beautiful lawn all year long is a hard task for any homeowner, especially with all the pests living in Florida. That is why Brock Lawn & Pest Control has well-trained, licensed technicians and an exceptional program that will tend to your yard for the entire year. Our lawn program is designed with 6 timely applications to provide the proper balance of nutrients that your lawn needs. Having regularly scheduled lawn care will allow these nutrients to provide you with a strong, healthy growing lawn. Take your lawn back and enjoy your yard again!