When summer ends, and the cooler temperatures arrive in Georgia, it’s time to assess your lawn and see what kind of damage the fun, eventful summer left behind. Summers in Georgia can be tough on your grass. Lack of rain, too much rain, high heat, humidity, heavy traffic, and mowing can take a toll on your turf. When these stressors occur, it weakens the immune system of your grass, leaving it open to a number of unsightly fungal infections. The best way to be prepared is to stay vigilant and recognize common lawn fungus that grows in our climate and how to identify them. These include brown patch, dollar spots, and fairy rings. Let’s dive into each, learn how to identify and prevent each one of these lawn wreckers.
Let’s start with dollar spot. Unfortunately, you aren’t suddenly going to start seeing dollar bills come out of your grass, although that would be nice. Instead, dollar spot is a lawn fungus that appears as small, yellow, or brown circles of grass about the size of a silver dollar. It primarily affects bermudagrass but can impact others, and as more patches grow, they start to merge and grow to form larger patches of diseased turf. Upon close inspection of the grass, you may see small yellow or brown lesions with a rust-colored border around them. This is how you can usually know for sure it is dollar spot.
Dollar spot is most prevalent in spring or late fall when temperatures reach between 60 and 75 degrees. Combined with significant rainfall, these temperatures increase the chances for this fungi and infections of leaf blades and sheaths.
Dollar Spot Prevention
The best way to prevent dollar spot is through proper watering techniques. When watering your lawn here in Georgia, only do so in the morning to give your grass time to dry off during the day. During this time of year, your lawn typically needs about one inch of water per week unless we’ve just received excessive rainfall or an unusual heat spell. Keeping your turf healthy year-round with a comprehensive lawn care program will help to make it more resilient to environmental factors such as excessive heat, drought conditions, or too much rain.
Brown patch is a horrible lawn disease that impacts all types of turfgrasses that grow here in Georgia. It is the most identifiable fungi because it appears as patches of brown grass. When the grass is still wet in the morning, it’s common to see “smoke rings” of black or gray grass around the border of the brown patch. It’s important you identify this fungus early because once your grass becomes infected, it can thin out your turf, cause it to weaken, and significantly cause damage to your lawn. Brown patch starts to develop when the grass blades are continuously wet for days at a time and the temperatures are above 60 degrees at night. Poor soil drainage, lack of air movement, too much shade or clouds blocking out the sun, dew, over-watering, and watering late in the afternoon increase your chances of obtaining brown patch. Excessive amounts of nitrogen used in your fertilizer can also contribute to the development of this ill-favorable disease.
So how can one go about preventing brown patch? First, avoid long periods of moisture. Only irrigate based on weather conditions and in the morning before sunrise. This will help control dew that gathers on the leaves and help to speed up the process of drying. Never water after sunrise, and avoid establishing turf in low areas or in areas that collect water. Proper landscaping techniques, including using a fertilizer with balanced nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium will, help keep nitrogen levels in check. Lastly, have your lawn annually aerated so that oxygen, nutrients, and water are able to filter through and penetrate the roots.
This dreadful lawn fungus usually appears in the spring when there is consistent rainfall. Fairy ring is a fascinating lawn fungus characterized by large circles of dark green or brown grass and is sometimes accompanied by a ring of mushrooms or puffballs. These shapes have a long history in European folklore, and different cultures believe they represent a number of things. Usually, items associated with fairy or elves are thought to bring good or bad luck.
Unfortunately, fairy ring is a lawn disease that comes back larger every year, and it can cause a lot of damage to your Georgia lawn. The fungus that causes fairy ring makes the affected soil and turf become water-repellant. When this happens, the grass dries up and dies of hydration
Fairy Ring Prevention
When it comes to fairy rings, it’s best to try and prevent them because it’s not as easy to control once you have it. The best way to do this is to practice good lawn techniques such as:
- Keeping your lawn well-watered once a week with between one to one and a half inches of water
- Mowing regularly at the correct height
- Utilizing fertilizer with the appropriate amounts of nitrogen
- Dethatching or aerating your lawn annually
- A preventive fungicide can be used in the spring to help prevent fairy rings and other fungi from growing
Prevent Lawn Fungus With Effective Fungicide Treatment Offered by Duncan’s Green Team
Duncan’s Green Team offers an effective broad-spectrum fungicide treatment program that will help reduce pressure from dollar spot, brown patch, large patch, and other common lawn diseases and fungi. It will also help improve the color, density, and root growth of your lawn. We offer a variety of lawn care and landscaping services including fertilization and weed control, lawn maintenance, mosquito control, landscaping, water features, and more.
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