Because of the fact that they tend to be confused with other lawn problems such as drought or insect damage, lawn diseases can go undiagnosed until it’s too late to repair the damage caused by them.
Many lawn diseases are fast-moving and highly destructive. One day you notice some slight discoloration and by the end of the week, large areas of your lawn have been lost to the disease.
Sometimes when homeowners spot signs of a lawn fungus, they take matters into their own hands. Since fungal damage can look similar to drought damage, they may try to water it more. But excess watering can actually make the situation worse since fungal diseases thrive in wet conditions.
Seeing thinned out patches may also lead some well-intentioned homeowners to add fertilizer but this can also further aggravate the problem. Some types of fungi thrive within applications of slow-release nitrogen fertilizer. Diseases can spread quickly and sometimes even walking over the fungus can spread it to other spots in your yard.
While we don’t expect you to do your own lawn disease diagnosis, it would be helpful for you to have some basic understanding of lawn diseases as well as some of the signs that you may have a problem. That way you can get help from an expert before it’s too late. Lawn care companies in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, PA will tell you that spotting diseases early can be the difference between saving your lawn or having it extensively damaged.
Making a Lawn Disease Diagnosis
First, it’s helpful to understand how lawn diseases start. Turfgrass experts use a triangle illustration to explain how multiple conditions or situations align in order for a disease to occur.
A disease occurs from three factors: a disease-causing organism (lawn fungus), susceptible host (grass species), and a favorable environment (moist, warm weather). Recognizing there may be more to your problem than just a disease is important. You may need to not only treat the disease, but you may also need to improve your lawn’s overall health in order to truly solve your problem.
As we mentioned, we don’t expect you to understand every turf disease out there. But knowing some of the common symptoms can help you spot a lawn disease early and call in the experts for help. Many of the different lawn diseases have overlapping or similar symptoms so even a basic understanding of potential problems will help you to know when things are awry.
Some of the most common signs of a lawn disease problem include symptoms like:
- Spots or lesions on grass blades
- Small, repetitive spots throughout turf areas
- Irregularly-shaped patches of discoloration throughout the lawn
- Webby fungal structures (seen easily when there is dew in the morning)
- A powdery substance on the lawn
There are many lawn diseases out there but certainly, some are more common in our area than others. Some of the most common lawn diseases in our area include Snow Mold, Red Thread, Leaf Spot, Brown Patch, Summer Patch, Dollar Spot, and Pythium Blight. The symptoms of these diseases can sometimes overlap and they are often confused from one another.
You can read more about lawn disease here if you’re interested in knowing more, however, a trained lawn care technician will be your best bet in diagnosing the exact problem and the best course of treatment.
Lawn Disease Control
At Joshua Tree, we want you to call us as soon as you spot a problem rather than wait it out. Even if it does just turn out to be drought-related, that’s something that we want to know. But we never want to take the chance that it’s a more serious problem such as a lawn fungus that could destroy your turf. It’s simply not worth the risk of waiting. If we do determine that treatment is needed, then we can get started right away.
A common dilemma you may face is deciding whether it’s worth the investment in multiple fungicide treatments throughout the summer in order to be fully protected—or whether you should just repair the damaged areas. It’s ultimately a judgment call that your lawn care company can help you make. Some diseases will go away on their own if the lawn is well-maintained and given proper care. Sometimes just the conditions changing (such as weather warming up) is enough to help disease clear when coupled with good lawn care.
However, if the disease is widespread and threatening to damage a large portion of your lawn, it may be time to treat. Lawn fungicides work by stopping growth and therefore preventing further damage. However, they cannot fix the damage that already occurred. Damage can be addressed with recovery techniques in the fall, such as seeding.
Fungicides are typically effective for about 21 days and then need to be reapplied again.
While you might be tempted to handle lawn fungus control on your own, we would advise strongly against it. Though there are products at the big box stores to handle disease, it really does take an understanding of disease specifics to know which product will work best on the specific disease your lawn is facing. As we mentioned, a lot of disease symptoms overlap and making a proper lawn disease diagnosis really does require a professional eye. If you do try to treat disease yourself and do it incorrectly, it could be wasted money with no results.
Proper diagnosis is what lawn disease control companies do best. Assuming you’ve hired a reputable company with highly trained technicians, they’ll know exactly what to look for and be able to make that correct diagnosis. While we would love for you to know enough about the symptoms of lawn diseases in order to recognize a problem in its early stages, we don’t expect you to diagnose the specifics or know how to treat it.
Aiming For a Healthy, Disease-Free Lawn
As we mentioned early on, lawn disease is often related to a triangle effect in which the health of the grass, as well as its conditions, are also factors. Keeping your lawn weed-free and your soil healthy will also have an impact on reducing disease. In fact, a healthy lawn is your best natural defense against disease and pests.
While there is no surefire way to prevent disease from ever creeping in, handling it quickly will make all the difference in the world. At Joshua Tree, we cannot stress enough how important it is to get in touch with us quickly if you spot trouble.
We value communication with our clients and view the best possible lawn care as a two-way street in which the client is regularly communicating with us and we’re regularly communicating with them. It is this ongoing partnership that will ensure a lawn disease diagnosis is made early and in time to be treated when necessary. Our goal is to provide the best possible lawn care and we can’t do that without your help.
If you’d like to start a partnership toward a healthier, disease-free lawn, contact us for a free consultation or feel free to give us a call at 610-365-2200.
Image Sources: Dollar Spot