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The Ins and Outs of Lawn Care: Grass and Lawn Diseases

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While the best protection from lawn disease is preventative maintenance, even homeowners who are deeply dedicated to lawn care sometimes find themselves dealing with certain lawn ailments. Lawn diseases are tricky to properly diagnose so it’s best not to try treating the disease by yourself. When it comes to diagnosing and treating lawn diseases, it is best to call a lawn care professional who can identify the problem and create the best treatment plan for your specific needs.

What Causes Lawn Disease?

Soil is the foundation of your lawn. All soil contains beneficial fungi critical to plants’ ability to thrive. Beneficial fungi help to break down organic matter and play a key role in helping plant roots absorb nutrients. The more beneficial fungi in your soil, the better chance your lawn has of warding off disease. In addition to beneficial fungi, soil contains microscopic bacteria, fungi, phytoplasmas and nematodes that can hinder the ability to maintain a healthy lawn. The majority of lawn diseases, however, are caused by pathogenic fungi. When it reaches high levels in soil, disease development will occur as soon as the environmental conditions favored by the fungi are present.

Regular and seasonal lawn maintenance is a necessity for all homeowners because it helps to equip your lawn to fight off disease. Lawns with inadequate nutrient levels are most at risk, so regularly checking your soil health and practicing both fall lawn care maintenance and spring lawn care maintenance are crucial. There is an art to proper fertilization, watering and mowing, and these three factors can make or break your lawn.

A Lawn Care Exam: Some Common Lawn Diseases

Brown Patch — When high temperatures and high humidity are present, brown patch symptoms can appear overnight. Patches start off small and rapidly expand outward-sometimes up to 3 feet in diameter. Affected grass will start to wilt and often turn brown. The grasses most susceptible to this disease are Kentucky bluegrass, bentgrass and ryegrass.

Dollar Spot  — This lawn disease is most commonly seen during periods of extended moisture. Summer’s high humidity combined with several days of rain often leads to dollar spot. Tan spots ranging in size between 3 to 8 inches in diameter form and can multiply rapidly over the course of a few days. Grasses most susceptible to dollar spot are Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, bentgrass and ryegrass.

Pythium Blight — Of all lawn diseases, Pythium blight can be the most destructive. Soil with poor drainage is a risk factor. It first appears as small spots or patches of blighted grass. When periods of high humidity occur, Pythium blight can wreak havoc on your lawn in just 24 hours. Ryegrass, bentgrass and tall fescue are the most affected species.

Fusarium Blight — Also known as Summer Patch, Fusarium blight attacks the crown and roots of grass. Symptoms appear in the form of wilted grass that may become brown, with the onset of visible damage generally occuring months after infection. Kentucky bluegrass is the most susceptible grass species to this disease.

Red Thread — Of all lawn diseases, red thread is the easiest to diagnose due to its telltale reddish thread-like fungus. This disease generally shows up when long periods of damp, cold weather are present. Lawns with low nitrogen levels have the highest risk of infection.  Kentucky bluegrass, bentgrass, fine fescue and ryegrass can all be at risk for developing red thread disease.

Powdery Mildew — Grass affected by powdery mildew is dusted with a fine white powder, and is therefore fairly easy to recognize and diagnose. It occurs most often in shadier areas of the lawn during milder weather. Over-fertilization and over-watering can worsen this disease, which most commonly attacks Kentucky bluegrass.

Maintaining good soil and using the right species of grass for your yard work requirements are two key components of a healthy lawn. Using grass incompatible with your landscape and climate will make it prone to disease and other stress-related problems.  Save yourself from having to address the same problems time after time and use the invaluable services provided by a professional lawn care company.  Of all lawn care services, building the strongest foundation possible is the greatest investment for long-term lawn health.

Looking for a Lawn Care Company? Choose Lucas Tree Experts

If you’re experiencing problems with lawn disease, call Lucas Tree. Our experts have exceptional training and experience in diagnosing lawn diseases and tailoring specialized treatment programs. Using fungicides on your own has the potential to deeply damage your lawn, as well as put your personal safety at risk if not used properly.  We use fungicides only when absolutely necessary, and our state licensed applicators use only premium quality products to get the job done.  When it comes to high quality lawn care, our superior lawn services provide exceptional results that are never achieved at the expense of the health of the surrounding ecosystem.  Our experts create a remarkable foundation for your lawn by ensuring optimal soil health and choosing the perfect grass species for your yard.  Call us today and we’ll get you back on track in no time.