Lawn Diseases

Diseased Lawn photo

Whether you live in warm season, cool season or tropical climates narrows the field from the beginning. Each grass species has certain diseases and pests that under the “wrong” conditions; can exterminate a lawn through a slow death or a rapid loss. Within each species there are varieties that have been “helped” along and bred to be more resistant to certain diseases and or pests. Grasses from Mother Nature were not meant to be mowed but in choosing these species for lawns this is exactly how we use them. With the introduction to mowing creeping grasses produce thatch and thatch build up and this condition invites disease and some pests to move in. Bunching grasses don’t generally have this problem. But already you have a choice to make. Bunch or creeping?

Climates have a lot to do with the same problems as well as the soil conditions (whether sandy or clay or loamy). In the deep south nematode infestations occur in dry, hot, sandy soils while the north has to contend with snow mold. So you have chosen the grass and sown, sodded, or sprigged and it is really coming along.

It is now time to delegate the Lawn Monitor. Whether this is you or you have a service to mow the grass it should be a weekly observation of the condition of the lawn. And some nightly excursions as well for some insects do their greatest damage at night. Coloration differences, patchy growth, brown spots or other differences that appear in an otherwise healthy, maintained lawn mean something is amiss. Now is the time to get out that trusty book again and try to identify whether the damage is pest or disease related? Pests can generally be seen in some form and either in the grass or under it. Billbugs and grubs are two that will be found under the sod itself and you will have to cut a section of the sod and pull it back and check the soil. Five or more of anything is destructive and it’s time to treat with a killer of some sort. An easy way of collecting above ground bugs is to flood a small area with a soapy solution for about ten minutes and the bugs will generally float to the surface

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