Gray Leaf Spot is Rotting Your Lawn

It certainly has been a record breaking spring here in Dallas & Fort Worth. Heavy rains, extreme humidity and mild temperatures have created the perfect environment for many fungal diseases. Brown patch disease, Take-All Root Rot and a multitude of insects have been exploding all over town. Gray Leaf Spot is another disease we are seeing in lawns across the Metroplex.

Gray leaf spot most often affects St. Augustine lawns. This fungal disease is easily identified by the grayish-brown spots along the leaf blades of your grass. Over time, the spots spread and girdle the leaves. You’ll then notice a very distinct overall brown cast across your entire lawn. It’s not pretty.

What causes gray leaf spot

Most often, gray leaf spot is brought on by over-watering your lawn in the spring and fall when temperatures are mild. However, with our intensely wet spring, many lawns have become infected without our “help”.

Early stages of Gray Leaf spot is identifiable by the gray, oval shaped spots that form on grass blades.

The perfect temperatures for Gray Leaf Spot to form are between 70 and 95° F. Lawns in Dallas typically have problems with gray leaf spot in spring and fall.

Establishing a new St. Augustine lawn?

Gray leaf spot is very common in newly sodded St. Augustine lawns. The first year of care for a new lawn means it must be watered often to successfully root-in. All that regular moisture helps the fungal disease thrive. However, please keep in mind that even established lawns can develop the disease if they are being overwatered or the weather is very wet.

Over time, the gray spots turn a tan color with a dark brown border.

Damage control

Gray leaf spot can be treated with a variety of natural fungicides. They may need to be reapplied several times to fully control the disease. However, you can often heal your lawn without the use of fungicides if you follow good maintenance practices. Minimizing leaf wetness is the best way to prevent gray leaf spot. Always water your lawn early in the morning so that leaf blades will dry after the sun comes up. Watering in the evening or overnight is a big cause of fungal disease problems.

As any kind of stress can worsen the disease, be sure your overall lawn maintenance practices are beneficial. Never mow more than ⅓ of the leaf blade in one mowing, pick up clippings if your lawn is infected and avoid high-Nitrogen fertilizers in late-spring or early summer.

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