If you see concentrated areas of damage in your lawn, it's important to find out what is causing the damage. The most common destroyers of lawns are disease and insects. To determine exactly what could be causing it, the best thing to do is to hire a professional to examine the diseased area.
A professional will be able to run a diagnosis and recommend possible treatments and solutions. In the mean time, you should do what you can to learn more about what could be damaging your lawn.
Most lawn diseases are caused by one of many forms of fungus. To survive, the fungi need to obtain energy by feeding off of either dead organic matter (and convert the nutrients into energy) or find and take over a host plant. Some common locations you can find fungi in your lawn will be on dead patches, dead leaves, or in excessive thatch.
During peak fungus time of the year (late June–late September), a fungus can reproduce and discharge up to 100,000 spores an hour. This is because of rising temperatures, which provide warm, humid environments for spores to grow in.
The best way to treat grass fungus is to be proactive and treat at the first sign of damp lawn areas and not after the fungus has taken hold. Once the fungus has taken somewhat of a hold - treating it can take much more time to reverse.
Treatments can be both simple or complex depending upon your lawns condition. Sometimes a simple application of a systemic fungicide which the plant will absorb is enough to do the job. A systemic fungicide will also help to suppress the fungus after infection.
Other times a larger scale of application is needed to fully cure the lawn.
There are many potential causes of lawn disease including stressful weather conditions (temperature, humidity, rainfall) and improper mowing, overwatering, underwatering, and more.
If your lawn has developed a lawn disease, getting in touch with a lawn care professional is the best thing to do. It will ensure you can cure your lawn fast and get it back to being healthy.
Symptoms of lawn disease vary depending on the disease in question, but there are some things you can do to treat & prevent lawn disease from happening.
If you already have fungus, you'll need to get a topical fungicide and treat the area immediately. Don't mow over the area or walk on it. Each area may take several applications/treatments of fungicide. Apply another application in about 21 days. You may need a third application as well in another 21 days after the last treatment just to be safe.
An important note: Check your lawn and treat for fungus prior to any fertilizing/feeding in the spring time. Most fertilizers contain nitrogen, and fungi love nitrogen (it helps them grow). If you feed your lawn before treating it with a fungicide down and you have a fungus, that fungus will expand exponentially. Fungus spreading like that would be disastrous for your lawn.
We know how complicated fungus and lawn disease can be. That's why if you're unsure of what's happening or feel overwhelmed - contact a professional to help you out.
When it comes to dealing with lawn disease, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is especially true. It's much easier to prevent lawn diseases than it is to cure them (especially if they're overgrown).
Many diseases can infect lawns when the grass is wet. To keep grass dry, water only if needed and water deeply so you can go longer between each watering. For timing - watering in the morning, between 6AM and 10AM, is best since the grass blades have time to dry during the day. Avoid watering late in the day or at night, since the grass blades will stay wet all night, which can encourage diseases.
Mowing when the grass is too short weakens the plant, making it more susceptible to infection. Most grass types should be mowed using a higher (3-4 inch) setting. We have general rules for each grass type, Bermudagrass grass should be mowed using a lower (1.5 to 2 inches) mower setting and zoysiagrass should be mowed using a middle (2-3 inches) setting. It's a good idea to mow often enough so that no more than ⅓ the height of the grass blade is removed at one time.
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