As winter gives way to spring, the warmer temperatures and consistently wet temperatures create the perfect conditions for a number of lawn diseases. Being able to identify these diseases early helps you avoid irreparable damage. Here are a few of the most common spring lawn diseases to monitor for in North Carolina.
Dollar spot is one of the most common spring lawn diseases affecting North Carolina lawns. Be on the lookout for small circles of white, tan, or straw-colored patches of grass. These spots are usually around the size of a half-dollar (thus the name) but can grow to over 6 inches in diameter. Over time, these spots can merge and create large patches of infected turf. Dollar spot is a fungus that becomes active in the spring when the temperatures at night reach 50 degrees or more. Dollar spot takes advantage of drought-weakened grass or grass that has been oversaturated with water for too long. Heavy dew and consistent wet weather help fuel the growth of dollar spot.
When it comes to preventing dollar spot, the most important factor is irrigation. Dollar spot wreaks havoc on improperly watered lawns. Whether it be too much water or too little water, getting it right can mean the difference between healthy grass and diseased grass. Make sure you only water in the early morning. This gives the grass enough time to dry out during the day, reducing the amount of excess water sitting on the grass. Keeping your lawn healthy with consistent fertilization and proper maintenance is essential too. Invest in aeration services once per year to improve your lawn’s drainage and reduce the excess thatch in your lawn.
Brown patch is another common lawn disease in the spring. This infamous lawn disease appears as large brown patches of infected turf. The grass in the affected areas turns tan, brown, or yellow and the patches can be anywhere from 6 inches to many feet in diameter. When the grass is wet, you may even see a black or gray ring, known as a smoke ring, around the affected turf. Like dollar spot and most other lawn diseases, brown patch is worse on lawns that are too wet or have suffered from drought conditions. Watch for brown patch in the late spring, when temperatures go above 60 degrees.
Brown patch prevention is an all-year effort combining proper fertilization, consistent maintenance, and well-timed lawn care services. Investing in a lawn care program ensures your lawn receives the perfect fertilization plan throughout the year with the added benefit of disease monitoring. Consistent lawn mowing and smart irrigation create a healthy foundation for the lawn, making it more resilient against common spring lawn diseases. Aeration reduces the amount of pooling water in your lawn by improving drainage and reducing thatch.
Large patch is similar to brown patch, except large patch only affects warm-season grass. Centipedegrass, zoysiagrass, St. Augustinegrass, Bermudagrass, and seashore paspalum are all at risk of developing large patch in the spring. When weather conditions are cool and wet, like in the early spring, large patch is in heaven. Excess thatch, too much water, and a weak immune system leave the lawn vulnerable to large patch and many other lawn diseases. This devastating lawn disease appears as huge patches of brown, tan, or yellow grass. The patches can reach 25 feet in diameter or more.
In the early spring, when the weather is cool and wet, monitor your lawn for the common symptoms of large patch. You can prevent this disease with proper lawn care throughout the year and smart lawn maintenance. Reduce water pooling with aeration services and make sure you’re only watering your lawn in the early morning and only when it needs the water.
Finally, there are fairy rings. These funky looking lawn fungi appear as large arcs or rings of dark green or dying grass. Around these rings will be a ring of darker green turf or a ring of mushrooms. While this common spring lawn disease may look strange and interesting, don’t let your guard down. Fairy rings can be devastating. Capable of growing to be well over 100 feet in diameter, the fungus in fairy rings acts as a water repellant on the grass and soil. Without treatment, the affected grass will die from dehydration. The worst part is that fairy ring continues coming back every year, getting bigger each time.
As with most lawn diseases, fairy ring relies on excess moisture and a weakened lawn for it to thrive. If you notice fairy rings in your lawn, it’s important to aerate these areas. Break up the affected turf and excess thatch with a rake and have the soil aerated to allow water to reach the roots again. Keep your lawn healthy all year with proper fertilization and maintenance.
Keep Your Lawn Safe From Lawn Diseases With Help From Pine Valley Turf
Keeping your lawn safe from these common spring lawn diseases ultimately comes down to prevention. The best way to prevent lawn diseases is by boosting the health of your lawn throughout the year with a strong lawn care program and well-timed aeration services. Here at Pine Valley Turf, we have a variety of lawn care plans to suit you and your lawn’s needs.
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