Lawn Disease Control

Lawn Disease Control

Maintaining a healthy, vigorously growing lawn is the best way to prevent a severe disease outbreak in a turfgrass. A 5,000 square foot lawn contains about four million (4,000,000) turfgrass plants, each requiring optimum amounts of water and fertilizer, the right mowing regime, and an aerated, well-drained soil. About 75 to 85% of common lawn diseases can be avoided altogether just by optimizing these practices to avoid stressed grass, which is much more susceptible to disease outbreaks than healthy grass.

For a disease to occur, all three sides of the “disease triangle” must be present. Even if a disease-causing pathogen is present, infection will not occur unless the environment (temperature, quantity of water, etc.) is conducive to disease development and a susceptible host (species of grass) is available. Homeowners can prevent major disease infestations from occurring by planting locally adapted lawn grasses and providing optimal care. Selecting a turfgrass species that is adapted to the climate and intended use and following through with cultural practices that favor the grass rather than the pathogen are important steps a home gardener can take to avoid severe lawn diseases. Many common diseases reduce the quality of the lawn for only a short time and do not result in adverse long-term impacts. Often, when the weather becomes more favorable to growth of the turfgrass, the lawn will recover on its own if proper cultural practices are maintained.

Lawn diseases are not always easy to diagnose. Some key factors and symptoms to help recognize disease include size and shape of dead and dying plants, specific spots on leaves, quality of root system, leaf color and growth characteristics, time of year, and temperature when disease developed. When diagnosing a lawn disease it is helpful to have a record of treatments such as fertilizer, herbicides, mowing height and frequency, watering frequency and amounts.

Grass disease can ruin a lawn’s appearance. However, good turf management practices usually are adequate to prevent serious damage. Integrated cultural practices for turf management and pest control will limit the need for fungicides. Disease development often is associated with the lack of proper application of these turf management practices:

Utilize a turf suitable to your climate and conditions such as soil pH, bio-life, sun/shade conditions and growth habits.
Water your lawn properly. Established lawn watering should be done when grass shows any of the following signs:
The leaf blades are folded in half lengthwise-this is the grasses way of conserving moisture.
Footprints remain visible after it has been walked on
Your grass has a blue-grey color instead of green, and then ultimately turns brown.
Wilting leaves.
Rolling leaves.
When you do water, water deeply; soil should be moist two inches below the root zone. Root length and grass height are directly related. If you mow at three inches, the soil should be moist to a depth of five inches. This generally requires about 1 inch of water and should last 7 to 10 days. Monitor your lawn for the above signs to determine watering frequency. Early morning (4 to 6am) is the best time to irrigate, while evening irrigation is more efficient. Too much or too little irrigation causes lawn diseases.
Timely organic fertilization with the right amounts and balanced nutrients.  All of our liquid fertilizers are supplemented with a natural nutrient package derived from Seaweed, Humic Acids, and Molasses. What this means to you is that you are getting a soil improving fertilizer with added vitamins, bio-stimulants, and trace elements. Each product contains vitamins B-1, B-12, gibberellins (plant hormones that regulate growth and influence stem elongation, germination, dormancy, flowering, sex expression, enzyme induction, and leaf and fruit senescence (biological aging is the change in the biology of an organism as it ages after its maturity including energy storage for winter survival) classified on the basis of structure as well as function), indoles (a five-membered nitrogen-containing pyrrole ring essential for chlorophyll production and regulation) , auxins (plant hormones which are classified on the basis of function) as well as trace elements of boron, iron, zinc, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum and sulfur.  The nutrients in our liquid fertilizers are chelated, meaning they are instantly available to the plant. Our NPK sources are salt and chlorine free, which means safe for the plant and soil. In fact, all our raw materials used in our liquid fertilizers are classed as food grade materials.  Our liquid fertilizers can be applied through any type of garden sprayer or fertigation equipment. For smaller areas you can use a watering can if that is more convenient.
Consistent mowing at the recommended height.  Grass grows on its schedule, not yours.  If the ideal height of your turf is three inches, you should mow when it reaches four inches.  The ideal height plus 1/3.
Provide for adequate sunlight and air movement.  Turf grasses vary in shade tolerance.  Trimming the lower branches not only increases sunlight to the lawn, it improves air circulation that will reduce the excess moisture that promotes lawn disease.
Maintenance of good soil aeration and drainage.  Compacted soils cause unhealthy plants, lawns and trees. They stay soggy when wet, and turn rock hard when they dry out in the summer. When soils are “tight”, necessary air, water and nutrients can not move through the soil.  Disease occurs. Roots are stunted. Beneficial micro-organisms can’t survive. Plants are stressed and weakened.  When you are doing everything else right, soil compaction will ruin all your efforts.
Thatch management.  Thatch is a tightly woven mat of both dead and living grass parts -roots, stems, blades, runners and clippings -that forms on top of the soil. Thatch soaks up water like a sponge and prevents the water from getting into the ground. The grass roots are found to be more in the thatch layer than in the soil, which means the lawn is more susceptible to heat and drought damage. A thatch condition means a weak, insect and disease prone lawn.  If your lawn has a true thatch condition, you cannot alleviate it with hand raking, power raking or so-called “dethatching” machines. These will only skim the surface of the thatch layer. If you dig in any deeper, you will tear out the grass. The best way to reduce thatch is to get it to decompose. For this to occur, you need to create a healthy soil. That is well aerated and bioactive. Biological Dethatcher makes sure that the specific microbes necessary for thatch decomposition are present in your soil.

Common lawn disease identification with pictures


The Organic Lawn Care Store

Age: 62, There’s a lot of experience in these gray hairs!

Education: Master of Science in Quality Management, Quality Control

Status: Married 38 years, 4 children, 10 grandkids

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Probably the most recognized health institution in the world is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, located in Atlanta. It’s also one of Georgia’…

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