Treating a Sick Lawn: Common Summer Diseases

Written by TaskEasy
on July 07, 2014

Summer weather can bring out the worst in your lawn. Bacteria that’s already living in your grass is ready to get out and attack. All it takes is the right environmental conditions in order for them to develop.

The best way to prevent diseases is to maintain and keep your lawn healthy and strong. Proper fertilization, aeration, mowing, and watering will all strengthen your grass against disease. If you suspect your lawn is struggling, be on the lookout for any of these symptoms so you can fight back before the problem gets worse.



Brown Patch

Brown patch develops during high humidity and hot weather. A key factor is when grass remains wet more than 10 hours a day and overnight temperatures reach above 70 degrees. That’s when brown patches become active. They can even appear overnight. Over-fertilized lawns are more prone to brown patch, so don’t feed your grass too much. Also, avoid watering at night when the moisture is likely to stay on the lawn for several hours.

What to Look For:
Look for dark, water-soaked grass that’s starting to turn purplish-green or brown. The circular patches can be several inches to 3 feet in diameter. The edges usually appear darker, like they’ve been soaked in water. During the early morning dew, a cobweb substance called mycelium may settle on the leaf blades.

How to Treat It:
Water deeply and infrequently. Improve the drainage and aeration. Set your mower blades high when mowing. Whatever you do, don’t add more fertilizer. When the disease stops, then you may apply a slow-release fertilizer to help the grass recover.


Dollar Spot

The main cause of dollar spot is low nitrogen. Mix that with some heavy dew and a drought and you’ve got perfect conditions for this disease to develop. Basically your lawn isn't getting enough nutrients, which decreases its ability to produce immune-boosting chemicals.

What to Look For:
Grass will turn a straw color, starting from the top part of the blade. The spots look like lesions. The patches are typically about the size of a silver dollar, which is where the disease gets its name from. Just like brown patch, dollar spot also causes mycelium to form in the morning when dew is present.

How to Treat It:
Add fertilizer with an adequate amount of nitrogen. Don’t apply too much or you’ll expose the grass to other diseases. Water deeply when needed and remove excess thatch. You can also help prevent the disease by removing morning dew. One way to do this is to drag a hose across the lawn while dew is present.



Red Thread

Red thread occurs in areas with low nitrogen and potassium. This disease is common with mild temperatures between 60-75 degrees.

What to Look For:
Look for red thread-like blades that lay on top of the grass and bind the leaves together. It grows in circular patches that are typically 2-8 inches in diameter, but can spread much larger.

How to Treat It:
Fertilize with nitrogen and potassium. Water deep and infrequently, and mow grass high.

Bugs and Pests

Keep in mind that there are things other than disease that can make your lawn from looking its best. Check out our article on lawn pests if you suspect bugs are the culprit.

Feeling overwhelmed with your lawn? No problem! Contact TaskEasy to get your price on lawn services.

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