Though it’s February, spring is just around the corner. With the wet, warmer weather comes the increased threat of virulent lawn diseases and fungi. Early identification is the only way to prevent extensive damage or even plant death. Here are a few helpful hints for identifying common lawn diseases in Georgia lawns this spring.
Brown patch is a very common lawn disease affecting Georgia lawns between November and May. This destructive fungus does not discriminate, affecting all grass types and species here in Georgia. When identifying common lawn diseases in Georgia, brown patch is one of the easiest. As the name suggests, brown patch appears in your lawn as patches of brown grass. In the morning, when the grass is still wet, it’s common to see “smoke rings” of black or gray grass around the border of the brown patch. This lawn disease relies on excess moisture, excess thatch, and warm temperatures. If the disease is allowed to persist, it results in a weaker lawn that is more susceptible to other lawn diseases, grass-damaging pests, and opportunistic weeds.
Prevention is the best way to protect your lawn from brown patch. Utilizing a comprehensive lawn care program to address all the needs of your grass over the course of a year ensures it has everything it needs to stay strong and resilient. Having your lawn aerated is also an excellent way to boost root health, create a stronger lawn, improve water drainage, and reduce thatch.
Large patch is just like brown patch, except it’s bigger and it only affects warm-season grasses. Unfortunately for us here in Georgia, we have a lot of warm-season grass. Species like zoysiagrass, Bermudagrass, St. Augustinegrass, and centipedegrass are common victims of an infestation of large patch. Like brown patch, large patch appears as circular or irregular shaped patches of brown grass. Unlike brown patch, these patches of infected grass can grow to be 25 feet in diameter or more!
As with brown patch, large patch loves warm, wet weather and high humidity. If you irrigate your lawn the right way, you can help your lawn avoid a large patch infection. Only water your lawn in the early morning so the excess water can evaporate throughout the day. The last thing you want is to have a wet lawn at night. Reduce excess thatch and improve lawn drainage with aeration services and consistently fertilize your lawn with a proper lawn care program.
One of the more exotic-looking spring lawn problems in Georgia is fairy ring. Fairy rings appear in the lawn in the spring, when there is consistent water on the lawn. The rings of affected grass are dark green or brown and they are surrounded by either a ring of darker green grass or a ring of mushrooms. Fairy ring is a lawn disease that comes back bigger every year. Some fairy rings have been known to grow several hundred feet in diameter! The worst part is the damage that it can cause. The fungus that causes fairy rings makes the affected soil and grass water-repellant. Eventually, the grass dries up and dies of dehydration.
If you find fairy rings in your lawn, then it’s important to re-wet the affected area. Using a rake, break up the thatch in these rings and aerate the soil. This allows water to pass through the water-repelling membrane and reach the roots below. Make sure you wash your tools after using them so you don’t spread the infection to other parts of your lawn.
Finally, there is dollar spot. Dollar spot is similar to brown patch and large patch in that it produces circular patches of brown, tan, or straw-colored grass. These patches are typically no larger than a silver dollar. However, as more dollar spots appear in the lawn, they can merge and grow to form large patches of diseased turf. This nefarious disease takes advantage of poorly-irrigated lawns. Whether there is too much water or not enough, dollar spot can use these conditions to invade.
The best way to prevent dollar spot is through proper watering techniques. Make sure you’re only watering in the early morning to give your grass time to dry off during the day. Your lawn typically only needs about one inch of water per week, depending on heat and rainfall. Keeping your lawn healthy all year with a lawn care program makes it more resilient to environmental factors, like drought conditions, making a dollar spot infection less likely.
It’s time to give your lawn the attention and care it needs to keep it resilient against lawn diseases, pests, weeds, and more. Turf management programs from the professionals at North Georgia Lawn are the perfect lawn care solutions. Based on the type of grass in your lawn, these programs aim to provide your lawn with everything it needs to resist infections and stay healthy. With the help of lawn care professionals at North Georgia Lawn, you won’t have to worry about identifying common lawn diseases in your Georgia lawn, we’ll do it for you.
If you’d like more information on how to get started right away, give us a call at (678) 508-0050 or request a FREE estimate here. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on our current offerings and be sure to follow our blog for the latest tips on lawn care, tree care, irrigation, pest control, landscaping, and more.