Lawn Fungus Prevention and Treatment
July 2015

Once the dog days of summer come along, so does fungus in lawns.  Most lawn diseases are caused by parasitic forms of plant life called fungi which find lawns inviting.  Microscopic spores are spread from place to place by wind, water, animals, lawn mowers or people.  

Knowing which kind of fungus you have is important. If your lawn has fungal diseases such as Red Thread, Leafspot, Summer Patch, Brown Patch, Dollar Spot or Stripe Smut, you should not apply a nitrogen rich fertilizer because this will spur the growth of the disease. These can be treated with Lawn Fungus Control.  Applying Love Your Lawn-Love Your Soil will enhance the effectiveness of Lawn Fungus Control as well as aid in reducing soil compaction.  Be sure to follow the mowing guidelines below.

Excessive thatch favors drought stress, and disease survives in the thatch layer. Dethatching in the fall will help prevent this next year. 

Proper Mowing Height and Fungus
Mowing at the proper height stimulates a healthy growing lawn to resist fungus. The lawn should not be cut lower than 3". Low cuts or scalping and dull mower blades can create wounds limiting the natural ability of turfgrass to resist infection. 

 Mow your lawn when the grass is dry, particularly if you already have a fungal disease. A dull blade rips and pulls the grass blades, leaving ragged tears that both weaken the plant and promote fungal growth and other grass diseases. A sharp blade, on the other hand, cuts cleanly, allowing the plant to heal and recover quickly. Sharp blades also let you complete your lawn-cutting chore faster and with less stress on the mower. Have the mower blades sharpened twice a mowing season. If you have fungus, mow the affected areas last to avoid spreading it. 

Proper Watering and Fungus
 Too much moisture causes disease development on turfgrass.  Water logged soils do not have enough air circulation and the grass plant roots cannot absorb nutrients well.  It is important to manage the amount of water on your lawn from both natural rainfall and additional watering to avoid diseases.  Deep, infrequent watering to avoid drought stress is best.  Watering deeply two or three times a week in the morning, for 30-45 minutes when necessary,will encourage deep root growth. Drought stressed turf lacks vigor and is prone to disease.  Watering early in the morning to allow leaf blades to dry is best. Do not water after 4pm.  At this time of day, the soil is at it's hottest but the air temperature is beginning to cool. Water will not evaporate well at this time and will encourage fungal growth.  Selective pruning of trees and shrubs helps sunlight reach the grass areas and increases air circulation.
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Jonathan Green

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