Signs Of Lawn Fungus Damage
Naturally, your lawn is filled with fungi and spores. Some are beneficial as they add nutrients to your lawn, while others can be destructive. It takes susceptibility and a favorable environment for fungus to erupt in lawns. Watch out for the following signs if you suspect that your lawn has a fungal disease, not any other problem:
- Darkened patches that look wet and slimy: Slime molds that cause can be found in almost all lawn soils. They may appear on decaying logs, mulch or fallen leaves. A lawn with excessive thatch is also likely to develop these molds.
- Brown patches commonly found in cool-season grasses. A fungal infection starts off with yellowed leaf blades, which turn brown overtime.
- Threadlike coatings on and around turfgrass blades, appearing gray, black or pink powdery.
- White, yellow or brown patches or rings whose diameter increases over time especially if left untreated.
- Grass blades with tattered patches.
What Is Grass Fungus And How To Spot It
Essentially, grass fungus diseases can strike your lawn in a number of forms. You could find dry, brown patches or rings and slimes in your yard. The fungus can attack the grass as well as the soil. You can easily identify grass fungus as there are some classic symptoms of the disease:
- Look for any thin, frayed, distorted or discolored grass blades showing up in your lawn. You might also be be able to see the soil beneath them.
- Brown, yellow, white patches, or rings in the grass
- Check for discoloration on blades and stems.
- Black, purple, gray, orange, or red spots on the grass can be a sign of leaf spot.
- If you notice dark, slimy, greasy and wet looking grass, it probably indicates a grease spot infection.
- Check if the grass is getting a black, pink, gray powdery or threadlike covering. This may be a sign of powdery mildew, red thread or pink patch.
Mow The Diseased Parts
Grass fungus spreads quickly, which is why mowing is a suitable solution to control it. When mowing, pay attention to the infected parts. Remove the grass clippings, fallen leaves, or debris that could be sitting on your lawn. Dont leave the grass clippings as they still carry live fungi that may spread to the rest of the grass.
On the other hand, mowing the diseased parts is only effective if the infestation is still fresh. Prolonged fungus infestation might need other control measures before mowing.
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Naturalize The Infected Parts With Groundcovers
Some wild plants like dandelions are drought-resistant and hardy. They have better coping skills for dealing with fungus. Planting these groundcovers in lawn areas that are susceptible to fungal infestation will help keep the infection at bay. Its the symbiotic-based relationship between grass and flowers that control the fungus.
Follow these steps when planting the groundcovers:
Step 1: Mark the area you want to plant with flour
Once youve identified which part you want to introduce the groundcover, mark it with flour. Remove the top layer of sod if you want to start planting sooner. Add your layers on top of the grass.
Step 2: Build the layers using a six-sheet newspaper
Spread the newspaper sheets and saturate them with water. This helps it to stay in place as you spread 3-6 inches of compost. For summer months or periods of long dry spells, add some water to the layers to keep it moist.
Step 4: Edge the bed perimeter
Edging the flowerbed perimeter using decorative materials like bricks helps keep turf from spreading into it. The bed may take between three and six months to develop. You can plant the flowers in a pot first, then transplant them when the bed is ready. Youll know its ready if the newspaper or turf is gone. Using a gardening trowel to install to dig the soil and sow the seeds.
How To Prevent Lawn Fungus In The First Place
Unfortunately, a lot of times turf disease is beginning to fester before homeowners realize it and they make the problem worse. Watering habits and mowing habits are two practices that can ultimately have a pretty big impact on disease.
For one, it is recommended that you water early in the morning which gives the sun time to dry your lawn out. When you water in the evening hours, that water sits on the lawn and creates a habitat that can breed fungal growth.
Mowing habits also make a difference. You should keep your mower blades sharp and clean in order to prevent spreading disease. If you are utilizing a professional lawn mowing service and they are not cleaning their mower deck after each lawn , they could be spreading disease from one lawn to another.
In addition to certain cultural practices, you can also invest in preventative care. At Master Lawn, our Gold Program includes preventive turf disease treatments already built-in, allowing you to put disease worries out of your mind.
Given the severity of some of these diseases, a proactive approach is ideal so that you never even give these menaces the chance to wreak havoc.
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Use A Commercial Fungicide To Kill Fungus
You can use store-bought fungicide or a natural fungicide. Store-bought options come in two styles contact and systemic.
Contact fungicide is a liquid that coats the blades of grass and kills fungus on contact. Systemic fungicide typically comes in small granules that you spread across the soil.
Many fungicides are designed as all-purpose fungus killers while others are designed to target specific types of fungi. Always read the label to ensure that the product can treat your problem.
Black Lawn Fungus Prevention
Keeping a well-maintained lawn goes a long way toward preventing slime mold from forming. Lawns with poor drainage and excess thatch are more likely to develop slime mold. Aerating and dethatching your lawn annually will improve drainage and remove the organic debris building up on the grass blade.
Make sure your lawn gets plenty of sunlight. Trim back tree and bush branches if necessary to reduce shady areas in the lawn.
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Dow Eagle 20ew Fungicide Liquid Formula
DOW Eagle 20EW is my first option in terms of lawn fungicides. Ive used it many times when my lawn was affected by the Brown patch and always had the best results.
According to the product label, DOW Eagle 20EW fungicide can be effectively used for a great variety of established turfgrass, landscape ornamentals, fruit trees, and vines.
I find a positive thing the fact that it can be also for fruit trees and vines because if any solution is left after the lawn treatment, I can use it at any time for these plants.
Keep in mind that the fungicide can also be used for prevention, not only when the plant is already affected by fungus. As a matter of fact, when it comes to fungal infections, prevention is always preferred.
If uses according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer, a good fungicide should never harm the grass .
DOW Eagle 20EW Fungicide is effective against all major lawn fungal infections, such as:
- Brown patch
Causes Of Lawn Fungal Disease
Lawns are full of fungal spores that are usually harmless, although certain conditions can cause them to germinate and lead to the harmful diseases mentioned above.There are several causes of lawn fungus, most commonly:
- Weather conditions
Whilst some of these are uncontrollable factors – the unpredictable British weather for example – keeping an eye on how much or how little you are watering your turf and mowing to appropriate heights are both aspects of lawncare that you can control.
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Common Types Of Lawn Fungus
Curious about what type of fungus you might have? While the strategies outlined above apply to most lawn fungus and disease problems feel free to learn more about some of the more common diseases and how to identify them:
Dollar Spot Appears as small, round patches of light tan grass about the size of a silver dollar.
Brown Patch Mostly circular patches that start out as yellow and can turn into brown, dead grass. Patches can be several inches to several feet in diameter.
Powdery Mildew Appears as white powder along leaf blades. Usually doesnt cause a lot of destruction in grass.
Leaf Spot Leaf blades will have spots that are brown/purple.
Red Thread Easy to identify by its reddish pink threads that appear at the top of leaf blades. Usually doesnt cause a lot of destruction and can be fixed with improving cultural practices.
Summer Patch Irregular circular patches of dead grass. Grass blades die back from the tip.
Rusts Blades will be coated with orange-red spores that give it a rust color.
What Else Might Be Wrong With My Grass
There are several other reasons your grass might be dying or yellow. A pest infestation, underwatering, iron chlorosis and too much shade also cause your yard to die.
When it comes to lawn pests, chinch bugs are the most common culprit to eat away at your grass. These insects typically start near concrete areas such as driveways, sidewalks or curbs. To test for chinch bugs, cut the hole out of the bottom of a metal can . Push the can into the yard about one inch deep near the dead patch. Fill the can with water. If you have chinch bugs, these pesky pests will float to the top of the water.
Grubs can also damage your lawn by feeding on the roots. These creatures can cause damage to your grassespecially after you resodwhich can result in your being able to lift turf like a carpet, especially if you have St. Augustine. To determine if you have a grub problem, cut a one-foot square piece of sod in your yard where you believe you have a problem. Lift the section up and visibly inspect it to see if you see the grubs in the soil.
If your grass needs more water, the blades will typically curl in. When you walk across a lawn that is water-deficient, you will be typically be able to see your footprints. To avoid lawn damage from insufficient water, try to water deeply and less frequently instead of watering every day.
If your grass has yellow stripes or is completely yellow, you may have iron chlorosis. This condition occurs when you have too much phosphorus in your soil.
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Brown Patch Lawn Disease
Brown Patch and Dollar Spot can be easily confused for one anotherthey prefer similar conditions and even manifest in similar ways. The main way you can tell them apart is simple, though: Brown Patch will leave large, circular areas of discolored grass on your lawn as opposed to the small patches found with a Dollar Spot infection.
What Are The Different Types Of Grass Fungus
Grass fungus is very specialized and targets different types of lawns at different times of the year, under specific conditions. Knowing the kind of grass you have and the weather conditions can help you narrow down the options.
The problem, however, is that you cannot identify a grass fungus infection until the disease has completely taken hold. So to get rid of grass fungus, you must first be able to identify the type of infection and how it works.
Not all fungicides are the same and some are more effective than others for specific fungal diseases. Also, some fungal diseases can be corrected by simply changing your lawn care.
Here are examples of some of the common grass fungus, how to identify them, and the best methods to use to get rid of them.
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How Do I Get Rid Of Lawn Fungus
First and foremost, you want to spot it early as many lawn fungus diseases can spread rapidly. If you are already utilizing professional lawn care and have a lawn care technician visiting your property regularly, then theyll be keeping an eye out for early signs of a problem.Even so, breakthroughs can occur in between visits. If you spot fungus on grass, you should contact your lawn care provider. There are lawn fungicide products that can be used to control the fungal spores.
Is Laundry Detergent An Effective Lawn Fungus Treatment
While laundry detergent will effectively kill lawn fungus, itll also kill your desirable turfgrass. This is because dish soap/laundry detergent contains surfactants that work to make oil and dirt molecules water soluble. These surfactants tend to be indiscriminate, killing off all plants that they come into contact with.
Insecticidal soap- on the other hand- doesnt contain any chemical surfactants and is simply a combination of natural oils/fats with an alkali such as sodium hydroxide. However, insecticidal soap will kill insects but not fungi mycelium- leaving you with laundry detergent/dish soap as your most effective option.
Laundry soap kills fungi such as mushrooms by neutralizing the hyphae to inhibit mycelium growth. However, its advisable to go for a mild dish soap instead of a strong laundry detergent, as the latter will leave more visible damages on your desirable turfgrass.
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Add Sand And/or Pebbles
Fungus gnats want to get to damp soil to lay their eggs. If you make it harder for the gnats to get to the soil, you’ll have an easier time winning this battle.
You can still water your plants from the top if there is a layer of sand or pebbles. Some plants might even prefer it if there are stones with water droplets. This can make it easier for leaves to find water, and it can help put moisture into the air through evaporation.
Not all plants like sand, so read up on your plant before adding a layer of sand. Pebbles are easy to remove, sand isn’t.
Bioadvanced Fungus Control For Lawns
Fungus Control for Lawns from BioAdvanced is a liquid fungicide designed to cure and prevent the common lawn fungal diseases such as Brown Patch, Powdery Mildew, Dollar Spot, Anthracnose, Fusarium Patch, Red Thread, Stripe Smut, Summer Patch, Rust, Snow Mold, Gray Leaf Spot, and more.
According to the product info, this fungicide has a weatherproof formula that provides long protection for your turf after it is applied .
This product can easily be connected to the water hose and sprinkled over your lawn.
As mentioned before, the downside of the liquid fungicides that are spread using the water hose is that these are not very economical in terms of the quantity used.
Even though its specified that the product can be used for up to 5,000 square feet, if youre not careful and you use too high water pressure, you can quickly waste a big portion of the liquid.
Thats why I personally prefer the granular or the liquid fungicides that you manually have to dilute with water and spray them using a manual hose sprayer.
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Is Baking Soda A Fungicide
Baking soda has been shown to be used as an effective fungicide. The ion balance of the fungus is disrupted by an application of baking soda. Eventually the spores collapse, dying off. The baking soda then leaves behind an alkaline residue, which helps kill the remaining fungal spores.
If you are looking for a homemade solution to a fungal problem, then baking soda is a good option. Its easy to make, cheap, and effective.
While you should be careful with it, baking soda is safe to handle . Take care if using around children and pets, and keep the solution away from children.
As mentioned, baking soda is also known as sodium bicarbonate. You may notice the first part of that is sodium aka a major component of salt. The sodium is integral to the antifungal properties, as it sucks the water out of the fungus. However, this is also what makes it potentially dangerous to plants.
Does Milk Kill Fungus
Milk is an organic fungicide and can be very effective at killing powdery mildew. You can create a spray by mixing the following two ingredients:
- 1 cup skimmed milk
- 9 cups of water
Every other week, apply this mixture to the lawn. Using too much milk can result in sooty mould, so stick to the exact recipe.
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Does Lawn Fungus Control Work
The short answer is, yes, lawn fungus control products definitely work when applied properly to treat various types of fungal diseases. Of course, the timing is important.
Getting fungal activity under control quickly is important. Thats because it can be highly destructive in a short amount of time, even overnight. The type of products utilized also matters. Obviously, professional-grade products are going to work better than store-bought ones.
There are various formulations for disease control products. While a lot of companies utilize liquid fungicide products, we have found a top-of-the-line granular product that is ultimately more effective and accurate.
Instead of mixing up a huge tank of product and hoping we have the right amount from property to property, we can apply just the right amount of granular product exactly where it needs to go.
How To Treat Lawn Fungus Naturally
A waterlogged lawn is a conducive breeding ground for fungi. While your lawn may look lush and green, eventually, its almost inevitable, that you may need to apply natural fungal control measures, as part of your lawn care routine.
However, the success of fungi control using natural methods depends on the severity of the infestation, grass type, and your routine lawn care practices.
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