Lawn Fungus in NH Starts Early

grass with fungusBy Nick Makris

We are starting to see a lot of lawn diseases such as red thread, leaf spot, dollar spot and, brown patch.  These turf diseases become active when humidity and temperatures are high.  Given that the conditions are ideal right now there are a few things that you can do as a homeowner to avoid lawn fungus and we can do as your lawn care provider.

Watering should be done only in the early morning if possible.  Watering in the evening or overnight can leave the grass damp and promote the spread of the disease.  When watering, avoid short bursts of water daily and favor deep soaking once or twice a week.  This will ensure that the water gets deep into the soil where the roots can absorb it.  Shallow watering will equate to shallow root structure and will not stand in drought conditions.  Keep in mind that lawns need one inch of water per week to survive and to to be healthy.

Keep your mower blades sharp and clean.  Dull blades tear the grass instead of cutting it creating lesions that the disease will easily enter and infect the plant.  Washing the blades after each mow will also mitigate the spread of the disease.  Lastly raise the height of your mower so that the turf is at least 3 inches and mow regularly.  Shorter grass will not only lose color faster it is more susceptible to disease and turf that is allowed to grow high and then scalped down will go into shock and most certainly contract disease.  A good rule of thumb is to remove 30%; never take off more than that or the turf will suffer.  Lawns should be mowed at least once a week and can be mowed twice a week when it is growing quickly.

We recommend a fungicide treatment as soon as there is a sign of disease.  The earlier we catch the problem the better.  If we can catch it early enough, often times one treatment will cure the problem, however if it is let go for too long we will have to apply a second treatment 17 – 22 days later to gain complete control of the disease.

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