It can strike without warning, spreads quickly and can leave your lawn looking like a disaster area in just a few days.
Lawn diseases, are always there but you can't always see them, most times your lawn fights them off before they have a chance to infect. Lawn diseases often tend to strike when your grass is under stress such as, environmental changes, high traffic areas, or improper mowing, fertilizing or watering habits.
Brown Patch (Rhizoctonia Solani) is a common lawn disease that many lawns are infected with. Brown patch occurs in hot climates with not much rain. Symptoms of brown patch include "browning" of the grass in areas that can measure from 5 inches to 10 feet. Luckily, Brown Patch, along with other lawn disease are highly preventable, if following the right guidelines.
Testing your soil for nutrient deficiencies is the first step in preventing lawn disease. This step will determine which nutrients to add to get your lawn back to health to ward off disease. Nutrient deprived soil is more susceptible to disease, pests and other stresses.
Keeping up with a fertilizing schedule gives you a healthy, well-fed lawn. A well-fed lawn allows the root system a better chance to fight heat, cold, drought, mowing mishaps, foot traffic, and disease.
Everyone knows that keeping your grass too long can harm your lawn, but did you know that cutting grass too short can cause harm as well?
A good lawn height to maintain is 3-4 inches while never cutting off more than 1/3 of the grass blade at once. Cutting too much of the blade at one time can cause shock to the grass creating weaker blades that more susceptible to disease and pests.
Using a dull lawn mower blade can leave ragged edges on grass blades. This gives diseases the perfect entryway to infect your lawn. Always use lawn mower blades that are sharpened to create a clean cut, leaving the edge of the grass blade closed to disease and pests.
Aerating and dethatching aren't just practices to make your lawn appear lush and thick, this also assists in soil drainage to keep your lawn free of disease. Soil compaction and thatch can lead to a layer of water sitting on your lawn, inviting pests and disease to invade and multiply.
To test for soil drainage problems dig a few holes in your lawn that are approximately six inches deep and fill with water. Monitor the time it takes for the soil to retain the moisture in the holes. Water should be soaked into the soil in about one hour, if not, your soil needs aerated.
Watering approximately 1 inch a week, including precipitation, is best to keep your lawn filled with moisture while not over-flooding. Your lawn should be watered earlier in the morning so the soil has enough time to retain the moisture before nightfall. Watering too close to sunset or overnight doesn't give your soil enough time to retain the moisture, leaving a layer of water on your lawn.
Diseases start off in small patches and spread over time. Observe your lawn at least once a week for problem areas and treat immediately if any are spots. This can give you a head start in the battle against disease.
Mowing, fertilizing, and watering all play a key role in keeping lawn diseases and pests off your lawn. Lawn disease can strike without warning or reason, keeping a healthy lawn with a strong root system is the best way to fight against an invasion of disease and pests.