common lawn diseases, lawn care, maintenance, fungal diseases, brown patch, red thread, rust disease, snow mold, summer patchIs something not quite right with your lawn, but you aren’t sure what it is? Use this quick reference to diagnose common lawn diseases in your yard. 

When disease hits your grass, controlling it can be a challenge unless you know how to spot it and understand its causes. Many causes of common lawn diseases are fungal. Fortunately, with proper maintenance, you can prevent and resolve most lawn diseases. 

Fungal lawn disease gains the upper hand in your yard when three things are in play: disease pathogens, weather conditions, and susceptible grasses. While you can’t control the weather, you can learn how to identify common lawn diseases, and take action.  

How Do I Spot Lawn Disease in My Yard?

Here are 5 common lawn diseases and how to identify them.

Brown Patch

Brown patch disease typically affects tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, bentgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and St. Augustine grass. Brown patch commonly affects lawns in hot, humid summer weather. 

What to Look For:

  • Circles of sunken, dead grass varying in size up to three feet wide. 
  • The grass blades will darken, wilt, and die in a circle smoke-gray in color. 
  • The outside will often appear darker than the inside. 

Wet leaves, high humidity, overfertilizing, and excess watering will facilitate the spread. 

Red Thread

Red thread disease generally plagues Bermuda grass, bluegrasses, fescues, bentgrasses, and perennial ryegrass. It thrives in nutrient-poor soils in cool, humid conditions of early spring when temperatures are mild and wet. 

What to Look For:

  • Thin, red hairs or strands that bind blades together extending from the grass blades. 
  • Red or bleached-looking patches that appear as grass blades wither at the tips. 

This grass disease can survive for years if left untreated. Under fertilizing, high humidity, poor air circulation, too much shade, excess thatch, wet leaves, and compacted soil contribute to red thread growth. 

Rust Disease

Rust disease is found mainly on zoysia, perennial ryegrass, and Kentucky bluegrass. It pops up in the late summer and early fall, especially in shady areas with poor ventilation. Sometimes it will appear in the spring if the grass hasn’t been properly fertilized. 

What to Look For:

  • Irregular patches of weak, thinning grass that develop yellow specks that become rust-colored. 

Orange-red pustules can hitch a ride on tools, shoes, and mowers. Rust disease propagates in areas with too much shade, extended wetness, high-humidity, drought, and under fertilization. 

Snow Mold

Snow mold typically affects ryegrasses and creeping bentgrass. There are two kinds of snow mold: pink and gray snow mold. This common lawn disease general shows up under snow cover but has been known to grow during cool, wet weather as well. 

What to Look For:

  • Small, circular pinkish or gray spots that spread up to a foot or more. 
  • Grass blades that turn red-brown, and then tan. 
  • The morning sun reveals white or pinkish fungal threads. 

Overly cool fall temps combined with wet conditions, nitrogen overfertilization in the fall, poor drainage, and too much shade set the stage for this disease to strike in the winter. 

Summer Patch

Summer patch primarily affects Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescues, but annual bluegrass and bentgrass are secondary targets. This grass disease is found between June and September during periods of high humidity over 85 degrees.

What to Look For:

  • Irregular brown patches in the shape of rings or crescents.  
  • Dark brown fungal threads covering the crowns, rhizomes, and stolons of grass plants.

Excess soil moisture, compacted soil, poor drainage, and mowing too low give this disease an advantage in lawns.

If you identify one of the common lawn diseases, don’t panic. Call Nichols Reliable Lawn Care & More. We can treat existing issues or help prevent them through our lawn care services. Give us a call if you’re concerned, and we will happily take a look. 479.502.2192  

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