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Lawn Diseases

Necrotic Ring Spot

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Necrotic Ring Spot

Necrotic Ring Spot is one of the worst fungal lawn diseases which can attack our Cool Season lawns, and it’s treatment and removal is never easily achieved. In fact, killing Necrotic Ring Spot will consist of several management techniques which will need to be combined together for an effective result to be achieved.

Necrotic Ring Spot will attack many Cool Season grass types including Fescues and Annual Bluegrass, but it creates the most devastating damage to Kentucky Bluegrass. Perennial Ryegrass turf is immune to NRS, and while it affects Kentucky Bluegrass the worst, there are some strains of this lawn type which is proving to have some resistance to the disease, so it is recommended to research each turf type before purchase to find these more resistant types.

Necrotic Ring Spot is a perennial turf disease, meaning it can live indefinitely and continue damaging lawns unless it is killed. The disease is most easily noticeable by it’s brown ring of dead grass it creates which can measure between 3 inches to many feet in diameter. The inside of the circle is often green which gives an appearance of a “frogs eye”.

The disease feeds on the roots and crowns of the turf, and first becomes noticeable in Cool Season grasses in Spring and progressively gets worse and spreads right through until the Fall. The infestation of the turf disease can be localized to a small patch of the lawn, or it can spread over vast areas of turf if left untreated for too long.

Lawn mowers will unlikely spread NRS as the disease mainly lives in the soil and very low thatch layer. Over watering will increase the severity of the disease, as will poorly drained turf areas.

Treatment is difficult because fungicide treatments have proven unreliable in their results, so the best course of action in killing Necrotic Dead Spot will be several practices combined together.

Treatment of Necrotic Ring Spot

Reduce watering; while it may seem like a good idea to water the dead patches in the lawn more often, this will only make the disease worse.

Water only in the morning: this allows the turf to use the water in the day, which is the only time it can absorb it, whereas watering at night leaves massive amounts of moisture on the lawn at night which creates a perfect feeding ground for all lawn diseases.

Repair dead patches: for small patches, dig out the soil and sod of an affected area to several inches around the affected area and up to a foot in depth. Fill the hole with clean soil from elsewhere on the property and re-seed the affected area.

Mow regularly: regular lawn mowing creates a stronger, healthier lawn which can then better fight off all lawn diseases, so mow regularly enough so as to never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf material at any one time.,/p>

Use less nitrogen fertilizers: reduce the usage of high nitrogen fertilizers, while they may help make the lawn healthier to help fight off diseases in general, they also feed the Necrotic Ring Spot and make it stronger than the turf itself. So some fertilizer is OK, but reduce normal usage under these disease conditions.

Fungicide: Fungicide treatment for NRS should begin in mid Spring, and should be repeated 1 month later, and then 1 month later after that again. The local gardening store should stock these fungicides, and we recommend following manufacturers guidelines exactly.

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Lawn Diseases

Dollar Spot Disease

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Dollar Spot Disease

Dollar Spot Lawn Disease is a fungal lawn disease which appears most often as multiple small brown patches which are usually the size of a dollar coin, but can be between 1 to 4 inches in diameter. In some instances the disease will be less clearly seen in the familiar circle patterns, and will instead appear as though it is discoloring or damaging a far larger area of turf.

Identifying Dollar Spot

As mentioned, the most easily way to identify Dollar spot is by it’s circle shaped legions, but when it spreads it’s identification can be far more difficult. The easiest way to identify the disease at these times is to look at the damage on the blades of the leaf. Dollar Spot is most easily recognizable by it’s hourglass shaped brown damage on it’s leaf.

Fine white threads can also be seen early in the morning while there is still moisture on the lawn, these can often be mistaken for spider webs, or mites webs, however they are simply the the result of the fungal infestation. These threads will disappear as the day warms up and the moisture on the lawn dissipates.

Turf Grasses Affected

Dollar Spot will infect almost all turf grasses, it is most evident on Ryegrass, Bermuda Grass, Fescues, Annual Bluegrass and Bentgrass. The main pre-requisites for the infestation are low Nitrogen levels in the soil, excessive leaf dampness and lawns which are cut too short.

Treatment

Treating Dollar Spot Disease can be achieved by using a fungicide treatment which will be available for purchase at your nearest gardening store, and following the manufacturers recommendations for application. Dollar spot can also be effectively treated by beginning a high Nitrogen fertilizer routine for the treatment period, changing watering regimes and aerating the sod.

Prevention of Dollar Spot

Dollar Spot Disease is most often prevalent in lawns which are poorly drained or watered wrongly which results in dampness staying on the lawn leaf for too long, the other main factor which promotes Dollar Spot Lawn Disease is a lack of Nitrogen in the soil

Follow the Golden Rules of Watering and water only in the morning, and aim to water more deeply and less frequently. Also begin aerating the turf more often or start it as a regime in your lawn care. The next major factor in preventing Dollar Spot is to always follow a regular fertilizing regime, which not only lifts the level of Nitrogen in the soil (which prevents Dollar Spot), but also increases the overall health of the lawn which can in then more easily fight off any initial infection of the disease befor it becomes entrenched.

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Lawn Diseases

Fairy Ring

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Fairy Ring

Fairy Ring is a name which is applied to a condition which occurs in lawns which results in the formation of circular shaped patterns of either visible mushrooms or bright green rings. Many different species of fungus can create fairy rings in the home lawn, some species will produce mushrooms while others will not.

Turf Grasses Affected

All turf grasses can be affected by Fairy Ring.

Identification

Fairy Rings are easily identified when mushrooms are present and they form a ring in the lawn which can start as a few inches in diameter, and then continue growing until it eventually reaches the edges of the lawn after thoroughly consuming it. The mushrooms will go through stages of appearing and disappearing throughout the year, and the fungus will over-winter itself and re-emerge the following Spring.

In the non mushroom forming fairy ring, the most obvious sign of an infestation is the bright green ring which is visible in place of the mushrooms. The bright green ring in the lawn is a result of the massive amounts of nutrients that the fungus is producing while it is consuming a lawn,

Treatment

Treating Fairy Ring will require several different treatments combined to form an overall plan of attack.

  • Begin watering correctly, this involves watering deeply and less often, and watering only in the morning.
  • The lawn should also be aerated once a year to encourage good drainage conditions.
  • Begin a year round fertilizing regime using high quality fertilizers.
  • Some fungicides, specifically those aimed at mushrooms will also aid in attacking the fungus.

If the Fairy Ring is still only in it’s beginning stages, then the mushrooms can be dug out to a depth of 10 inches into the soil, and to a 10 inch diameter around the mushrooms. When using this method it is important not to drop any of the infected soil elsewhere onto the lawn as this can easily create a new infestation. Always bag the infected soil and place into the rubbish bin. Once the infected soil has been removed from the lawn, the soil can be replaced with clean soil and re-sodded or left to spread and grow over if the lawn has runners.

Prevention

Preventing Fairy Ring from occurring in lawns requires a good lawn management regime which includes good lawn watering practice, regular fertilizing, regular lawn moving, good direct sunlight to the turf, de-thatching when required and yearly aeration.

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Lawn Diseases

Brown Patch Lawn Disease

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Brown Patch Disease

Brown Patch Disease is a turf fungal disease which creates brown circles in lawns which will quickly spread if left untreated. Brown Patch begins as a small circle, or several small circles a couple of inches in diameter, the small circles will continue to grow in size up to a few feet in diameter over many months. Often the inner circle can begin to repair itself even though the circles keep spreading. This is because the active part of the fungal disease in Brown Patch is always at the outer edge of the circle. This often leads to an appearance of rings on the outside of the circles.

Turf Grasses Affected

It is most evident in regions where there is high humidity and most often affect grass types such as Bermuda Grass, Saint Augustine Grass, Kentucky Bluegrass, Bentgrass, Centipede grass and Ryegrass.

Treatment

To treat Brown Patch, you will need to use a Brown Patch fungicide which is readily available for purchase at the local garden shop. The fungicide should be mixed with water from it’s concentrated form, and then sprayed onto the lawn as per manufacturers recommendations on the product label.

In most cases, treatment for Brown Patch disease in turf may require several treatments over a month or two.

Prevention

To prevent Brown Patch Disease from occurring in turf, there are several practices which should be implemented into routine lawn care, lawns should be aerated regularly to create greater drainage so water doesn’t continue to sit on the turf surface for too long. The next best thing is to ensure there is as much direct sunlight to the lawn as possible, this can include pruning surrounding bushes and trees, and finally, it is always best to follow the golden rules when watering lawns;

  • water only in the mornings to prevent moisture from staying in the sod overnight
  • water more deeply – water lawns for a longer time at each watering
  • water less often – reduce the number of times lawns are watered each week

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