Lawn diseases: How to spot five different culprits

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Even the healthiest of yards can encounter occasional problems, and lawn diseases aren't...

Even the healthiest of yards can encounter occasional problems, and lawn diseases aren't always the easiest to spot or identify. It can be difficult to diagnose and distinguish between other problems such as pests or poor lawn maintenance. Lawn diseases occur when the surrounding landscape is out of balance and susceptible to fungus growth. Yards sometimes require a visit from someone who is experienced in horticulture care. The following are five common lawn diseases that can affect just about any kind of grass.

Dollar spot

This lawn disease shows up as small round spots. There may only be a few rearing their ugly head at first, but these spots quickly multiply by 20 in a matter of a few weeks. The spots are about the size of golf balls and can overlap. Dollar spot spreads in warm, humid environments and is more likely to affect grass that has a low nitrogen count or is not well fertilized. It's a good idea to improve water drainage and to not water your lawn more than every three to four days.

Brown patch

This sketchy lawn disease is by far the nastiest and can kill grass overnight. Unlike dollar spot, the lawn marks will appear noticeably larger and will occur less frequently. These marks multiply in patches and can grow outward from the middle of the patch. If you suspect your lawn is infected with brown patch, try to mow less frequently in hot and humid weather to inhibit growth.

Snow mold

Kentucky bluegrass is the most susceptible to contracting this lawn fungus. Snow mold can also show up in regions where snowfall is common for long periods of time, such as the northeastern part of the United States. To avoid snow mold, aerate your lawn often by raking leaves and removing dead thatch. Fungus can survive even in harsh temperatures inside plant debris.

Powdery mildew

This lawn disease can grow quickly on a healthy lawn. It generally starts in the shadier parts of your yard or during extended periods of cloudy or overcast weather. Powdery mildew reveals itself as a white powder on leaf blades. One fungicide treatment that is effective at the first sign of detection is chlorothalonil.

Fairy rings

Distinguishing itself from other fungal diseases, fairy rings pop up as dark green circles around your yard. Fairy rings turn the center of the circle brown with possible mushroom growth. Use surface aeration to create better water penetration, or mask the darker green rings by applying fertilizer to even them out.

Preventative fungicides are available to treat your lawn disease, but they should be applied by an expert landscape professional. For information on common lawn diseases in the Atlanta area, contact a landscape specialist who can treat your lawn.

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