Identify and Repair Lawn Disease

Having to repair your grass that has succumbed due to lawn disease can be time consuming and expensive. How the repair is accomplished is different for cool-season grasses than it is for warm-season grasses. This article will provide some basic information for repairing lawn disease.

Regardless of where you live or what type of turfgrass is in your lawn, the most important thing to determine is the name of the lawn disease. Some lawn diseases like Red Thread or Rust will exist for a short time and then the grass will recover on its own. Other lawn diseases such as Large Patch or Summer Patch will kill off large sections of a lawn and may require extensive renovation work.

Understanding why a lawn disease developed will also help in determining the type of repair that should be accomplished. Some lawn diseases develop due to shade, like Powdery Mildew. Others may develop because of too much thatch, like Fairy Ring. If you are not sure what disease is in your lawn, contact a lawn care company, like Spring-Green, to help diagnose the disease and provide the reasons why it may have developed in your lawn.

Lawn Disease Types for Warm-Season Grass

Warm-Season Grass Types:

  • Bermuda Grass
  • St. Augustine Grass
  • Centipede Grass
  • Zoysia Grass

The one major advantage of warm-season grasses is the ability to quickly recover from many of the lawn diseases that may develop due to their above ground roots called stolons. These roots can quickly grow and cover a small to medium-sized area in a short time, typically within 2 to 4 weeks. The major disadvantage of warm-season grasses is that extensive disease damage usually requires resodding the area since it is very difficult to achieve much germination, if any at all, of seed for most warm-season grasses.

One of the major lawn diseases that affects these grasses is called Large Patch. This disease starts to infect the plants in the fall, but the damage is not observed until the following spring. Often, the turf will recover by sending out new stolons to fill in the damage areas, but it often shows up again the following year the damaged areas may increase in size every year. Sometimes the damage will be severe and the area should be resodded.

Proper site preparation is important before installing new sod. This often requires the use of a sod cutter to remove the old, diseased turf, cultivating the soil and leveling the area as necessary. Since Large Patch is a soil-borne disease, applying a disease control material to the soil before installing the sod is recommended.
Sod can be installed at any time of year in the warmer areas of the country, but it is best to install it when the weather is not too hot and not too cold. Late summer to early fall is a good time to repair a lawn with sod, but it is best to have it completed by the end of September.

Lawn Disease Types for Cool-Season Grass

Cool-Season Grass Types:

  • Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Perennial Ryegrass
  • Fine Fescue
  • Tall Fescue

Contrary to warm-season grasses, cool-season grasses can be overseeded to renovate a lawn damaged by disease. The easiest way to incorporate new seed in a cool-season turfgrass lawn is to core aerate it first and then spread seed across the lawn. The best time to do this is late summer into early fall.

Some of the worse lawn diseases on Kentucky Bluegrass are the Patch Diseases – Necrotic Ring Spot and Summer Patch. These are also soil-borne diseases and thee fungi remain in the soil. If all the diseased sod is removed and replaced with new sod, the disease will most likely return within a few years. Seeding is the better option when helping a lawn recover from these diseases.

Once again, before going to the expense of repairing a lawn due to disease activity, be sure to properly identify the disease and the reason why it developed. It may require less work to correct the problem.

If you feel your lawn has suffered from a disease, contact your neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green and have your lawn evaluated and put together a plan to help it improve.