Lawn Diseases - Disease in Lawns.
Lawn diseases are different to Lawn Pests. Though there is
often confusion. Basically a lawn disease is either a fungal
attack, a virus or even a bacteria.
Most lawn diseases are caused one form or other of fungi. Most
can be prevented by a proper maintenance schedule, and in
particular proper attention to feeding.
generally attack weak impoverished lawns - rarely well fed and
maintained lawns. The main diseases are outlined below, with
links to a more detailed explanations and cures/preventions.
Lawn diseases are not always found early enough, and generally put in an
appearance with the wide ranging set of problems under the general
heading of brown patches in lawns!
In the case of lawn diseases, the brown patch is generally a sign that
the fungus or whatever, has got hold and some drastic curative action is
Far better to try and prevent lawn diseases in the first place. Easier
said than done. Follow a good maintenance regime - particularly in
relation to mowing correctly and carrying out the operations of top
dressing and aeration when required. However, even the most well cared
for lawns can fall prey to a fungus disease, and it is often the fact
that the lawn is well cared-for that is part of the problem!
There is rather more to caring for your lawn properly, than simply
cutting each week and watering when dry!
The Most Common Lawn Diseases
Fusarium Patch - Snow Mould. (Monographella) Can appear at any time
of the year in the UK but is normally noticed in early Spring or Autumn.
Small yellowing patches are first signs. These rapidly turn brown if not
dealt with promptly. Fortunately Fusarium disease is quite easy to treat.
- Red Thread - Corticium.
Normally a problem on fine grass lawns - especially those which are rarely, if
ever, fed. Late summer - early Autumn are the most important times. Patches of
pale grass, later taking on a pink tinge are first signs. Sometimes difficult
to spot early on neglected lawns. The main preventative action is to
care for your lawn on a regular basis.
- Dollar Spot - Sclerotina. A
disease of fine grass lawns - not normally Ryegrass or general purpose lawns.
Small patches around the size of a 50p piece are first signs. Unless treated
the small patches can merge and cause considerable damage. This is normally a
disease of fine sports turf, or lawns which are given the same degree of
maintenence as fine sports turf areas.
- Ophiobolus Patch - Ophiobolus
graminus 'Take-All Patch'. This affects fine grasses of the Bents group
Agrostis spp, and is fatal. Usually starts as a small bare slightly sunken
area which gradually increases in size.
Slime Mould - an Algae type growth in damp area on the lawn. Easy to sort.
Fairy Rings - are not simply
toadstools. They are the symptom of a specific fungal disease. Fairy Ring
Disease is rarely fatal in the long term. However it is unsightly on
domestic lawns and rather more than just unsightly on golf green - where its
spread can lead to a poor play experience for golfers - and a lack of
credibilty to the green keeper!
Toadstools are often categorised as diseases, but are usually
harmless - unless forming fairy rings - though nevertheless troublesome.
Most toadstools are as a result of dead, decaying
organic matter under the surface of the lawn. The toadstools feed on
such matter, and usually surface in damp autumn conditions. The quick answer
is to brush them off as soon as they appear. For most, this will be the best
remedy. Or you can dig up sections of the lawn to find the offending feeding
In general, lawn disease only attack unhealthy or poorly managed
grasses. Having to cut grass short for the whim of a sportsman, is not
the ideal way to grow a healthy lawn. Professional groundsmen will have
their own remedies and ways of keeping diseases at bay.
For the domestic lawn owner, a good health batch of grass plants -
around 500 or so in a square foot of lawn - is the best way forward, for
most diseases of plants - and animals - can be largely prevented with a
lawn disease information here.